Saturday, December 22

2013 Park map

Here it is, our latest trail map :-)

We had to delay getting it to the printer so we could include a couple of late additions but we ended up making the deadline by at least a couple of hours.

Cruise Control is already proving popular with beginners and experienced riders alike. Somehow it now takes an extra effort of will to take the Sidewinder/Swamp Monster option but its calorific value probably equates to a slice of xmas cake.

Corkscrew takes the title of People's Favourite - mainly, I think, because you get two tracks for the price of one. I was told recently by a local we shouldn't bother with building our planned downhill line because he'll still choose to come down Corkscrew. We've included it in our 2013 build programme, anyway...

Our three ridgeline descents are still as challenging as ever but they each have their fans. Due to the stupidly steep gradients of the upper sections, these tracks are technically 'unsustainable' but, somehow, four years later, they're still there. Make a clean run of all three and you're eligible for one of our Special Edition 'Expert' Park t-shirts.

On hot days, when you need to seek shelter from the beach, it's always a relief to enter the forest. The damp gullies of Shady Lady, Glade Runner and Skullduggery offer cool havens and, if you care to stop, you may find you have some of the native birdlife for company.

If it's views you're after, the one from Corkscrew's skidsite is probably the most photographed, but take a cruise along the ridge to Flamin' Nora if you want the full monty. A personal favourite lies on Bay View between the water tank and Swish - easily missed so you need to be looking if you want that bay view.

Scoot is ably fulfilling its role as a handy bypass so we've been able to extend the One-Way section of Bay View all of the way down to Swish. Now you can hit those swooping BV corners knowing you have the track to yourself ;-)

An extension of the hand-built Skullduggery into the southern perimeter of the Park will be the focus of 2013's working bees. "The volunteers want a project!", we've been told and we're delivering. It's a densely-vegetated part of the Park so if any of you vols want to help with surveying (read: bush-bashing), we'll be keen to hear from you...

This Summer, to help newcomers orientate themselves to the network, we've added a few arrows to our marker posts.
The green will steer you along our recommended Easy route, the blue for a more challenging Moderate circuit.
You'll even find a blue on green combo for a mix of both grades - how's that for ensuring you have a stress-free holiday!

Our tear-off padmaps are in the process of being distributed around the region. The Beach Camp Office is already well-stocked, as are several Motueka outlets. A gold coin donation is always appreciated but, if you think that's too much to ask, you can print one off from the Map link on the menu bar.
Having made the effort to get to us, we want to make sure you get the most out of what's on offer.

And finally, with the increased numbers in the Park over the holidays, it's great to hear those bells jingling! Much as I look forward to meeting new people on the tracks, I'd rather it's not on a blind corner :P

Have a great holiday.

Wednesday, December 19

Easy Rider Upgrade - A Start...

Those of you who have been following the progress of the Tasman Great Taste Trail (GTT), the region's family-friendly cycleway, will be aware that its heading for Kaiteriteri.

The Mountain Bike Park's contribution to this venture was to allow one of our most popular tracks, Easy Rider, to become part of the cycleway route. This meant that GTT cyclists will be able to avoid the steep, narrow, winding road between Tapu Bay and Kaiteriteri.

As gentle as Easy Rider is, however, it is still outside of the Grade 2 parameters that apply to the GTT.
This means that we need to go over the entire length of the track widening, smoothing and, to some extent, leveling it to meet the requisite standard.
And, as the 'new' Easy Rider will extend right through to the Park entrance off Martin Farm Rd, it means Salivater will be subsumed into the cycleway route.

Digger operator Karl Thompson and I recently made a start on the project,. We decided to tackle the biggest challenge first - upgrading Salivater.

