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

Makara Beach MTB Sunday Ride

Makara Beach MTB Sunday Ride

The weather had been dodgy all week and Saturday was terrible, wind, rain, the works.  And so Sundays proposed ride along an exposed westerly coastline near Wellington was going to be an adventure. But as is often the way if you just stick with the plan you can be rewarded with the unexpected, in this case the weather turned on a cool and breezy but bright day.2016-5-19 02 Makara Beach

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The pictures tell the story, sunshine,  rocky coastlines and wind farms…

Lots of wind turbines to catch the regular wind that blows through Cook Strait.

Information here about the wind farm.       Meridian Energy, Project West Wind.

And after a lunch stop at Opua Bay we searched out some good technical riding along the cliff tops before a descent back to Makara beach and a cup of coffee in the local cafe.

Glendhu Station, Wairarapa Coast.

Glendhu Station, Wairarapa Coast.

We have just had a great weekend reconnaissance ride around part the Wairarapa Coast over on the southeast corner of the North Island, stayed on an old  sheep and beef station nestled between the hills down on the coast which has been run by the same family since the late 1800’s.

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Gordie having arranged a shuttle run back towards Martinborough made sure we were all loaded up and ready to go for the one hour trip back to a nice (if not cool) high point start next to the Hau Nui wind farm which was New Zealand’s first commercial wind-farm built in 1996.

The trip up the coast was fairly uneventful until we reached ‘The Slip’, there was then some discussion on our options to navigate this before we set off down and across the Rerewhakaaitu River (try saying that after a bottle of port [Grant]) and climbed before reaching the slip which involved some challenging traversing!

All successfully across we rode on the final 7km back to our overnight accommodation for some fine home cooked food, thanks Gordie, where a few bevies were enjoyed by most and a lot by some…

Sunday dawned bright and the wind had swung round to the west and strengthened which cleared the skies and added a challenging crosswind later on the return leg along the coast.

We had picked a circular route to the north which involved a good honest climb to start the day and warm up those muscles.

We added in some off-track excursions and ridge riding which was fantastic (if that is your kind of riding). This picture shows a preferred option and I managed to encourage Dave to come along for some ‘very lively’ off-track descending…

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After the excitement we had a pleasant ride back along a wild and windy coastline before hitting the road and heading for home.

A great part of the country for some good scenic riding, no special single track but plenty of options to ride where there were no tracks at all… And just a note, this ride was over private land and requires the landowners permission for any access.

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21 Day BIG NZ Tour

21 Day BIG NZ Tour

Rotorua to Christchurch and most places in-between…

After a warm up day in Rotorua we headed out for some ‘Real MTB Riding’ on the wild and remote Moerangi trail. There has been some fairly impressive water damage since our last trip in December after this area caught the tail end of a tropical cyclone.

Shot on down to Taupo afterwards for some pleasant riding on the Kinloch trails, sampled the full length of the Waihaha to Waihora track there and back, (55km without the drop down into the bay and back up).

The weather forecast was looking ominous as we headed across Pureora Forest to start the first leg of the Timber Trail, and the rain forest ride lived up to its name and laid on a minor deluge of warm rain for us!

The rain had abated by the time we reached our overnight stop at Black Fern Lodge which gave us plenty of time to dry out before taking on the second part of the trail the following morning.

The day dawned bright and we were treated to a dry second half with a pleasant ride all the way out to the trail head at Ongarue. The huge suspension bridges are always a feature of the second half of the Timber Trail. Also this time we spent some time looking around the Ongarue Spiral created to allow the trains to lose height at a steady gradient, this involved some pretty serious rock work with picks and shovels…

We then headed for Ohakune where for a while the temperature gauge hit 26 degrees before the southerly kicked in across the Volcanic Plateau and we dropped to 16 degrees as we arrived in Ohakune.

An easy day the following day so we headed up the Old Coach Road to take a look at the old and new viaducts.

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Then it was time to take on the Bridge to Nowhere (plus a few kilometers more road ride having got the times wrong and missed the shuttle! Rob’s a commuter so we knocked off the extra 25km pretty smartly…)

A couple of sunny days down on the Kapiti Coast…

before heading south on the ferry and tackling Dun Mountain in Nelson.

I thought I would throw in a picture of the new mountain bike on a mountain before it gets too old, (not the rider!) The descent from Coppermine Saddle is still a gnarly, rock strewn descent all the way down into the valley below, only one pinch-flat from ‘that guy’ still riding with  tubes…

Over to the Rameka for the next ride, a rain soaked track kept the camera in storage but the Rameka extension just keeps getting longer and longer as the local guys extend the trail network.

