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Coulter Rd leading to the climb

Favourite Rides - Auckland - The BCL
18 Jan, 2007 - Stuart Hill
The BCL, or Butter Chicken Loop, is a meandering loop ride through the back roads and foothills of the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland. The name originates from a bunch ride in the murky past. At the obligatory coffee stop at Titirangi, the excellent Hardware Café was full, so another establishment was frequented. Amongst the coffees, scones, and bagels one of the riders ordered Butter Chicken. What he was presented with had more oil than solids and looked like a red version of the Exxon Valdez disaster. The rider in question proceeded to demolish the dish with gusto. I can only guess that it was a momentary digression from his normal pie-eating habits.

The loop features 4 climbs on quiet bush-lined back roads. The climbs range in length from 1 km to 3.5km and between 4% and 6.6% average gradient with a total of 700m of ascending. Distance for the loop is approximately 60kms when starting and returning to the Auckland city centre.

The beauty of the loop is that it is on quiet roads and can be ridden at any level of fitness and ability, after each climb there is a downhill and recovery before the next, and if things are going truly badly it is easy to return to town mid-loop. (The author does not condone this sort of cowardice in any way, shape or form) However if it is ridden hard and at pace it can be testing. Overall it is a satisfying loop to ride either alone or with a bunch.

Rough directions for the loop are as follows: Once on the loop there are few side roads and most of them are dead ends, so unless stated follow the road you are on. From town make your way out to Swanson Rd, after the Swanson Railway Café take the first left (Christian Rd), this is the first climb (1.3kms @ 5.8%).

After the climb turn left into O’Neills Rd, follow this down the hill and into Pooks Rd. At the roundabout on Pooks Rd turn right into Candia Rd.

After approximately 400m turn right into Coulter Rd, shortly you will meet climb number 2 (1km @ 6.6%). Once on the ridge at the top turn right into Vineyard Rd and descend back down to Candia Rd.

Turn right into Candia Rd and then left into Henderson Valley Rd (Turning right at this point will send you up Mountain Rd and introduce you to a world of pain, handlebar wrenching and a need for even lower gears than you’ve every contemplated)

After approximately 2 kms you will be faced with riding straight up Pine Ave (don’t do it, it’s steep, poorly surfaced and no shoulder), instead veer left into Parrs Cross Rd. This is the start of climb number 3 (2.8kms @3%). Turn right at the first intersection into Forest Hill Rd, then proceed straight through the roundabout up the hill.

Continue up Forest Hill Rd for approximately 2kms then turn left into Kelly’s Rd, a narrow fast descent, at the bottom of Kelly’s Rd turn left into West Coast Rd, follow West Coast Rd for approximately 600m then turn right into Carter Rd. This is climb number 4 (3.4kms @4.1%).

At the end of Carter Rd turn right into Shaw Rd, when Shaw Rd meets Scenic Drive turn left and head into Titirangi

The section along Scenic Drive is narrow and winding it is best to ride single file there.

Excellent coffee and food can be had at the Hardware Café in Titirangi, after refuelling either ride down Titirangi Rd back to town or turn right into Godley Rd and try the almost obligatory and slightly suicidal sprint for the crossing outside Green Bay High.

For more comprehensive directions and a profile please email me and I will send them back to you, or for those of you with GPS units I can supply a GPX downloadable file to follow.

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