There is a sense of irony about the complete remodeling Salivater has undergone. Jonathan Kennett surveyed this track, our first, back in September 2008, using a clinometer and piece of string to good effect. In September 2012, I walked the same track with Jonathan, taking mental notes as he pointed out where  gradients were too steep and switchbacks too tight for Grade 2 trail. If only we'd known at the time  :P

So we say goodbye to Salivater (left) and welcome the first stage in the upgrade project (right).
And, yes, they are the same section of track...

But the above is minor compared to the eight(!) new switchbacks that have been sculptured by Karl and Mighty Mouse the digger (somehow its first name stuck).
They finished their artistry on Monday and, in our haste to get the track (re)opened as soon as possible, Matt McCann and I set to with rake and compactor.

Here, Matt puts the finishing touches on the swooping new intersection that connects with the short section of  original track remaining to link you to the rest of the Park's network.

In fact, Matt  - who part-times at Stewarts Cycles in Nelson - pushed and pulled the compactor over the whole length of track in some of the hottest days we've had so far - so buy him an ice-cream if you see him on the beach this summer.

The berms are still a bit soft so go easy until they've had a chance to settle...

Then it was down to the bottom to take down the tape and open the track for business!

Arriving on the scene were Marushka and Pete Lucas, over from Golden Bay.
They were the perfect couple to 'test ride' the entry switches and gracious enough to let me snap a pic in the process.

I've no idea whether or not they intend to ride the rest of the Great Taste Trail but they can certainly lay claim to be the first to ride part of it from Kaiteriteri :-)

We're taking a break over the busy Summer period but are looking forward to carrying on with the rest of Easy Rider's upgrade in the new year. It's scheduled for completion by July 2013 but don't be surprised if we beat that deadline - we've got too many other other projects in mind to let it take that long.

Coming up... our new Park map!

Tuesday, December 4

Building a track

We had the unique experience recently of completing a new track in just two Sunday morning working bees.
To be fair, all it involved was clearing regrowth from an old road that belonged to the time when the Reserve was a forestry block. We've come across a few of these on our track surveying missions - bush-bashing our way through thickets of broadleaf, tree ferns & kanuka to suddenly find ourselves on a wide bench - but never have they suited our purposes as well as our latest discovery.
In fact, it was along the exact route where we had discussed the need for a track!

We wanted an easier option to link Tank with Swish, bypassing the steep, rutted climb to the water tank that gives Tank its name.
We also wanted to provide a safe way for people to get from Swish to Tank, rather than climbing the steep, blind corner with the ever-present risk of meeting someone bombing down from the water tank at 30-40 kph.
And here it was, just waiting to be rediscovered...

During these working bees, I reflected on the different roles that individuals adopt in building a track.

Out front, you've got the pioneers.

They're keen to see what's coming up, what challenges or surprises they may find, what the lie of the land is.

They don't mind getting scratched or pricked - even the possibility of wasp nests doesn't hold them back.

Michael Moss, Steve Fry & Mike Nelson led the charge on this w/bee, hacking and sawing their way through undergrowth and fallen kanuka so that a route emerged for others to follow...

In their wake came 'the grubbers' - guys like Bill Hollick (and many others out of shot) who hack out the bench with mattocks/grubbers and give the track its riding line.

Sometimes you can get whole lines of these tireless workers, swinging their grubbers in a kind of graceful harmony.
You might expect that to be accompanied by some mournful, chain-gang, chant but they're too busy chatting and catching-up with each other's news for that.

Few things make a more satisfying sight for a track-builder than seeing rideable trail emerge before your eyes.

And no more satisfying feeling than counting off the completed metres at the end of the morning. At least, until you get to ride it..

Bringing up the rear are 'the finishers' - those happiest with a spade or rake.
We dub them our Ministry of Fun. Their task is to identify potential features in advance and make sure that they are left for them to craft into rollers, steps, jumps or tabletops.

We generally leave a few tools by the track for the first week or two because these are the ones most likely to return after a few test rides to make sure it's jumping, pumping and flowing as it should.

