The West Coast Wilderness Trail, going from Hokitika to Kumara, opened on 23 of November and it was AWESOME. From 6.30am, riders started from both ends and met in Kumara for festivities. Jonathan joined 30 others from Hokitika who rode two legs (70 km) through scenic country, and via Cowboy Paradise.
It was so good that he and a new friend Kevin O’Donnell decided to ride back to Hokitika. Crazy, yet, but also “…more fun than pissing on an electric fence” as they say on the Coast. Only just made it before the Takeaways shop closed!
Just be aware that there are several sections still under construction, although you can ride on roads to avoid them.
We were also lucky enough to have a tour of the tracks on Blue Spur, just out of Hokitika. The locals have done an awesome job up there, and although the tracks are rough they are also mega fun to ride.
Thanks to John, Jonno and Neil for the tour, and not breaking me (they way they have so many others!). It was a real buzz.
It stood out as special because of meeting an old man that used to live at the Rimutaka Rail Trail summit. Ron Mitchell had to catch the mail train to school at Cross Creek and has vivid memories of life on the trail when steam was king.
Here is Jonathan having a look at Ron’s photo album, and the PM opening the latest cycle trail.
The great thing about local cycling holidays is that you can be flexible and take advantage of fine weather with a group of friends. We decided to head around the Rimutaka Cycle Trail and had tailwinds most of the way.
The trail is in brilliant condition for 99% of the route from Petone to Ocean Beach, which is where we camped at DOC’s Corner Creek campsite. The last section around to Orongorongo Station will be officially opened soon, but be warned, there hasn’t been any upgrading work done yet. We will let you know when they start.
Despite intermittent rain, 77 people went to the opening of Te Ara Ahi Thermal by Bike. The trail transported us through unique geothermal sides, active with geysers and bubbling mud pools.
Highlights include cultural shows, bush walks and the lure of long soaks in soothing hot pools. The trail is humming with worthwhile distractions both on and off the bike. The first half of the ride was mostly off-road. The second half is mostly on road.
Wish we could finish our rides at thermal hotpools in Wellington!
In May, we finally had a chance to ride the new 14 km Waihaha section of the Great Lake Trail. Brilliant fun, and great scenery, although you need to keep your speed in check… in places the damp leaf litter is very slippery. You can end up wrapped around a tree before you know it.
It starts at the Waihaha River Bridge on the western side of Lake Taupo and goes for 14 km to a dead end near the lake. Then you ride back the same way. There isn’t much altitude gain or loss, so that’s not a problem.
Bike Taupo trail building crews are now working from a bay only accessable by boat, back to this point. They hope to be finished by Christmas and rumours are that it is the best yet. Go BikeTaupo!
The Odyssey track building competition over Easter saw 55 people carve over 1000 metres of track. It ended up spanning two days, because we tried unsuccessfully to postpone on Saturday, but three Nelson teams were already on their way, despite torrential rain. Luckily if fined up and they were joined by a dozen locals and the Kennett clan team from Wellington.
On Sunday the track was built all the way through the pines to the 800 metre mark. First equal, having built 160 metres each, were the Quiet Revolution team and the Kennett clan team. The Trail Saints from Nelson were only 10 metres behind in third place.
The weather was perfect on Monday, so 30 Golden Bay locals entered, but the building was much tougher as we carved across a steep scrubby face for almost 300 metres.
The end result is that well over half the track has been built. It is currently grade 4 in the pines and grade 5 below that. There is still a fair chunk of work to go, so it probably won’t be rideable all the way through until after winter.
Many thanks to the event sponsors for prizes and materials: Ground Effect, Giro, Cycletech, Quiet Revolution Cycle Shop and us.