- New Zealand
- The Queen Charlotte TrackMountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds
- History on the Heaphy
- Suppressing the Competitive UrgeMountain biking in Malborough
- Northern ExposureMountian biking the Coromandel
- Hurunui Hot SpringsWinter mountain biking to Hurunui Hut in the Lake Sumner Forest Park.
- Craigieburn Conservation ParkMountain Biking Craigieburn
- The Brevet ClubGuy and Laurence recount the suffering and intrigue of the inaugural Kiwi Brevet... a 1100km mountain bike race around the top half of the South Island over six days. Informal with self-enforced rules, no entry fee, unsupported, and... well, hard.
- Wharfedale TrackThis is arguably the best and longest stretch of single track in Canterbury
- Double FencelineThis classic trip snakes along the summit ridge of Banks Peninsula.
- One Night StandsOvernight mountain biking trips in the South Island
- Fool's GoldMountain biking in Central Otago
- All that Glistens... the Croesus and Moonlight Gold TrailsMountain biking on the South Island's West Coast
- Otago GoldMountain biking - Bannockburn, Central Otago
- Loop de LoopGreat mountain biking can be found in most corners of this flat earth and New Zealand boasts its fair share of classics.
- Magnetic WestMulti-day mountain biking, Kaikoura to the Tasman sea
- Romping Round the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough
- Rambling Around the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough, Arapawa and D'Urville Islands
- Off the Beaten Track An off road traverse of the South Island on mountain bikes
- At Peace with PureoraMountain biking around the Pureora Forest in the Central North Island
- Taranaki for NeophytesMountain biking in Taranaki
- South Pacific
- West meets EastAfter riding all morning through the tail of a typhoon, we didn't want to slosh into a Japanese restaurant in that state. I tried drying out by standing under the vent outside the kitchen. I got no drier, but now I smelled of noodles...
- Tien Shan TraverseWhat do you do in the middle of the mountains when two large, thuggish Chinese men get out of a car and stride purposefully towards you? You smile and say thank you for the stale bread and peaches they are offering you!
- One Gear, One Continent, One Hero.Hero Cycles is the world's largest manufacturer of bikes, spitting out a whopping six million a year. You're unlikely to find one at your local bike shop but as any seasoned traveller can attest, they are the 'people's car' of India.
- Laid-back LaosMountain bike touring in Laos
- The Road to MandalayCycle touring in Myanmar
- Vietnam on Thirty Dollars a DayCycle touring in Vietnam
- A Short Ride in the Hindu Kush Cycle touring in Pakistan
- On a Wheel and a Prayer FlagCycle touring in Tibet
- Shanti Shanti - Across the Himalaya by BikeCycling across the Himalayas
- Biking the Hidden HimalayaCycle touring in North West India
- Pedalling Patagonia"Wow! Amazing! You're cycling to the bottom of South America. Is it all downhill?" Alan and I looked at each other in amusement and suggested that we expected a few uphill sections.
- Cycling Cuba with Fidel and Ché
- Dirt Roading in Colombia'The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay', promises Colombia's latest tourist advertising slogan, printed over glossy photos of idyllic Caribbean coastlines, perfectly preserved colonial towns, rolling, lush coffee plantations and a Latin couple dancing hot cumbia.
- Famous Potato Recipes from Idaho
- My Private Idaho
- Donde Estan Los Pollos
- Alaska - the Last Frontier The Alaskan Iditasport Human Powered Ultramarathon
- In Search of Maple Syrup and a Decent National Anthem Mountain biking in Canada
- All You Can EatMountain Biking in Northern California
- Caffeine and Singletrack in the USA Mountain biking in South West Colorado
- Bici Dolomiti Cycle touring around Italy and the Dolomites
- A Slice of Swiss CheeseMountain biking in Switzerland
- London Calling The London Cycle Show
- Stairway to Heaven - biking Spain's Camino de SantiagoCycle touring in Spain
- Albania for BeginnersIn the summer of 2009, our route from Greece to Germany crossed the small country of Albania...
- Fat Tyre Touring in ItalyCycle touring through Italy.
- Corsica- touring the scented isleCycling in the Mediterranean
- A Scottish Coast to CoastCycle touring in Scotland
- Crouching Tiger - Cycling Ireland's South West Coast Cycling Ireland's South West Coast
- The Italian Job Mountain biking around Lake Garda
- Double DutchA cycle tour of the Netherlands.
- A Rather Big Swedish RaceMountain bike racing in Sweden
- French ConnectionCircumnavigating Mont Blanc on the "Sentier Pedestre" hiking trail.
- A Month in Provence Cycle touring in the South of France
- A French PilgrimageTouring with the Tour de France
- End to End, the Long WayCycle touring in Great Britain
- Steve's SabbaticalCycle touring in France
Danny Trudgett, UnderGround Issue 51 June 2007
Updated 29 June 2011The title to this story isn't a typo (Who is Bronwyn?) or an incomplete sentence (Meet Bronwyn's what?). Bronwyn's is a downhill track at Gap Creek in Brisbane. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance.
The entrance to Bronwyn's is marked with a black diamond and lots of serious warnings like "very difficult terrain" and "don't ride beyond your skill level" and "there be monsters here" and stuff like that. None of this fazed me as I've skied numerous black diamond runs without serious incident (those double black diamonds are a whole different matter though- causing me minor apocalyptic terror culminating in tears, of both kinds). This was however my first confrontation with a black diamond on a mountain bike... and even if I didn't know what I was doing I was going to do it anyway. I'd consumed the almost evangelical reviews on mtbdirt.com and viewed photos of the sensational structures that have been built. I was here to ride. Monsters, be damned.
