Inclined to be interesting
Outdoor exercise and learning a little local history at the same same time, what could be better? The Rimutaka Incline bike ride offers this and more.
This off-road ride starts at a Kaitoke car park off State Highway 2 and follows the old steam engine route between Upper Hutt and Cross Creek, near Featherston.
Up, over and back with a more demanding return climb amounts to a 36 kilometre intermediate graded ride.
It’s worth doing, of course, but for more recreational riders and young ones especially, the 18km trip to the summit and back is the way to go.
As might be expected from an old railway line, the track is evenly graded with gentle curves.
There are restored railway bridges and, on the Upper Hutt side of the summit, one short tunnel (where a torch might be fun but is not necessary).
This a great little ride and one where it is also worth putting a foot down every so often to look and listen out for birdlife.
There are spots for swimming, picnicking and walking in the Pakuratahi Forest.
The summit, where landscaping and planting has been carried out in recent years, is a logical halfway picnic spot.
Getting there: Turn off SH2, 9 km north of Upper Hutt, the turn off is sign posted and the carpark is a 1km along the road.
Be safe: Wear a helmet, take a water bottle and be seen.
Watch the weather: This can change quickly with winds coming up so takewarmclothing and be prepared.
This is a shared cycling and walking path, so look out for walkers
There are flush toilets at the Summit and a pit toilet at the Ladle Bend camping area
This area housed workers’ cottages, a signal box, water tank and an engine turnaround. Information boards here, along the ride, tell the story. Part of the Rimutaka Rail Trail, the Incline section gets its name from the railway that operated for more than 75 years from 1878. Special Fell steam engines, took freight and passengers to and from Cross Creek.
Overseas visitors David Duncan and Rebecca Colvin, from America and England respectively, at the start of their Rimutaka Incline ride to Cross Creek.