Here Jay Nelson, Tom Filmer and Thomas Williams finish some final grooming on a tabletop, watched on by Bill and Quinne Weber.

So, all integral elements of a good track-building crew, complementing and complimenting each other's efforts in bringing a new track to life :-)

And, as is so often the case at Kaiteriteri, no sooner have we put the finishing touches on a track than the first rider comes exploring...

Jill Clendon had read about the w/bee on our facebook page and thought she'd check out our progress.

Her timing couldn't have been more perfect!
We were all standing round admiring our handiwork when Jill came swooping round the corner, grinning from ear to ear.

There's nothing volunteers love more than hearing appreciation for our efforts and Jill was generous with hers. Being a good sport, she even agreed to 'test-ride' the tabletop for us.
I'm sure next time you're back, Jill, you'll be getting air off it !

And what are we calling this short and sweet addition to the Park network..?


In other news...
Some of you may have noticed that we've begun the upgrade to Salivater to bring it within grade for the cycleway to Kaiteriteri. This involves a complete remodelling of this track so it will be closed for the duration of the work. Please refrain from riding it while the tape is up.
In the meantime, use Half-Pipe to connect with the main network and be aware of those coming up if you're going down.

Sunday, November 25

Cruise Control

Well, it's been a long time between drinks for the website blog!

A few reasons for this: our facebook page ( is doing a great job of getting trail news out as it's happening, a wet winter frustrated our building programme and... I absconded to Europe for another long cycle tour :-)

Still, things never stand still and, in my absence, the rest of the committee pulled off a very successful Family Adventure Race as part of the Nelson CycleFest (pics on fb), completed a new exit to Remedy, that now aligns with Shady Lady, and undertook various maintenance tasks around the Park to keep the tracks open and humming.

Alongside this, once things dried out a bit, Karl got back on our digger to groom up this year's big  project, the 1.8km Cruise Control!

With the amount of traffic it had already had, plus the speed with which the clay turned from mud to rock once it finally stopped raining, Karl wasn't quite able to bring up as smooth a surface as we generally aim for.
But that will happen soon enough... a couple of days of rain and that ride line will be sweet.

This new track offers an alternative - and easier - way to get to the Kimi Ora hub. It bypasses Sidewinder & Swamp Monster, both of which will be upgraded to Intermediate. If you're a beginner or have little ones in tow, this is the way to go.

We also welcome Golden Bay Fruit on board as Cruise Control's sponsor and their logo will soon be affixed to the marker posts. Track sponsorship is a significant source of income for us in developing the Park. It helps us buy and maintain our track-building tools and machinery, purchase materials & fuel, print maps and covers a host of other expenses. If your business might be interested in sponsoring a track at the Park for 2 years, send us an email at

The other way people show their support is via donations. The metal donation box at the entrance is always well-used, especially over Summer when many visitors like to show their appreciation for the efforts of local volunteers.

But not everyone goes pedalling with their wallet so we've added a QR graphic for those with smart phones who are also smart enough to have downloaded a (free) QR reader app.

Simply scan the image and it will take you straight to our PayPal account. Tap in the amount of your donation and 'presto' - your karma balance is immediately topped up!

There are others who use the PayPal link on the sidebar to convey their monetary thanks. Significant donations are individually acknowledged under the Supporters tab on our Homepage.

Finally, for now, an example of what our Park might be able to offer some time in the future out of these donated funds.

I came across this on an Austrian cycleway. As well as all the tools you'd need for basic maintenance, a workstand and foot pump, it also had an inner tube dispensing machine for 12 different tyre sizes!

Plus!!! It was located next to a bar where you could ask the fraulein to bring you a stein while you worked (or didn't :-) .

Coming up: what generated our biggest working bee turnout all year...?

Wednesday, August 29

The story so far...

Four years ago, the bush-clad slopes behind Kaiteriteri beach were largely unused.

