Weekend on the Wairarapa east coast.

Weekend on the Wairarapa east coast.

Just had a great weekend riding the east coast, finding some sunshine and avoiding the wild winds that blow in that part of the world.  Below are a few pictures of the trip.

We managed to find some good slip slide mud and pine needles down ‘Willies Way’ through the pine forest.

But once we got down to the coast it was a wild but scenic ride all the way to Cape Palliser lighthouse.

After all that riding it was time for a few beers and some fine food, pizza cooked in the pizza oven for starters and a pork roast for the main course, apple pie for desert and carrot cake to finish off. Eating, drinking and mountain biking are a good healthy mix!

All of this because it was Dave’s birthday! … who’s next?

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Local Winter Riding 2016

Local Winter Riding 2016

Well it has been winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere but we haven’t completely hibernated and so here are a few pictures taken over the last three months to prove it.

This map covers the local area for these rides, nothing more than 20 km away from home-base as the crow flies!

Akatarawas NZ Topo Map

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A few shots on the way and on the way back from “The Coop”.

This ride in from Bulls Run Road started with a refreshing stream crossing with the air temperature around 6 degrees Celsius, quickly followed by a long climb and plenty of chance to warm up.

Huge contrast between riding in the bush and out in the open on sunny winter days.

The old track off of the side of Rimu Road named “Neil’s Track” has some absolutely fantastic ‘old-school’ riding with some huge fallen trees to try and work your way under.

But once we were back out in the open we could enjoy a break lying in the winter sun before the long slog back up Rimu Road and on down past ‘Teddy Bear Corner’ where it seems tradition dictates you abandon your old bear and strap him to a bush.

And finally we have been busy getting the first bridge built on the new local trail which is appropriately being named “RED TAPE” after our local council battler, Steve Lewis finally got the green light from council after more than 2 years of negotiations, and as you can see from the photo he has managed to keep some of his hair!

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Winter 2016

North Island Tour. December 2015

Just completed an excellent 14 day tour of the North Island starting in Rotorua and finishing in Wellington. There were only four of us and so we took along the Subaru and the newly fitted out trailer.

Had a little light rain for starters but that just made the tracks a little  more lively.

The Rotorua Enduro event was on which meant that some of the tracks were not in use and so we took on a couple of the grade 5 tracks and survived.

Enjoyed an outdoor evening meal at the ‘Air Stream Cafe’ which replaced those burnt calories.

The following day we headed out west to Whirinaki Forest for some remote riding. Warmed up on arrival with a loop of the ‘Waterfall Track’ with some nice technical sections of bush single track.

The next day was a big ride on the Moerangi Track, probably the best remote ride in New Zealand as stated by those ‘been everywhere’ Kennett Brothers. This ride passes three huts each with their own character and perfect places to take a rest and gaze at the scenery. The weather was great and lots of photos were taken …

Finished the ride mid afternoon and headed off to Taupo but not before passing by a local hot-pool just off the side of the road at Waiotapu to soak those weary muscles.RMBA NI 100

Had ourselves a rest day at Taupo.

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Then we took on a few of the Great Lake Trails; the Orakau track to Kawakawa Bay and on to Kinloch via the K2K track, there we had some lunch and for desert we took the classic W2K track up around the Headland Loop and back for a few rounds of Kubb. (explanation later) 40 km of cruisy Taupo single track under our belt.

Rested and ready to go the following morning we departed for The Timber Trail in Pureora Forest, one of New Zealand’s “Great Rides”.  This is a two day ride and on this occasion we stayed at Black Fern Lodge half way along the trail a great location miles from anywhere. Following pictures cover the two days and the nights stay…

And here is the Kubb mentioned earlier, basically you throw sticks at lumps of wood until someone wins!

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The following morning we continued on for the second leg which takes in some amazing suspension bridges purpose built for this trail, the longest being 141m long and 53m above the stream below.

And for the last section of the track there is a spiral that the old railway used to lose height, now part of the cycle-way…

Moving on from the depths of Pureora Forest to the ski-town of Ohakune we had a cruise along the Old Coach Road for a easy day which included some ‘bike-art’

and the required games of Kubb…

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before tackling The Bridge to Nowhere, a long time classic NZ ride now part of the New Zealand ‘Great Rides’ trails and a section of the Mountains to Sea trail. Another gloriously sunny day with excessive photo shoots!

The Guy from Mountain Bike Station Shuttles told us of a side track to a waterfall but he said we wouldn’t get our bikes along there and so this shot is for him!

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The last section of the track is the most scenic with some huge bluffs and

finally The Bridge…

And after the Bridge a return trip of 32 km in a Jet Boat with Wanganui River Adventures down the Wanganui River to Pipiriki, a great finish to a great day.

We then finished off the trip with 3 days of riding around some of Wellingtons finest trails, starting with a visit to Makara Peak and some excellent hand built trails

Followed by an evening ride with The Hutt Valley MTB Club from ‘City to Sea’ taking in the tracks from Aro Valley through to Red Rocks out on the South Coast, with a very scenic spot to repair a puncture or two…

And saving the best until last (maybe?) a local ride for me from beach to back-country riding out of our base here on The Kapiti Coast and up into the hills onto the remote ‘Co-op’ track and  back along the beach tracks to home. And all this on Christmas Eve before saying farewell  to our Swiss guests, Daniella and Roli on Christmas Day after an NZ Champagne breakfast.

