Sometimes it can be a good thing to step out of your comfort zone. You might just see things you haven’t seen before. I have always been a little scared of riding a bike, preferring instead to walk. I am intimidated by busy traffic and lack confidence with balance and co-ordination when on a bike. I know they say that practice makes perfect, but sometimes it’s just easier to avoid something you are uncomfortable with if you don’t have to do it.
However, we recently had a friend come to stay, who enjoys biking, and we went to the information center and picked up a pamphlet on the cycle trails that have been constructed around Hawke’s Bay over the last few years. The trails are mainly off-road and take you along rivers and coastlines, through countryside, past vineyards, wineries and country pubs. Carol borrowed Nick’s bike and went off on her own to explore the trail.
Some days later, Nick, who has always enjoyed cycling and likes to get out on his bike whenever he can, suggested that as we no longer have our beloved Cody to take for walks, biking might be a fun way to get some exercise, while exploring the countryside. I had my doubts, but decided to give it a go. So we bought a kitset bike, Nick made it up, and after some practice riding up and down the driveway and re-acquainting myself with how not to fall off—I hadn’t been on a bike in more than a decade—we were ready to go.
With our route planned out, we set out early on Saturday morning to avoid the traffic en route to the beginning of the cycle trail. I was apprehensive at first, but it didn’t take long for me to become comfortable with the bike, and once we had left the traffic and town behind, I really began to enjoy the ride. The sun was shining, there was no wind, it was a perfect winter’s day and there was nobody else around. Our route took us along a river, where we saw lots of pukekos, one of my favourite birds. They are like cartoon characters with their bright red beaks and their high-stepping walk.
We saw winter lambs that had just been born.
After a while, we came to the estuary, where a viewing hut had been erected for you to look down onto the wide variety of wetland birds, including godwits, black swans, herons and cormorants.
Further along the trail we came across a group of spoonbills. Seeing the spoonbills was the highlight of the day for me, as I had never seen one before.
The bike ride took us three hours, with lots of stops along the way to admire the scenery and take photos. I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am more confident on my bike now, and am looking forward to our next ride and exploring some more of the trails.