The track starts steeply. I forced my body back, way back behind the seat and pushed into the pedals for control. I remember thinking "I've not done this before", but it seemed to be working pretty well. So far, so good. Then we arrived at 'all-rock corner' - which is a lot steeper than it looks at first glance. That's because there's a warp in the time-space continuum right at the start that increases the gravitational pull of the earth. Scientists will one day study this in great detail but until then trust me - gravity sucks really hard at the entrance to the rock corner.
The log at the approach is right where you would want a nice stretch of flat track to brake and suss out the best line. As my front wheel dropped over the log I found myself peering under the handlebars, trying to determine what was on the other side - a black hole or neutron star perhaps? What I should have done was follow the advice on the sign: stop, get off, walk downhill, check everything from several different angles, make a few decisions and then ride with the confidence of an assured man. Instead, I was charging downhill, nutting things out on the fly while dodging stellar objects. I bounced over the log- with my weight too far forward, a tad too much speed and my line too close to the inside of the corner. With brakes deployed and handlebars pointing back to the middle of the track, I had a 'moment' that involved a dug-in front wheel and the bike rotating around its front axle with rider attached. I thought "this is no longer working pretty well" as I let off the brakes, yanked on the bars and closed all open sphincters. With luck prevailing over skill, the front wheel started rolling again and the rear re-united with the earth. It wasn't pretty, but I somehow maintained vertical superiority over the bike and stayed on the groomed stuff. No apocalypse yet.
The next section of track has some sweeping corners and jumps that came and went without drama. Some of the jumps had me sailing through the air - landing hard, but with a big grin. The party stopped when I arrived at the 'Evil Knievel Grand Canyon Launch Ramp Replica'.
So ominous did it look through my eyes, that I acquiesced to procedure by stopping to check it out from every angle before making a few decisions. The first decision was that I would rather fall over the tree than into it - surely that would hurt less. I really didn't know how fast to ride the ramp. Faster had to be better, guaranteeing that I cleared said tree. The alert reader will seize on the fundamental flaw in the logic... it's a classic positive feedback loop with no break point. The loop runs like this: reach the 'ideal speed', then go a 'little bit faster' just to be safe. Now you've reached the real ideal speed, right? Wrong! Having reached the 'ideal speed', go a little bit faster just to be safe. Repeat several times until you're going way too fast, then panic.
Adding to the impending sense of disaster, the superficially sage advice to check out the obstacle from every angle is somewhat flawed. I could walk that run 47 times, take measurements, photographs and GPS readings, but as I have never ridden anything remotely like the 'Evil Knievel Grand Canyon Launch Ramp Replica', I would still not have a clue how it ought to be tackled. I could see it was about a metre tall, steep on the way up and the way down- but so what? How fast does one ride over this thing? How far back does one lean? Should one turn one's iPod off? I mean, what if Billy Joel's Uptown Girl starts playing while I'm approaching the ramp and I start convulsing with disgust? I don't want to die listening to Uptown Girl. What if it is still playing when they discover my body? The humiliation would be more than any grieving family ought to endure. The net of all this angst is that the only decision I could possibly make about riding the 'Evil Knievel Grand Canyon Launch Ramp Replica' was to ride it too fast.
Evil would have laughed out loud had he seen the look of abject horror on my face as the bike and I inadvertently became airborne at the top of the ramp. I can't say how fast I was going or where my weight was positioned, but I can tell you that for a split second I was so bloody terrified that time stopped. The wind became silent and birds froze mid-flight as I, all puckered and panicked, hovered over the 'Evil Knievel Grand Canyon Launch Ramp Replica'. Sadly I don't think there were more than a couple of inches of clean air between the timber and my tyres. But for a moment it felt like I was really flying. After regaining terra firma, I halted the bike and laughed manically at the sheer thrill of being unharmed.
Bronwyn's continues rolling along with lots of great terrain and a terrific bermed timber corner that is quite straight forward providing you don't go too fast and stay on the bottom level. If, hypothetically, you were to ride it in a conservative manner and think "that was too easy - I'll go back up and do it faster so I get up to the higher level and have even more fun", then you might end up introducing yourself to a tree as you exit the corner. Not that I would know.
It's fitting that a track as great as Bronwyn's saves the best until last with some elevated track that can only be appreciated by riding it. It's also fitting that a story like this excludes some treasures, so I'll leave it to your imagination what Bronwyn's final fling is really like. However, I can reveal that the ramp is not the same width all the way down and there's quite a bit of not-much-at-all at the end of the ramp. Now if only there was a chairlift at the bottom of this sparkling black diamond to whisk you back to the top.
The Nitty Gritty> Bronwyn's (Pipeline) can be found in Gap Creek Reserve within the Mt Coot-tha Forest- just a bunny hop from downtown Brisbane. Mountain Bike Dirt or Dirt World have the good oil.
> You'll also find a number of cross country singletrack and fire roads that cater to all skill levels. Lantana is often cited as a must-do ride.
> Back in 2005, Brisbane Council policy threatened trail closures in the Mt Coot-tha Forest, leaving just cross country riding in the area. Local trail builders breathed life into an existing trail to create Bronwyn's as a downhill suitable to riders of all abilities. Design and construction is to IMBA spec. and beyond. It's still work in progress with plans for plenty more berms, jumps and North Shore style features.
> Nick Byrne and a team of keen riders meet, greet and build on the third Saturday of every month. Contact Nick at email@example.com to get your hands dirty.
> The Brisbane City Council provided approval, rocks and tools to get Bronwyn's under way. Ground Effect's Slush Fund stumped up with $1000 for timber to build the wooden berm s.