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Only in Rotorua


Although daylight saving only started this week, last week was looking pretty good for after work rides. Wednesday turned out to be the day that went most like it was supposed to, so shortly before 5 I headed up Hemo Gorge. That is the gap between some high ground that the highway south out of Rotorua passes though on its way to the main trail entrance.

Word about the opening of a trail through the gorge made me go and investigate. The trail follows the stream into a steep sided canyon then clambers out to a paddock close to the trailhead. It will eventually have a bridge over the stream and go direct to the forest but even with the dogleg across the paddock and out the gate it feels like a shortcut, and sidesteps the highway. It is well worth a look.

Any ride that starts with a new chunk of trail is a winner. But there is another new trail, starting at a high point above town that was recently denuded by logging. New tracks snake off in three directions and connect to old trails, but the NEW new one is all new, and designed to be good for riders of all abilities. A series of short traverses are joined by sculpted downhill turns that wind between big old trees...its magic. Currently called the Track With No Name, it will get a proper title from the Maori land owners that generously allow it to be. Check it out when you are next in Whakarewarewa Forest. POSTSCRIPT: The trail will be called Tokorangi. Toko has a meaning of “to prop up” while Rangi refers to the “sky”. The position of this track on the high point of the forest skyline overlooking town makes this name very relevant.

So a decent little outing, riding for an hour with two new trails! Only in Rotorua. But wait, there’s more: I had a rendezvous at the supermarket, and I quickly found the van, but had no keys so I thought I would wait outside. I discovered a novel way to sit on my bike’s top tube, wedging my butt under the seat and sort of propping the whole arrangement up with casually crossed legs. With the right hand on the left bar-end I could hold the rear brake with my right pinky to prevent movement, and be sort of comfortable. So I am perched there watching ‘epic fails’ on the phone, when a woman emerged from the supermarket. She approached, and in a strong accent said “Is ok to sit?”. Not sure what she meant, I agreed, it was ok to sit. So she sat, on my unoccupied back wheel. We sat together for a while, in a weird silence (I couldn’t think of anything to say, which is unusual). A car drew alongside containing her husband and several dogs, she thanked me profusely and left me on my bike/seat, alone. As I said, only in Rotorua.




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