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Eagle vs Shark pays off



Some weeks back a newsletter featured a semi-naked Lisa Horlor risking hypothermia in a panties run down a frozen trail. You must remember it. It was a fundraising exercise for a new trail.

The fundraising went well, thanks, and the trail is already open and rideable.

They say that investing in cycling infrastructure is one of the best dollars an authority can spend. They were probably thinking about something more useful to society than a couple of kilometres of dirt trail taking cyclists from the middle of nowhere to nowhere else, but we think the formula still adds up.

For a start, this investment was made by the people building the trail, the people who will ride it, and quite a few people who may never ride it, but like the idea of it. Because the benefits of that investment will be reaped by the investors directly, the payback will not be some nebulous figure on a spreadsheet somewhere, it will be in cold hard giggles. No kidding. Go and ride it when you get the chance: try not to giggle.

Harder to measure, but of considerable weight in the discussion, is the fact that Eagle vs Shark (the working title of the crowd-funded trail) makes more people ride uphill more often.

Shaped like half a giant wiggly-sided bowl, Whakarewarewa Forest is generally accessed from the base of the bowl. Riders climb to the rim of the bowl at various points and roll back into it. Some of the shiftless slackers even take a bus to the top.

To ride Eagle vs Shark requires some hill climbing, no matter which way you slice it. It drops down the back side of the bowl, away from the main start points. If you choose to shuttle to the top, then ride Eagle vs Shark, you are going to need to ride back up on the return trip. If you want a quick E vs S fix you still have a couple of hundred metres of elevation to gain from the access point on the back side of the hill.

If, like us last Saturday, you want to incorporate the Eagle in a much longer outing with no buses involved, you have an extra hill that will make you a better person, eventually.

To calculate the benefits to the general wellbeing of society that extra hill will produce is beyond the scope of designers and newsletter writers, we have enough trouble with the phone bill.

But we are pretty sure that even factoring in the inevitable ambulance and emergency room costs, Eagle vs Shark will deliver goodness out of all proportion to its costs.

Already, it has made our riding off-sider and photographer mateGraeme Murray tip over the edge of the ‘how far can energy stored as fat take a man on a given day’ equation. Midway through a fearsome E vs S loop by way of other long climbs and descents he started talking about food. I don't generally carry any, he didn't even have a backpack.

We met Marcello, just by chance, and G said “Got any food?” before other pleasantries.

Just like that!

To my amazement, Marcello had an actual menu, with multiple choices, and was willing to share. G chose the PBJ sandwich, and that got him back to the car.





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