A few local walkers, runners and mountain bikers accessed the firebreaks but even some of these were being rapidly overgrown by gorse. The only visitors who ventured off the firebreaks were those engaged in less legal activities, at least until the police starting using aerial thermal imaging...

In the summer of 2008, a Concept Plan was commissioned of the Kennett Bros. by the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board (KRRB). While it identified potential for a mountain bike park, it also acknowledged the challenge the steep terrain presented. It was possible, they said, but it wouldn't be easy.

Their report was presented to, and approved by, the KRRB in September 2008. A purposefully-designed MTB Park was still a fairly radical concept for the Board at the time, whose focus was largely centred around its twin roles as a beach holiday destination and a jumping-off point for the Abel Tasman NP. A few holidaymakers would arrive in the camp from Christchurch every summer with bikes on the back but their choices of places to ride was pretty limited.

So it was no small leap of faith by the KRRB to embrace the vision of a family-centred mountain bike park and throw their support behind it.

The original proposal outlined a 3 year, 3 stage development programme that would see the creation of a pump track and two track circuits (easy & intermediate) that traversed the lower slopes of the Park. These tracks were all in place by the end of 2011.
But it seems we had awakened a sleeping tiger.  Like cars on motorways, it seemed the more tracks we built, the more people arrived to ride them. It quickly became apparent we needed to expand the trail network.
This mushrooming interest in mountain biking had not gone unnoticed by the KRRB. Now there was barely a car in the beach carpark without bikes on the back. Increasingly popular with mums and/or dads with their kids, many regularly travelling from Nelson, the Park fulfilled the Board's mandate of investing in family-oriented activities.

In early 2012, they asked the management team, Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park Inc. (KMBP), to provide another 3 Year Plan. This Plan outlined how the KMBP envisioned track development, along with other Park enhancements, through to 2015.
A pdf copy of the report is available by emailing

Building tracks at Kaiteriteri is expensive. Steep slopes mean slow progress, and tracks (e.g. Corkscrew) that demand multiple switchbacks slow it even more. In budgeting for the proposed programme, the KMBP recommended that the purchase of a mini-excavator could provide savings over hire options. The further the network extended from easy-access points also increased the case for a 'digger' that could remain on-site when bad weather forced stoppages.

Just as they did in 2008, the Board again recognised the value of investing in the Park. Not only did they approve the 3 Yr Plan with its $60,000 track building estimate, they also agreed to fund the purchase of a 2nd-hand excavator.

All of us involved in developing Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park know how fortunate we are to have the KRRB as project backers. The vision they shared with a few enthusiastic mountain bikers back in 2008 is now a reality - and we haven't stopped yet!

To help acknowledge their role, we've recently added them as Foundation Sponsors to our website.
Clicking the link in the sidebar will take you to a profile of their involvement. They're a modest bunch so I've yet to score a group photo.
In the meantime, we're using their logo which, in turn, takes you to the website that outlines all of the Kaiteriteri-based activities they're engaged in.

Our other Foundation Sponsor is Andrew Spittal, via his Family Trust. Andrew came on-board right at the early stages and remains a huge asset to the Park. You can read more of Andrew's contribution by using the sidebar link but I'm afraid clicking on his photo just gets you a larger version of it ;-)

Project Manager Guy Trainor receives the keys from Todd Blackwood (R)
As soon as Andrew heard that we were on the look-out for a 2nd-hand 1.5t excavator in good condition, he started asking around his mtb riding buddies, many of whom are in the construction industry.

One of these is Todd Blackwood, Sales rep. for Cable Price in Richmond.
A keen mtber and 'trail pixie' himself, Todd knew of a trade-in that would tick our boxes (zero-tail swing, retractable tracks, safety features) and arranged to have it transported up from Invercargill.

Once in the workshop, his team gave it a good going over to make sure it was thoroughly up-to-scratch before handing over the keys. They even fitted it up with a tilt-swing bucket the Board had agreed to additionally purchase.

