Middlemarch to Waipiata - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

February 27, 2021

Middlemarch to Waipiata

Day on the trail, evening at the tavern and night at the farm.

Day 4 February 27 Saturday 

Middlemarch to Waipiata 58kms.

Our first day on the trail starts at 9:30am. It’s coolish, but a warm day is forecast. We do a quick recce of the town before leaving. I have to admit that though I’m familiar the George Eliot novel, I don’t know so much about the town. There is a suggestion, in the totally infallible Wikipedia that the town might have been named after the novel. It’s an appealing little village with wide streets, small rustic cottages, and a western skyline dominated by the long craggy Rock and Pillar range, so named for the distinctive pattern of the rocks along the skyline.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Ready to roll.
Heart 0 Comment 0
First kilometres of trail.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Open country.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Rock and pillar range on left.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Information posts.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The trail surface is quite hard and stony to begin with, and though our tyres aren’t particularly wide, they seem to cope ok. It’s a straight path for the first few kilometres and we’re able to appreciate the farming landscape. Several riders on ebikes approach us and we chat as they tell us they’re just finishing the route. They’re enthusiastic about it too. Early risers no doubt. 

The information boards along the route provide just enough succinct detail to read quickly. We note that it took 16 years with pick and shovel to build the train line which was completed about 1900. The terrain required stone cutting and heavy lifting to provide support for bridges and cuttings and it’s a tribute to the workmanship that they’re mostly still standing.

Evidence of bridge building skills.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

The open country gradually begins to close in and the hills encroach but there are still marvellously wide vistas; all basking underneath an enormously wide sky emblazoned with arching cloud patterns. Before Hyde we stop and look at the monument to 21 people who lost their lives in a train crash. We then cycle down the incline to the spot where the accident occurred. It’s not a particularly steep gradient, but by the bottom we’re moving fairly quickly.

Memorial to a tragic derailment.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The incline.
Heart 3 Comment 0

At Hyde we lunch in the shade and chat to some of the other cyclists. One family from Wanaka have 3 children who seem to have coped with the trail well. Another group from Auckland have mutual acquaintances with Ann in the medical world. They have a quick catch-up.

After lunch we find Daisybank, a bend in the Taieri River, just down from the trail, with a sandy beach. The water is fast flowing and clear and fairly fresh without being chilly, so we enjoy a few minutes thrashing about. There’s a group already swimming there too.  

Daisybank dip.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

The final 10 kilometres into Waipiata are on a smooth, slightly downhill slope, with a tailwind. It’s a recipe for a swift end to the day, and we are soon outside the tavern, looking for Main Street - the direction for our accommodation at Peter’s Farm.  Before leaving, we stop for a thirst quenching drink in the tavern’s garden . We chat to a young couple with an English Springer Spaniel which is very friendly. 

A speedy track.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
At last- Waipiata and her tavern!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Peter’s Farm late afternoon.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Chez nous.
Heart 0 Comment 0

On to Peter’s Farm, a couple of kilometres down the road, then a kilometre on gravel to a wonderful old verandaed mudbrick farmhouse. The couples from our swim are there too- they turn out to be Aucklanders and want to know if we will swap rooms- to our considerable advantage they assure us because they plan to celebrate late into the night. And so we score a quiet room and bathroom a short distance from the house.

We meet Peter, our host, and he very kindly offers us his car to go to the tavern for dinner since we have no supplies- towns on this part of the trail are very small and so supplies are hard to come by. 

The tavern is busy- even hectic, with the waitress looking stressed and run off her feet. We order and are told there’s an hour’s wait. We take a table, order a beer and observe the diverse mixture of clientele- affluent out of towners local farmers and  teens. On the large table next to us is a family with two sturdy young girls. When they walk their boots jangle. It’s like a scene from a spaghetti western. We then recall the poster advertising the rodeo we’d seen outside. It seems it’s been canceled by the latest Auckland covid outbreak. They order massive quarter pounder steaks. Know your enemy I guess.

We devour our order with alacrity when it arrives, after the extended wait and then head farmward for bed. There’s a sprinkling of stars in the southern sky, the late nighters revellers have not yet returned and all is quiet.

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 126 km (78 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 0