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Outrunning a deluge

It’s Thursday, which on my planet means the day after Wednesday. Hump day. It’s the day we generally do a trip to the coast for various reasons, and usually run out of time for bike rides. So Thursday is a pretty key day to get out for a spin, can’t go cold turkey for longer than 24 hours without getting an itchy sensation under my skin. For other and equally various reasons I decided to make this outing an almost gravel ride to the top of a long, mellow trail back down. Nice and cruisy, nothing even slightly risky. Unless you count that big black thunderstorm which only became visible after I popped out of the trees near the top...

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Thoughts on trail muntage

Here is a snapshot of the way my brain operates. Well, not the whole thing, a blogpost isn’t long enough. Just the bit that is in charge of my emotional response to the comings and goings of mountain bike trails. Around here, the trails are in what is officially a ‘production’ forest, where trees grow until they are big enough to sell to somebody. Depending how you look at it, you could argue about that definition all day, and we frequently do. Pine trees on the volcanic plateau grow pretty fast. A plot that gets mowed down can be a sort of forest within half a decade. It is a constant source of amazement how soon a cut-over bomb site can...

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Test flying a drop bar Krampus

Many moons ago, when giant lizards walked the land, I thought I would like to ride Tour Aotearoa. We had done some long bike packing missions before, camping our way around the South Island, and another time in Hawaii (highly recommended, will repeat if we are ever allowed to go there again). I got myself equipped with a bike I thought would be ideal, entered the first edition, and then reality stepped in and I couldn’t take the month off that would be required to complete it at the pace I intended to go. Life has continued to stymie any further attempts to be away from the ranch for that long, and now I am not at all sure I...

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Are you e-curious?

One of the phenomena that really became obvious in 2020 is the surge in the use of e-bikes by mountain bikers. Shops sell as many as they can get, and all sorts of people are jumping on to them. From experienced and fit riders to complete newbies, e-bikes are the flavour of the year. The multi-year development curve required by most people before they can really enjoy mountain biking is short-circuited, with an extra 250 watts virtually anybody can get very mobile. That is a two-edged sword, anecdotally a chopper pilot told me that 90% of the people he is rescuing from bike related incidents got themselves into trouble with electrical assistance. In the primitive pre-electric era, riders developed skills...

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Gravel - its a thing!

Gravel. It’s a thing. Tickle your wanderlust on the road less travelled, hunt down unsealed routes in the backblocks, and intersect with places and lives you may never have guessed existed. It is the bike world’s newest and most exciting thing that doesn’t have a battery. The reality is it’s actually an old thing. In fact, it’s as old as the bicycle itself. While people were horsing around with tar-based roading before the invention of the chain-driven bike, tarmac wasn’t patented until 1902. By that time the oldest of the classics was in its tenth edition. Precious few roads were sealed, and cycling was already a big sport and a massive pastime. Riding and racing on sealed roads didn’t really...

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