It was playtime so Ditte and I headed down the road to the huge Rotorua Redwoods sandpit devouring Tuhoto Ariki and a bunch of connecting tracks to the end of Blue Lake. This was followed by a pilgrimage to Rainbow Mountain's gnarly singletrack uphill and awesome downhill to the Kerosene Creek hot springs.
eBikes are good. As a car-alternative for commuting, they lessen congestion and reduce our carbon footprint. They allow less-fit riders to ride rail and cycle trails that would otherwise be too tough, long or steep. Experienced mountain bikers can knock off longer distances and future (lighter) eBikes offer a tantalising alternative to traditional up-lifts like buses and chairlifts. There is plenty to be both excited and cautious about. However the Department of Conservation (DOC) caught many off guard recently with their proposal to allow 300 watt pedal-assist eBikes on 33km of new shared-use track in Tongariro National Park.
A tropical cyclone had brushed the top of the North Island causing slips and track closures across Auckland's Regional Parks and the Coromadel, and a missing chain link in our carefully crafted ride plan. We pumped up the tyres, lubed the chains and headed down the shallow arc of the Bay of Plenty through kiwifruit and avocado orchards to Whakatane and then up to the magic kingdom of Opotiki.
Since opening in 2015, the Old Ghost Road has rocketed to the top of every kiwi mountain biker’s must do, or must do again list. It’s so popular that when Cherie suggested a Ground Effect work junket back in September, the first Saturday night she could book the Ghost Lake Hut was in April this year. After a collective gasp of disbelief around the office, all 20 bunks in the main hut and the two sleepouts were duly booked and paid for. Family and our Ground Effect ‘Revolutionary’ sponsored riders were enlisted to join us, food and logistics sorted, and golden weather pre-ordered.
Mountain biking is now permitted from 1 May to 30 November.
The New Zealand Conservation Authority has approved an amendment to the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan allowing the longer seven-month mountain biking season that will run for the first time this year.
Find out more in the DOC Media release here.