First item on the agenda today is sorting the broken bike...
The bike problem
I took Giro Rob (with yesterday's broken rear gear shift) down to Highland Bike Hire, in the Highland Pharmacy, to see if they had any suggestions. Alastair (Pharmacist, bike hirer, hire bike technician) said he could take a look during the day as had cables etc that might be suitable. He services all his hire bikes in a container workshop behind the Pharmacy.
I hired one of his bikes for the day so I could keep riding. It was an Avanti Montari Sport, hardtail mountain bike which was fine for the trail once fitted with my clipless pedals. I once rode a hire bike in San Francisco for a day with flat pedals. Riding was fine but I could hardly walk the next day, they must use muscles differently, so didn't want to repeat that!
Clutha Gold Trail: Roxburgh to Beaumont
The plan was to ride two sections of the Clutha Gold Trail from Roxburgh to Miller's Flat, then on to Beaumont and return today.
A sign I had too much breakfast coffee when the first stop of the ride, after a few km, is here... but at least it means I get to see the settler art at the Roxburgh loos!
The ride is lovely, mostly alongside the fast-flowing Clutha River Mata-Au with lots of historic points of interest along the way.
Not sure why the Clutha Gold Trail doesn't quite have the 'fame' of some other more popular trails when it offers such great riding and scenery.
Millers Flat is a popular stop on the trail, spoke to several cyclists who were staying here enroute or as a base.
The bridge doesn't have a cycle lane but there was no traffic anyway. Magnificent views of the river mid-span but the historic Millers Flat Tavern, at the other end, was closed when I passed by.
Trailside parking: it looks like it has been there a while.
Couldn't find a name for this inlet on the map but it looks like one place on this fast-flowing river that would be safe(er) to swim, but I didn't.
From Waka Kotahi:
"The current single lane bridge built in 1887, is one of a handful of wrought iron bridges left on our highway network. It provides an important link over the Clutha River on SH8 connecting Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown."
It has a traffic light system with 'bike buttons' to cater for the compulsory cycle trail stop on the other side: the Beaumont Hotel!
The workers, left, were on the bridge refastening loose boards between traffic. Saw several bolts standing proud when I cycled over so they had plenty to do.
Beaumont Hotel | Lunching watching working
Lunch at the Beaumont Hotel was not the quiet rural experience I was expecting. I sat outside, lovely day and COVID safer, but watched the initial stages of the new bridge construction getting underway. The new bridge is a little downstream, but they were beginning realignment work to keep the highway in front of the pub. Talking to a worker, who came to get his lunch from the pub, it will be a couple of years work.
"A new two-lane bridge will handle current and expected traffic growth, including heavier trucks; and meet current earthquake standards. The historic bridge will remain after the new one opens to provide a link to the popular Clutha Gold walking and cycling trail.
The new bridge will be nearly 190m long, that’s about the length of two rugby fields, feature two traffic lanes, and cater for pedestrians." Waka Kotahi
Bikes get priority parking at the hotel. My 'Rented Rob' alone with bikes from a group who had ridden from Lawrence and were also lunching.
This combo is one of my favourite hot sunny day ride lunches. The Beaumont Hotel BLT was especially good and matched with an ice-cold apple cider... or two...
To build a big bridge, you need a big crane!
The return ride...
The trail carries on to Lawrence but that is for another day; I'm riding back to my Roxburgh cottage base. Not far up the trail you cross another Beaumont Bridge but suspect this one, over the Beaumont River, sees little traffic.
A bit of elevation gives great views, but most of the trail is riverside.
A view upriver, and the Talla Burn Bridge.
Horseshoe Bend Bridge
A short walk from the cycle trail but well worth the diversion. From Millers Flat On-line:
"The Horseshoe Bend community had to cross the river by punt or by an arrangement of a chair attached to a manually hauled cable, particularly scary for children attending school at Raes Junction. Though the community agitated for many years for a bridge to be built, this did not happen till 1913.
Restored in 2003, the bridge stands as a reminder of the former community at Horseshoe Bend, a visually impressive structure that contributes to the surrounding landscape."
This span, in a chair dangling from a cable... and I thought walking or cycling to school was an adventure!
The fast-flowing river (videos below) would have been challenging, to say the least, in a punt!
Had another NZ small world thing; stopped on the trail to read a history board as another cyclist did too. Turns out 'Tim' had driven for the Golden Bay tour company I travelled with and knew Pino, the guide who drove us.
Yesterday met another group of cyclists, one couple were farmers from 'Long Plain Rd', Takaka. That is directly opposite 'The Rocks', where I stayed in Golden Bay.
Unfortunately, the famous "Faigans Millers Flat Kitchen and Café" was closed (due to shorter COVID hours I think) by the time I got there, but I didn't go thirsty. Love the public pure drinking water at Miller's Flat, wish more trails had these!
Back to Miller's Flat
I guess there's a story behind the sign on this door...
Doesn't seem to be a shortage of potential parking space...
I left the trail and joined Teviot Road to visit a historic building.
Teviot Station Woolshed
The remains of the Teviot Station Woolshed stand out on the map:
"The Teviot Woolshed was built in 1865 and destroyed by fire in 1924. It is on the corner of Loop Road and Smith Road and it's remains now sit in a large paddock. It was the biggest woolshed in the southern hemisphere. It was believed to be measured at 137 metres long, 47.3 metres wide and could possibly hold up to 8,000 sheep." www.livingheritage.org.nz Teviot-Woolshed
A red shed but not The Warehouse...
Teviot towards Roxburgh with the Mount Benger Range in the background.
One of those same trail, different direction, different experience moments.
Evening light over the Clutha River Mata-Au.
Love this stainless-steel Hare, made in Roxburgh which has no shortage of the real thing. Rabbit and Hare run rampant after they were released in the 1830s 'for food and sport'. They rapidly became a pest winning a war which continues today:
"They are fluffy, cute, and devastating to agriculture. Jono Edwards examines Otago’s rabbit problem and asks if there is any solution" | April 2019 Otago's long rabbit war rages on | ODT
This one had a bite in that a stupid cyclist, circling slowly to find a good photo angle, fell over as couldn't un-clip. Thought I had had wrecked my Samsung watch when I saw a new scratch on a dark screen. Turned out the scratch was real, but not fatal, as the watch was just flat!
New street furniture installed, explains the huddle of fluoro-jacketed folks inspecting drawings I saw here this morning.
It was nearly six in the evening when I got back to the Pharmacy, was surprised to find Alastair still there mucking around with bikes but he didn't have good news. The fault was a broken component inside the shift lever, replacement the only fix, and he didn't have that sort of lever. It's older Shimano 105, mix of cable shift and hydraulic brake, so would likely not be found until I got back to Christchurch.
I arranged to keep his bike tomorrow to finish the Clutha Gold, Beaumont to Lawrence at least, then collect En-Trance (hopefully fixed) in Alexandra for the remaining rides around Otematata. I should have squeezed three bikes in the Bravo!
Dinner tonight: a "famous throughout the lower South Island" Roxburgh Jimmies Pie and it was good!