Mt Victoria in Wellington is 196 metres high, and there are 3 roads to the top:
- through the Town Belt from Newtown: a slow and steady climb of around 1 Km with a rise of 53 metres
- along the roads from Hataitai village: a steep climb of around 1.1 Km with a rise of about 130 metres
- up the hill from Kent Terrace: a 2.7 Km steep ride with a rise of 170 metres.
Of course, there are variations and shortcuts along the trails in the Town Belt too.
[Thanks Google Maps… ]
The key point though is that whichever route I take to get home, living as I do near the Lookout at the top of the hill, I can’t bike it. I’m useless at uphill riding.
We now have a bach on the Kapiti Coast and I’ve taken my bike up there where I hope to enjoy riding on the flat, and maybe even on the incredibly long beach.
Then I had an idea: maybe if I had a folding bike I could bike down the hill, do any errands in town and then take the bus back up the hill. So, after a visit to TradeMe, I’ve become the proud new owner of a second-hand Apollo folding bike, perhaps the Stowaway model from 2013 or 2014.
It folds in 4 actions: fold up the pedals, drop down the seat post, loosen a clamp on the handlebar stem and fold the stem in half, and finally open the clip on the horizontal bar and fold the front half of the bike against the back half. It takes only a few moments.
I took the bike for a 5 Km ride along the waterfront today to try it out. It’s a very different ride from my other standard low-end road bike and I wouldn’t want to be riding too much on the open road with it. But as a casual ride for errands in town it should be just fine.
The folding bike has a 7-speed gear shift that works smoothly, and is not very heavy for lifting in and out of the car. I have yet to try it on a bus, but apparently folding bikes are now allowed on Wellington buses.
Now I’m in training to walk the last 100 m of the Camino de Santiago, Portugues in September 2015, being able to run errands in town by bike should help me build fitness and muscle. Plus, I really enjoy cycling. It’s just that unless you’re a mad mountain biker, Wellington isn’t exactly the best place for cycling given its frequent strong winds, numerous steep hills and narrow winding roads.