The section of the off-road Great Taste Cycle Trail from Stoke (that’s where our HQ is) to Mapua via Rabbit Island (that’s where all the locals go to swim and picnic) is now open. That’s great news for cyclists looking for a ride that combines lots of Nelson’s best things – beaches, fresh fruit stalls, cafes, wineries, a craft brewery, what more would anyone want? Continue reading
The Great Taste Trail just got even greater, with the opening of the newest section to Brightwater, a pretty little village 21 km from Nelson city centre. The beer at the village pub is chilled and ready for some serious thirst-quenching, the impressive new blue suspension bridge is primed and ready and the blue trail markers are up.
Autumn, the season of mellow fruitfulness, has been almost unbelievably beautiful here this year. The warm, calm days are going on and on, providing us with tip top cycling weather. The hop harvest is long gone and the grapevines are starting to drop their leaves and hunker down for the winter. The warm afternoon light makes for some great photo opportunities.
Cycling in Nelson just got even better with the official opening of the first section of the 175km Great Taste Trail. This section of the Great Taste Trail is at Rabbit Island Reserve (20 kms from Nelson airport). The connecting section, to link with Richmond (on the outskirts of Nelson city) is due for completion in October 2012.
This autumn harvest consists of feijoas, chestnuts and mushrooms, all harvested in the heart of Nelson city. Our council is actively planting fruit trees for community use, so it’s been feijoa crumble, feijoa pie, feijoa sorbet and just feijoas eaten with a teaspoon au naturelle all April.
March is the month of the hop harvest in Nelson, when the fields that were curtained in green lose their flavour-laden curtain – until next year. At Kentishman Hops in Upper Moutere, the hop harvest rekindles images from my past, when tractors were smaller and closer to the ground and farmers still wore straw hats (yeah!)
Whenever I spend time cycling in the Moutere area, just half an hour out of Nelson city, I come home feeling I have been somewhere special. Not only is it my favourite sort of landscape (soft, green and gently rolling) it is also dotted with lots of reminders of its agricultural history. The old farm buildings seem to be hidden behind hedges and under trees everywhere you go. The oak tree sheltering this little shed must be even older than the shed.
Call me romantic, but gentle cycling that includes visiting hidden treasures tucked away in quiet rural locations (the prettier the better) gives me just the reason I need to get out and about. Add in a country pub for afters and I’m a very happy cyclist. This rural Nelson church is a real beauty and ticks all the boxes. The wooden interior is unpainted and it has a staircase leading up to a tiny balcony, which provides access for the bell-puller. It’s hard to ignore the temptation to pull on that rope.
Dogs and cycling are not the usual combination, and Otis was not a great cyclist, but he really enjoyed hanging around with cyclists.
He welcomed everyone who came to see us at The Gentle Cycling Company, favouring visitors who would play ball. His enthusiasm for life was hugely infectious, and if he had been able to ride a bike, he would have.