Needless to say, we're totally wrapped with our latest acquisition!
It was immediately put into service benching our current project, Cruise Control (you can see it in action last week on our facebook page).
You'll be able to admire its work (at the hands of operator Karl Thompson) once we've completed the grooming of the track in a fortnight's time - weather-permitting!

We see it as the start of a long and productive relationship...

Tuesday, August 7

Those that Do...

Over recent weeks I've been on the verge of a rant about 'track consumerism' - the attitude where riders expect to be able to use tracks without any sense of giving back. I suspect this is a growing trend, fed by the emergence of so many new mtb parks & trail centres on public land, and certainly not restricted to Kaiteriteri.
We build tracks, encourage people to come and use them, and then moan when we're faced with the burden of track maintenance. You could say, "It's your own fault!"

But focussing on those that don't is a depressing train of thought - far better to focus on those that DO.

We have quite a small pool of mountain bikers to draw from in Tasman, especially within a half-hour commute to Kaiteriteri. What's been amazing is that, since our first gatherings in late 2008, we've kept a core group of people who remain absolutely committed to the venture.

These individuals largely constitute our current committee. You can see who they are via the About Us link on the menu bar but, if you wanted to meet them, our Sunday morning working bees are the best place.

They each have donated hundreds of hours to the Park, be it in track-building, track maintenance or in numerous other committee tasks & functions. It takes a lot to develop and run a MTB Park and without these guys, it would grind to a halt.

But as generous with their personal time as the committee is, even they would burn-out without the contributions from our wider pool of volunteers. So far this year, 30 people have turned up for one of our w/bees. Of these, four have attended 10+ and another seven 4+. But even those who have only managed 2-3 are doing their bit - giving back - and that helps keep the rest of us going.

We're in the process of reviewing our working bee format and hope to have some fresh ideas come out of it. If you have some suggestions, we'd love to hear them. But I suspect the bottom line will remain the same, the future of the Park will depend on how much support it gets from the local mountain biking community.

Website & Facebook
David Konecny is our Go to man for any website upgrades. David set up the original blogspot and has periodically tweaked it into how we want to use it. Recently we thought it was time for a refresh and we hope you agree it's looking better.

You'll see there are now social media buttons at the bottom of each post for you to share via email, twitter or facebook. We've also included a link to our new facebook page in the sidebar. This has been up & running for a couple of weeks now and being well liked! It will be the place to go to for the current news & photos and we hope you'll use it to give us feedback. David's also increased the size of video playback on our park tv, always a good place to visit if you're wanting an idea of what the Park offers.

Easy Rider
The Tasman District Council largely funded the construction of this easy-grade track to provide an off-route to Kaiteriteri, bypassing the steep and narrow, winding, coastal road.
It has now been selected to form the final stage in the regional cycleway network, the Tasman Great Taste Trail.

This necessitates a significant, but achievable, upgrade. The result will be a smooth, flowing trail suitable for all ages and offering some of the best views of Tapu Bay in the Park.

Cruise Control
Work on our latest, family-friendly, track came to a halt mid-July when Karl's digger broke a coupling (see previous post). Today our "new" digger arrived in Kaiteriteri and we'll be back into action tomorrow!
You'll hear more about our digger in our next blog but, meanwhile, you'll be able to follow our progress on facebook...

Sunday, July 15

Park Progress

There's been quite a lot happening in the Park lately - some obvious, some not so much.
We finally patched up one bit of track that had been in the 'hard basket' for over a year. In the end, it was a few 'hard baskets' that proved to be the solution!

Some time back, a stream alongside a section of Revelation started to scour out the bank just before the bridge crossing. The spiralling action of the stream during heavy downpours was undercutting the 1.5m high bank and we were in danger of losing the entire trackwidth.

