Nelson was enjoying a spell of fine weather, that is more often than not, reserved for the golden province of the mainland. It had been mega windy and changeable further south and nothing but shite and rain further north, so our North Island aspirations would have to wait while we frittered away our time on Nelson's awesome MTB trails.
Greetings from the country that brought you the Spanish Inquisition, Siesta, Paella, Corrida de Toros and the Seat Ibiza. After being overwhelmed, in a good way, at the Keukenhof by a zillion varieties of beautiful tulips we waved goodbye to the land of windmills, dykes, Ditte’s family and of course tulips.
Golden Bay is a magic place to visit, isolated from the madness of the mainland by that marble mountain they call Takaka Hill. It has kept the barbarian hoards at bay and even the Romans were reluctant to invade until the locals built a decent road up and over the big rock. Their preference was for a tunnel.
With summer in full swing biking adventures are abound, but just recently it felt like the regular post-work rides in the Port Hills of Christchurch haven't quite been doing justice to our long summer evenings. Something needed to be done to make full use of summer’s offer, before autumn started to absorb the advantage, and I had just the plan.
Ground Effect staffer Laurence and his father John are on an intergenerational adventure in Europe, racing in the Chemin du Soleil or ‘Road to the Sun’ in France's Haute Provence.
So, a variety of factors lead us to this. Five 50-somethings, male & female, are blundering about after dark in Sedona, AZ, their 28’ Campervan a manoeuvring nightmare. Day one of our 3 week road trip ends with a desperation meal at a deserted Burger King, and parked up overnight in a supermarket car park.
The thought “I could live here” popped into my head as we drove into the town of Bend, Oregon. Not too big, not too small, high desert climate, good foodie options, a craft brewing scene that’s perhaps the best in the USA and phenomenally good mountain biking. I mean phenomenally good.
An endless, dry summer on the South Island's West Coast. Home of my favourite singletrack - much of it recently refurbished in a surge of enthusiasm from local trail builders.
South of San Francisco, the Peninsula and South Bay offer a myriad of options for combining riding and sightseeing. More famous for tech - Apple, Google and Facebook - than singletrack, Silicon Valley does though sport many diverse parks and preserves, most clustered along Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35).
One of the best and longest stretches of single track in Canterbury - curving through the beech forests around Mount Oxford. Beware of wasps in the summer.
San Francisco... arguably one of the world's iconic cities. Booming tech sector, classic liberal history, world class food, wine, artisan cocktails and the birthplace of mountain biking. Really?