Back to home base in Nelson to prepare for The Old Ghost Road two day adventure with the weather forecasters issuing a weather warning for that part of the country…

The day dawned grey but reasonably calm as we set off for the start point at Lyell in the Buller Gorge where we were met by a good steady rain that persisted for the rest of the day, but again the rain was warm.

The track surface is excellent and drains really well which is quite useful for these parts where several metres of rain fall annually.

once you get out onto the open tops some good rugged mountain biking is there for the taking, best to stay on the trail as some of the drops are big!

Our overnight accommodation looked a little gloomy perched at 1200m in the clouds but the wood burner was going in the main hut and we cooked up a hearty (re-hydrated) meal and most food tastes good when you’re hungry. The up/down bunk room in the sleep-out was cozy and we drifted off to sleep with the wind and rain beating on the roof.

The rain eased in the morning and we munched up a good breakfast and headed out on the 55km trip out to Seddonville. The single track sections along the first stage are just amazing, real grade 4 technical riding high up in the mountains and the single track just keeps going and gets progressively more flowy, but there are still a couple of tricky sections down the Mokihinui Gorge before finally popping out at Seddonville.

After that epic adventure we retired to The Old Nurses Home in Reefton for some refueling with a good meal at the local pub washed down with local ale.

And on another sunny day in Reefton I took the guys on a short tour of Blacks Point which isn’t a big ride but has lots of old relics (to compliment the riders!)

After sufficient rest, relics and recuperation we headed over Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs for some single track riding on the purpose built trails around town.

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These were just a warm up for taking on The St James Cycle Trail where we were rewarded with 60km of big country riding under big blue skies.

We diverted off to Lake Guyon for a spot of lunch before returning to the trail and continuing on towards our turn off for Edwards Pass.

Stopped off in a small hut once over Charlies Saddle and Dale boiled up his billy for afternoon tea before the final push over Peters Pass and down to our waiting vehicle at the St James Homestead.

A great day out on a ‘Great Day’ a Real Mountain Biking Adventure… nicely followed up by a visit to the local fish-n-chip shop in Hanmer and a good sleep.

Our final outing was from the lovely location of Flock Hill nestled in the mountains on the road to Arthur’s Pass to take on the ever expanding track network in the Craigieburn Valley, 24km of supper single track at altitudes between 700 and 1300m and although the weather didn’t play ball, the riding was fantastic and a fitting end to 21 days of mountain bike riding in some of the best locations New Zealand has to offer.

Why not finish with a little bike-art on The Hogs Back Track above Castle Hill Village…

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Five day tour around Wellington

Just completed a short 5 day tour of the best that Wellington Region has to offer and the weather stayed fine and as the locals say “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day!”

Whole bunch of photos to follow to prove what they say…

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And some more;    Makara Peak MTB Park.

And finally a few of Marianne riding the Surly ‘Ice Cream Truck’ along the beach at Kapiti.

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It’s been a great summer, long may it continue into Autumn…

REEFTON without the RAIN

REEFTON without the RAIN

It seems it was a good idea to re-visit Reefton in summertime because although rain was forecast it never eventuated. The West Coast of the South Island certainly gets its fair share of rain and although on average Reefton has 2200mm of rain annually that is half a metre less than Greymouth out on the coast.

It takes a while to get over to the West Coast of the South Island from Wellington, by the time you allow for the load and unload of the Ferry and the 3+ hours across Cook Strait it is well into the afternoon before you can tackle the 250km to Reefton.

On arrival we were keen to stretch the legs and so we headed out of town to Blacks Point for a ride up into the hills and some interesting single track which also included a few steps (someone counted 320!) The riding was worth it with some great sections of skinny single track through the Beech forest.

A good leg stretch and back in plenty of time for dinner.

The following day we tackled the daunting Kirwan’s Track described by The Kennett Brothers in their book as “one of the most enjoyable masochistic rides in the country” The pleasant ride through the valley disguises the long and arduous climb that lies ahead up to the hut at just below 1300m.  At the hut we took on fuel and donned jackets pondering the view disguised by the clouds. The group then split with one group heading onward on an exploratory mission to check out a full loop option and the rest of us returned for the run down Kirwan’s which is the reason for suffering the climb. 14km of mostly downhill follows loosing 1000m of altitude paid for on the way up.

In the last photo, Richard demonstrated how to back flip off of his bike down the bank with his bike ending up in the creek. Not recommended on the steep stuff.

Having had a big day we checked out the weather forecast for a Heli-bike ride on the Croesus, the clouds were low but due to clear and sure enough we got the green light and at midday met the helicopter in the car park at the bottom of the track. Three trips later ten of us and our bikes were gazing down on the forest far below, expectations were high after the stories of this track being in prime condition having just been cleared for a ‘Mountain Man Goat Race’ running event earlier in the month. The track was a fantastic rock strewn downhill, a complete contrast to the rooty descent on Kirwan’s Track, plenty of long straight sections to up the speed, a real buzz from top to bottom.