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Winter Time in the southern hemisphere, a time to hibernate… or alternatively build MTB tracks.

Sometimes when the colder shorter days arrive and riding the bike seems to be more of an effort, it would be easy to tuck it away in the garage and stay indoors next to the fire.

But if a local track building project comes along where you can ride your bike up into the hills and then start chopping trees down and digging up the hillside then why wouldn’t you!

Our local Kapiti MTB Club managed to get the go-ahead after a long struggle with the local body councils to build a three kilometre easy grade track through some pretty challenging country, that track is on target for an opening ceremony sometime before the summer season kicks in and everybody gets their bike out of the garage!

The uphill track is already in place and gives a nice steady climb, rising over 200m.

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The new track is through previously uncharted country and has involved some challenging exploratory missions…

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This track was going to take a dedicated bunch a long time to hand dig and so the club invested some time and effort into fund raising and managed to get some voluntary digger time followed by some chargeable time which has been covered by the funds raised thus far…

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A short 100m section required hand digging, which is not just hand digging, it involves digging out tree stumps and using a 2m ‘jimmy-bar’ to dispose of large rocks. The end result is a nice section through the trees and across a stream.

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We have now started on the top section of the track which will involve hand digging around 300m of track and bridge crossing two small gullies… watch this space.

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Ten Years (+) of the Reikorangi Back Country Loop, (Church to Church).

As there is a general discussion going on now around the Wellington region about this epic back country loop and the possibility of improvements being made to some of the more difficult sections, I thought I would dig out some of the photos I’ve taken over the past 10 years or so since I first tackled this ride way back in 1998… then I took along a Super 8 movie camera and recorded the whole thing to magnetic tape! Might try and digitise that sometime.

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In 2007 the first shot at the church was taken at just before 8am and the last photo at 4:30pm with around an hour left to ride, return time to the vehicles was after 5pm I recall making this ride a more than 9 hour church outing!

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Some of the puddles on the four-wheel drive section get to be pretty deep but that doesn’t stop some (Don, Bill!)

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The main track that climbs up to 800m at Renata Saddle gets some occasional use from 4WD vehicles and remains in pretty good condition.

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After the saddle the tracks turns a bit wilder on the long descent down to Waiotauru Hut… long descent… 6km of uninterrupted downhill losing 550m, that’s nearly 1800ft in old money, with a few washouts along the way!

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Past the hut comes the Southern Waiotauru River crossing which can be pretty interesting to cross after recent rain and would turn you back if it was in flood. There used to be an old bridge across the river that was full of holes but with care you could keep your feet dry but as is the way of things the authorities came in and knocked it down in case someone managed to fall off of it.

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Having lost all that height and gained the company of the river the rest of the ride follows the river all the way out to Otaki Forks, meandering up and down along the true right bank to start with before crossing the swing bring at the confluence of the Southern and Eastern Waiotauru Rivers,

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Waiotauru Forks which is where the real bike–n-hike begins along the true left bank, rooty and narrow but still with rideable sections over the next 4km. Steep country along this section prone to major landslips in two or three places.

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Thanks to the many accompanying riders over the years that helped to make every ride a memorable one:

John Rowland, Graeme Silcock, Dirk Naish, Dave Mann, Gordon Macdonald, Grant Atkin, Ian McCabe, Steve Strain, Mike Dalton, Andrew Duncan, Jeremy Patterson, Mike Beaumont, Bill Brierley, Don Heron, Brett Irvin, Dale Lopez, members of the Coastal Crew and others who came and conquered ‘The Loop’ and lived to tell the tale…  

Steve Meeres      

Longest Day Ride… 14 hours

Back in December I got talked into taking on the Longest Day Ride with a group of locals called “The Coastal Crew”. The idea being to ride from dawn till dusk on the longest day of the year which down here at the bottom of The Earth is December 21st. Some of the purists started from home at dawn, me I opted with a couple of the other guys to have a leisurely start at 7am.

The Grand Plan was to do a fairly challenging route locally which involved a bit of bike-n-hike, take it ‘easy’ so that we survived the day and stop for food regularly including one stop in a café to do a BIG top-up. So the total distance was never going to be huge on this ride but we still needed to keep going and last the distance.

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The weather was cloudy which wasn’t a bad thing, kept us cool as did the river crossings.

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Maybe the whole thing was just a dream, we were sitting at home with a cold beer and the bikes were out there alone doing all the work…

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But no, there was still plenty of bike-n-hike to do towards the BIG café break at the 8 hour mark. After a substantial feed of anything you liked and a rest for a hour it was back on the bikes to take on the last hill a steady grind up to 700m followed by a long ridge with countless dips and climbs, a huge downhill, and a road link before the last climb of the day and a final bush section to keep us awake then a steady trudge back to the start point as the daylight faded.

So at 9pm, 14 hours after starting, just over 98km travelled, 2619m of climb we arrived to a feast organised by Dales wife, Janice which we tucked into out on the deck before heading for home and calling it a (longest) day…

Steve (accompanied by Gordy and Dave)

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Monday Morning, up in the hills.

What better way to spend a Monday morning in early February when the sun is shining, why? Because you can!

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Up through Whareroa on the Kapiti Coast and deep into the Akatarawa’s…

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Only 35km round trip from my front door but 900m of climb and over 6 hours out and about… (but 3 of those 6 hours were spent chatting and laying in the sunshine!)

Steve.

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