Grib Buchanan brought some road building nous to the situation and suggested some gabion baskets. He & Bill Hollick duly installed them and organised the river-stone fill.
And that's where our little Muck Truck, here being operated by Greg Buckett, once again proved invaluable...

Once two tiers of baskets were filled, it was time for Karl Thompson and his digger 'Scoop' to backfill and cover them. We evened out the slope approaching the bridge and, in the process restored the track to it's original width.

So, now, not only is this section of track armoured against further erosion, it's also a lot safer.
Of course, now it's done, it's just one more bit of track you swoop over without a second's thought.
Unless, that is, you're the rider whose tyre tracks on the soft outside edge the following day suggest you got a closer look than intended!

From there, we took Scoop up to begin work benching our latest easy-grade track, Cruise Control.

This is the bypass to Sidewinder and Swamp Monster posted about earlier.

Some typically steep terrain meant slowish progress until we emerged from The Gulch (you'll see what I mean when you ride it). A short traverse above Easy Rider brought us to a point where we switched back and slightly angled up to cross Connector.

We made some progress on the other side of Connector before a snapped bucket hitch meant Scoop had carved his last bucket of soil out of the flanks of Kaiteriteri's hillsides. Expertly operated by Karl, he's benched a lot of track at the MTB Park and has fully earned his (semi) retirement turning over the garden soil at his home in Golden Bay.

It's not all doom & gloom, however, as we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of our "new" 1.5t mini-excavator in the next week or two.

Meanwhile, the section of Cruise Control that's been benched remains in a 'rough but rideable' state (although I'd avoid it in the wet for your bike's sake). For now, the recommended route, suited for intermediate riders, would be down Bay View onto Connector and then right onto the new track, which will take you back to the Sidewinder/Half-Pipe hub.
We expect to complete the benching & grooming of Cruise Control by the end of August.

Three recent working bees have been busy on the top section of Velocity. An upgraded 'granny' line and an alternative line to the mega-rut should make it a little less daunting to advanced-grade riders.
It's still steep, and ensuring enough traction to keep the speed down is always going to make it interesting, but it's alot more fun than skidding your way down a chute for several metres. And once you pass 'Big Pine', it's as eye-watering as ever!

Coming up : a predator control programme for the Park, our next hand-bench project, an upgrade for Easy Rider and... we join Facebook!

Thursday, June 21

Mid-Winter Breakout pix'n'vid

The sun never quite managed to 'breakout' on Sunday but, when the forecast rain arrived just as the spot prize-giving concluded, we all felt as though we'd dodged a bullet!
The region has subsequently had a good lashing but what do we care... having collectively clocked up 12,000 kilometres over 6 hours, some of us have earned a little time off the saddle...

Here are some pics from the day, snapped by swampthing & Oliver Weber. Ask us real nice-like and copies can be arranged. If anybody else has some good pics to share, send them in.

Rex Smith studies the course map tries to figure out how to put the armband on...

while Mike Kirkwood flies past on his hand-built carbon frame.

I'm not sure if either of these is real hair and I wasn't about to attempt a scalping to find out.


The young guns made up the bulk of the pointy end but it was seasoned veteran, Dean Fulton, who pulled out the fasted lap of the day, a full 1sec. ahead of Tom Filmer.

After the congestion of the first lap on the road section, the field quickly spread out.

The width of the MTB Park tracks & firebreaks meant passing was never an issue, especially with the great attitude that riders came with.

The mtb unicyclists - munis - had their own circuit: a little bit shorter but, using Swamp Monster and Sidewinder, a helluva lot harder!

Mike Padial (in front) racked up 11 laps in 5hrs38mins.

But it was the old master, Julian Daley, who piped him with 12 laps, cycling non-stop for 5hrs50mins.!

It was great to have a good choice of food available on the day, as well. Hot soup, mmmmmm...

And the odd banana never goes astray.

Insider tip for anyone feeling the chills next year:

That gorilla suit is the toastiest place to be!


