After our wonderful evening in Picton we rode along the Queen Charlotte scenic drive to Havelock, the highway to Pelorus Bridge, then over the Maungatapu Saddle to Nelson.
The ride through the sounds is spectacular. The bush, the beaches and the bays that the road winds in and around are constantly begging you just to stop and admire them. So we did. Many many times. And after we had gone all of 10 km from Picton, in Momorangi Bay it was time to stop for a coffee, an ice cream, and a rest. It was shaping up to be a tough day at this rate...
A quick ride around a few more bays and we found Havelock (after a few more scenery breaks) where we had another stop for pies and chocolate milk.
We stopped again at Pelorus Bridge to get new batteries for our failing tracker, and well, more pies and coffee of course. We were about to leave when a stranger approached us and sat at our table. He had cake. Velvet cake. Stranger cake as he called it. And he wanted to share it, so we let him. Turns out he had seen us riding through the sounds while he was training on his bike and after a brief and honest conversation about important things like the use of chamois cream on our tender parts we hit the road again.
And it then it really did get tough.
Well not for a start. We turned off the highway onto a gravel road that wound along the river. It was still nice and scenic and we still took photos.
And then we climbed Maungatapu. Which was steep and gravelly. Not nice smooth gravel. Coarse, sharp and rocky gravel. And the track got steeper, and steeper, and rougher, and rockier, until it was unrideable. Even for a Raleigh 20. But it’s good because our bikes are so light and easy to push uphill ...
You’d think that getting to the top would be the end of it, so that would be a relief. We thought that too, so we stopped for a snack.
But we were wrong! The other side was even steeper. And when you don’t have brakes steep is not good. But it’s good because our bikes so light and easy to push down hill as well. All round, the saddle was a real hoot. We couldn’t ride up it and we couldn’t ride down it.
Still, once we got down it was a great ride out to Nelson on nice gravel, then on to Stoke on Nelson’s excellent cycle pathways. Once again, some excellent friends put us up for the night and cooked a delicious roast! Thank you - you have no idea what it means to us!
Total Elevation gain: 1620 m
Distance: 105 km
Time spent on bikes: 6 hours 58 minutes
Max speed: 49.3 kph
Calories burnt: 3724