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May 2011

Pureora Forest Tramline trail

A chance meeting with a customer at the Moonride provided some excitement for next summer... a new trail being built through the Pureora Forest west of Lake Taupo is part of the national Cycleway project and follows an old tramline for 70kms through the forest. The trail will include the Ongarue Spiral, a clever bit of engineering that allowed the tramline to traverse some steep country. The trail will also use tunnels and original cuttings used for the tramline. The customer who told us all this is an engineer on the present project, with the company building the bridges required. I didn't really grasp the scope of this part of the operation until I saw these photos. This bridge spans an 85m deep canyon and will be a hoot to try to ride over. I am fervently hoping they add a bunch of wire mesh or something to make falling off the thing less likely. I am sure they will.


Megan & Alistair's Rotorua Visit Day 4

The last day of their visit saw Megan &  Alistair back in the redwoods. We all went for a nice little lap of the lower trails, and got Megan back to the carpark in one piece. She was satisfied with that and had some shopping to do, so Al and I gave ourselves an hour to go and ride Corners.

That was a bit optimistic, but Al swore it was worth the effort of getting up there (a couple of hundred metres above the carpark) and getting back late (I gave him the option, on the way back, of "more singletrack, or quickly back down the road?" He chose singletrack.

We had spent a couple of sessions in Whakarewarewa forest as wisely as I could, and hadn't even scratched the surface really. I think Alistair got tired of having trail heads pointed out "for next time". I am pretty sure they will be back.

We had plenty of time to drop back into town, have a leisurely lunch at Capers, and get everybody where they needed to be by flight time.


Megan & Alistair's Weekend in Rotorua Day 2

The rain we have been enjoying down here was clearing, and we started thinking about riding for Day 2. Although Rotorua's trails dry out after rain faster than most places, they were pretty wet and would be better left for a day or so to get to their sublime best. There is another Rotorua attraction that dries out even quicker that the redwoods: Taupo! We decided to meet Al's friend Jonty down in Taupo for Day 2 and ride W2K, a great trail for almost any weather.

Megan had figured out that there is more to Rotorua than bike riding and was planning a day of R&R, a visit to a spa, and the pampering and hot soaks on offer there.

So it was just me and Al, headed south via the Mihi Cafe at Golden Springs, my new half-way-to-Taupo coffee stop. We met Jonty and headed out to Whakaipo Bay where the W2K trail starts. The sun was shining and the carpark was more or less empty when we rolled out at 10.30. The trail was mostly dry but in places where the sun could not reach there were small mud patches, usually really slippery on top of a hard base, and right in the apex of corners. They were not on every corner, just enough to make barreling into a blind curve inadvisable unless there was clearly a berm to fetch up against should the corner prove to be one of the slippery ones. Good fun.

The Tickled Trout cafe was open in Kinloch, the halfway point for our ride, and the lunch was really good. It would have been easy to kick back there for the afternoon but there was a hill to be climbed and a downhill to be enjoyed so we gave the meal about 10 minutes to integrate with our systems and headed back up the trail.

Day 3 for Megan and Alistair is a day off the bike, and a drive down to Hawkes Bay for some wine tasting. I told Al that is a long way to go for the day, but he reckoned 2.5 hours each way was only a bit further than a trip to the dairy (he actually said milk bar) where he comes from.


Megan & Alistair's Weekend in Rotorua Day 1

Megan and Alistair are the lucky winners of the competition we ran in conjunction with Air New Zealand, Rotorua Airport, Central Park, RideRotorua.com and Okareka Cottage. They won a direct flight from Sydney to Rotorua, accomodation at Okareka Cottage, and a bit of assistance form us in getting around and doing the things that make Central Park such a great visit.

Although it is very simple to bring a bike along for a weekend, we decided to source bikes locally. Bike Culture came to the party with a Santa Cruz Blur for Alistair. Cycle Zone has a great fleet of hire bikes and we selected a Specialized for Megan.

Arrival at 2.40 into Rotorua meant we could transport the visitors to their lodgings at Okareka, get Alistair set up for a ride, and be in the woods by 3.30. That is one the great things about a direct flight into Rotorua and we were keen to make the most of it.

We got in a magic loop of the lower trails, there were a fair amount of puddles and a bit of mud around but Alistair still came out with a huge smile on his dial.


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