The under-over bridge was back. After the bottleneck of the first lap, it always added an extra element of fun - especially when it signalled your lap was nearly  finished :P

So, all-in-all, a pretty good day that the Nelson MTB Club and the Park management team can feel well-pleased with.

Numbers nearly doubled from last year. At this rate, we may have to start looking at a cap in the near future.
Best start thinking about your team now.

And to wrap it up, here's a short video focusing on a little of the action...

Monday, June 4

Sharing the love...

The entries are pouring in for the 6 Hour and we're expecting a big turn out.

Fortunately our decision to move the Tent City anticipated this so we'll be able to accommodate everyone on the day.

With access to the Bethany Park ablution block, those coming from Nelson, Marlborough and Golden Bay will be able to set up their tent the night before - and join in on the Saturday Social Night Ride!
Just make sure you let Craig know (021 728 793) if you want to join us at the Shoreline Cafe afterwards.

For those still mulling over their teams, entries close on June 10.  

We've been wrapped to welcome Andy Lowe of award-winning Image Creators on board as a Park sponsor.
Andy has prepared us a couple of event signs which you'll spot driving around Motueka. Locals may even recognise the rider...

Although the emphasis is firmly on the recreational side of the event, that's not to say there won't be some bragging rights up for grabs on the day.

A Nelson muni-cyclist has definitely upped the ante by creating a unique bit of bike-sculpture for a prize.

Marty Richards didn't exactly reveal how you win it - most laps? most blood? - but it's bound to be a treasured piece of art by whoever rides away with it.

The Park isn't just popular with bikers, though.

Right at the start we made a decision to make the Park open to all, including those that like to run or walk the tracks, whether locals - some of whom have been using the old firebreaks for decades - or visitors keen to explore the forest on foot.
This is a win-win. Many of them keep the trails clean of pinecones & minor windfall for us bikers and, in return, we get to show them what considerate people mtbers are ;-)

Occasionally, the Motueka Over-50's walking group visit the Park, always a mid-week day sometime in winter when there's less likely to be a lot of bike traffic. Two local women bikers recently met them while riding up Corkscrew. They were accorded a guard-of-honour by the group, who lined each side of the track and applauded them as they rode past.
A 'royal wave' seemed the only fitting response, I'm told.
What they didn't realise is that was just half the group - the total of 72 had split into two earlier on!
When I came along, an hour or two later, I met them just emerging from Corkscrew. Happy for a breather, I ceded the track and basked in the glow of praise for the Park and appreciativeness for our open-access policy as the long procession passed.
I happily share that with my fellow volunteers here...

Andy's been busy with another sign for us, as well.
We're pleased to welcome Coppins Cycles & Specialised as joint sponsors of our Pump Track.

This gave us an opportunity to provide some basic tips on how to ride the track (along with a couple of no-no's ;-)
Again, spot the local rider (and thanks to Oliver Weber for both pics).

While erecting the sign last Sunday morning, the track was in constant use by family groups: parents watching or doing a few warm-up pumps while their children (some as young as 5) pedaled their way around.

Many had travelled from Nelson just to find somewhere fun for their kids to ride...

Finally, a friend forwarded this link to a vimeo clip offering cornering tips. There's a lot of excellent advice out there on how to do this or that on your bike. I liked the couple of simple tips this video offered and am finding Corkscrew's 60+ corners the perfect track on which to practise. Women can improvise with their own "four-eyes" version of looking round the corner...

Wednesday, May 23

Kaiteriteri 6Hr 2012

As the shortest day comes round again, it's time to start getting your team together for the Mid-Winter Breakout!
After the success of last year's inaugural 6 Hr, the Mountain Bike Park is again playing host to the region's most popular recreational mtb event on June 17.
Because we're anticipating even greater numbers this time, we've shifted the tent city to Bethany Park, adjacent to the MTB Park at the end of Martin Farm Rd.

