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Bikes 'n' Beer - Beervet 2020

19 October 2020

Images: Tony Hutcheson, Odin Woods, Scott Emmens & Dom Blissett
Intro: Guy Wynn-Williams

Fifteen blokes on tour; varying interpretations of gravel-appropriate bikes; endless ruminations on tyre width; progress measured in pubs and pints; and cols marked with a wee dram. What could possibly go wrong? As it transpires, absolutely nothing.



Beervet 2020 is the second edition of Tony Hutcheson’s mash up of two of his favourite things - beer and bikes, with side servings of single malt and singletrack.


This year's Beervet celebrated Central Otago’s excellent riding, massive Grahame Sydney vistas, and commensurate hospitality.

The Hawkdun Range. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Southern hospitality with a twist. Photos: Tony Hutcheson

We kicked off in Alexandra; whipped along the Otago Central Rail Trail; crossed Danseys Pass into the Waitaki; ambled up the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to Omarama; climbed Little Omarama Saddle back to the Maniototo; cruised the OCRT a second time; explored the iconic hinterland around Manorburn Reservoir;  before a final flourish down the Clock Face trails into Alexandra.

  • The #notanevent goodie bag with enamel tumbler, brass bell, mini dry bag, Beervet t-shirt, stickers and a can of IPA.
  • Splendid food & lodgings at Dansey's Pass and Blacks Hotel Ophir.
  • A chilly post-breakfast climb over Dansey's Pass. 
  • The return crossing via Little Omarama Saddle with stunning views of Lake Ohau and Aoraki to the north. Whisky slushies at the top. And a stonking nor' west tailwind that propelled us down and out (like George Orwell in Paris and London).
  • The 'per diem' beer allowance on the two days that pubs were scarce.
  • Olde world vibe at Gilchrist Store in Oturehua.
  • Tony's magnificent organisation and constant ebullience.
Bling and beer. Photos: Scott Emmens

Note that despite delusions and representations to the contrary, Beervet is not an event - just a bunch of loosely organised mates out for a ride. Aotearoa is brimming with cruisy cycle trails, farm roads and singletrack. Opportunities abound to conjure up your own lightweight, self-supported, multi-day itinerary based around suitable lodgings and victualling establishments. Grab a copy of Classic NZ Cycle Trails for inspiration.

Day 1: Alexandra to Kyeburn Diggings. 115km, 1129m climbing, 4 pubs.
Grand Départ at the Courthouse Cafe in Alex. Photos: Tony Hutcheson

Pick a box, any box. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

The reassuring gentle gradient of the Otago Central Rail Trail. Photo: Odin Woods

Poolburn Tunnel. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Late afternoon on the Otago Central Rail Trail. Photos: Scott Emmens

Cause and effect. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Fortification in Naseby. Photo: Odin Woods

Closing in on Kyeburn Diggings. Photo: Odin Woods

Unfamiliar opulence at the Danseys Pass Hotel. Photos: Tony Hutcheson
Day 2: Kyeburn Diggings to Otematata. 107km, 1257m climbing, 4 pubs.

Danseys Pass on the up. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Cresting Danseys Pass. Photo: Odin Woods

Faites attention aux cyclistes de gravier. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

"Ocean 2 Alps" - up the Waitaki River Valley. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Power to the people. Photo: Tony Hutcheson
Day 3: Otematata to Wedderburn. 104km, 1700m climbing, 1 pub plus tots of whisky and our per diem.

A brisk start to the day exiting Otematata. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Portaloos redefined. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

A talisman at the base of the misleadingly named Little Omarama Saddle. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Not much riding but magic views over your shoulder. Photo: Dom Blissett

Indeed. Photo: Odin Woods

Gravel bikes morph into snow bikes. Photos: Tony Hutcheson & Odin Woods

Down and out to Hawkdun Road and Wedderburn. Photos: Tony Hutcheson & Dom Blissett

Wet footwear hogging the fire at the Wedderburn Tavern. Photo: Tony Hutcheson
Day 4: Wedderburn to Ophir. 58km, 400m climbing, 4 pubs.

Wheels within wheels. Photo: Odin Woods

Back on the familiar OCRT. Photo: Tony Hutcheson
Historic Gilchrist Store. Photos: Scott Emmens

Cocktail hour at Blacks Hotel Ophir. Photos: Tony Hutcheson

Bromance in Ophir. Photo: Tony Hutcheson
Day 5: Ophir to Alexandra.64km, 1300m climbing, 1 pub plus our per diem and some whisky.

Dead centre and dead unlucky. Photo: Tony Hutcheson

Unmistakably Central Otago. Photos: Dom Blissett & Odin Woods

"Fixie" downhilling due to a failed freewheel. Photo: Dom Blissett

Velcro cycle glove jokes abound. Photo: Dom Blissett

Bikepacking the Clock Face singletrack. Photos: Tony Hutcheson & Odin Woods

Group Selfie: Tony Hutcheson

An excellent rendering of a Beervet-ready bicycle from Brandon Gold @kiwiseventythree