A really great ride and a nice finish off in the infamous “Blackball Hilton” pub.

A ride through Big River was on the cards for the following day and out through Waiuta. An old 4WD track winds its way in to Big River past lots of mine workings, plenty of old tunnels and relics to explore. After the Big River hut it becomes single track with a neat section of boardwalk to keep you out of the soft stuff and the loosely termed downhill on the Waiuta feels like uphill in places because of the gentle gradient and the soft leaf litter.


And so we had managed to see Reefton without rain with afternoon temperatures in the high 20’s, we sat outside in the late evening barbecuing and sharing the day’s stories and minor injuries (except for Ian’s cracked rib!) over a glass of beer, plenty of reasons to return to Reefton.




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.


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!


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…


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!


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.


Stock Yards Ride. Kapiti

Stock Yards Ride. Kapiti

Late summer ride up in the hills above The Kapiti Coast, a different ride on a Wednesday evening, not a lot of track to follow now that the farm has closed, all that nicely cropped grass chewed down by the sheep has turned into wheel eating matting which makes for challenging hill climbs. Not a lot of green after the long dry summer.

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But the views from up in the hills are pretty good although the southerly wind was blowing strong.

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And once you have done the last climb past the stock yards the downhill is a real blast with plenty of opportunities for unexpected dismounts… but not on this trip.

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And even the locals stayed up to watch us pass but declined the offer to join us for a pint at Finns in Paekakariki…

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Steve. And a bunch of good keen HVMBC folk who don’t always stay on the ‘straight-n-narrow’.

Central North Island summer riding.

Central North Island summer riding.

Great trip made even better with really good weather. The Bridge to Nowhere, a remote ride, lots of history and a jet boat ride to finish.

Lots of photo opportunities!

Racked and ready to go...

Racked and ready to go…

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Dragging ’em’ along the dusty road

Happy camper!

Happy camper!

One of the old settlers huts circa 1923

One of the old settlers huts circa 1923

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Dave demonstrating a section of technical riding…

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time to contemplate what its all about...

time to contemplate what its all about…

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Battleship Bluffs, spot the riders towards the end.

Battleship Bluffs, spot the riders towards the end.

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The Bridge to Nowhere, built, but a road linking it to everywhere else was never completed.

The Bridge to Nowhere, built, but a road linking it to everywhere else was never completed.

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Ready for the 32km trip back down river.

Ready for the 32km trip back down river.

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Next bunch are from National Park Village and The Old Coach Road back towards Ohakune.

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its ok its Sunday and you can hear the trains coming from a long way away!

its ok its Sunday and you can hear the trains coming from a long way away!

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One of the old bridges before they built the new railway.

One of the old bridges before they built the new railway.

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The new shiny concrete viaduct.

The new shiny concrete viaduct.

Nearly home, might as well take the river route...

Nearly home, might as well take the river route…

Rimutaka Summit Route. August 2014

The ride up to the Rimutaka summit, Burnt Spur  and back down the Pylon Track to Kiwi Ranch loop involves a bit of walking but hey, we had tackled it 4 years ago and didn’t write it off as a ‘never-do-again-ride’ and anyway at that time the sun was shining…

And so it was that on a cool August morning with a southerly blowing fine misty rain over the grey hills we set off with the 7°C breeze cooling our knees, this time tackling the ride in a clockwise direction so that we could ‘ride’ down from Burnt Spur to The Summit.

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The ride up to the beginning of the Pylon Track from Kiwi Ranch is a good warm up through some challenging bush sections, especially in the wet.


The Pylon Track is a good test for the lungs and legs as you eat up 400m of climb and a reason to break a sweat even if it was only 6°C and you’re wearing a plastic work coat (Gordy!)

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Once you leave the pylon behind at the ride high point of 700m and descend along Burnt Spur (the site of a fire many years ago) you drop into a bush section and the temperature dropped to 4°C, there was plenty of bike carry through here to keep us warm… 

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And when we weren’t carrying we could at least do some pushing and on the odd occasion some riding… The views are great up there even on a grey day and once we had regrouped at the summit and zipped off part-way down the highway to pick up the 4WD track that leads down to the Rimutaka Rail Trail it was a high speed dual slalom race down to The Rimutaka Incline and then a cruise back to the cars, but not before I talked the guys into a high speed pass through the ford doing an excellent impression of the ‘Rinse Cycle’!               Good ride, Good company: Andrew, Dave, Dirk, Gordy, Grant and Ian…


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Rimutaka Summit Route August 2014

Distance: 28km. Altitude Climb: 1055m.   Altitude high point: 700m.   

Total Time: 3H 30m.               Ride Time 2H 55m.

Rimutaka Summit Route