Solo or teams of 2-4, tandems and even a unicycle class - everyone is catered for.

Imagination in devising your riding kit is rewarded over how fast your lap time is so, whether you're biking mates, a family or a corporate team, get your entry in and your creative juices flowing.

Entry forms are available from all of the local bike shops or you can enter on-line here:

There'll be spot prizes throughout the day, music & refreshments available. Last year's was great fun and this promises to be even better!

An added option this year is to join us for a Saturday Night Social Ride before Sunday's big event.

The Park is proving to be a busy place in the evenings.

One rider counted 43 others on a recent Thursday night outing with every track junction hub providing an opportunity to catch up and share stories with others who like it on the dark side.

For those travelling from afield for the event and keen to join us for the Saturday night ride, there are cabin & camping options at Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp
or you can set your tent up at Bethany Park, all ready for the morning.

The ride will start at 6pm from the beachfront and be followed by a Beer & Bite at the Shoreline Cafe & Restaurant afterwards.

You'll need to let Craig Skillicorn know at  or  phone  him  on  035287120 / 021 728 8793 with your intention so he can advise the Cafe of numbers.

The region's growing band of unicyclists have made the Park a favourite destination. They recently made a video of themselves playing on some of the tracks & structures. I'm impressed with the gap jump!

A friend sent me this pic a couple of weeks ago.

It made me think of how, "in the old days" - when we sneakily built our tracks in nearby forestry blocks - such a thing could never happen within a 25yr logging er....cycle.

In this enlightened age of MTB Parks, however, where tracks are built to last, who knows what sort of tree art could evolve?

Bike Park sculpture could become a whole new medium. Ideas, anyone...?

Monday, April 30

Back on track...

Our working bees so far this year have been dominated by some of the 'less sexy' tasks.

Cutting back bracken & gorse, spraying re-growth and spreading gravel are never going to rate highly on a volunteer's list of Things to Do with My Sunday Mornings.
Still, someone's gotta do it so we owe a lot to those Park stalwarts who will regularly turn up, whatever needs doing.

Last Sunday, though, we finally got to turn our attention to some of that sexy stuff.

Our latest track, Corkscrew, has proven to be extremely popular. It was designed as an intermediate-level climbing track to access the top, ridge-line, expert-level tracks.
But what punters have discovered is that it's great fun to ride down as well!

Fortunately, the sight-lines are pretty good and there are only a few places where riders need to exercise caution to avoid a head-on collision. It's a credit to everyone that we haven't heard of any 'majors' yet...

But the committee has had to recognise that, until we build an intermediate-level, descending line from the top of the Park (timetabled for 2013), there are a few things we could do to make coming down Corkscrew a bit safer and a lot more fun!
We started with the uppermost switchback in the forest. Carved out of a steep slope, much of the excavated soil had disappeared down the side.
Still, it was perfectly ok for riding up.

Coming down was a different story.
The lack of a decent berm meant speed had to be throttled back and, for less-confident riders, the prospect of going over the lower edge was intimidating.

We began by armouring the outside edge with a combination of previously-felled kanuka and woven bags filled with excavated soil.

Then, as Rob de Leeuw is doing above, we covered the bags with more soil, carved from the upper sides to make more of a 'wall ride'.

Raking and compacting as we went, we soon had the semblance of a berm taking shape (it's more impressive than it looks here!).

With a surfeit of perfectionists on-board, we probably fussed over it a bit longer than was necessary- but that's what perfectionists do...

All that was needed was for our nominated test rider, Jay Nelson, to check it out.

From the speed he entered the switchback, I was thinking more "crash dummy" than "test rider" and expected to see him fly out over the lower berm, landing amidst the tangled debris and undergrowth below.

Instead, Jay gave us a demonstration on how to ride switchbacks without losing speed - in fact, I think he came out quicker than he went in...

Satisfied, we headed down to the next one.

This corner needed even more building up but, now experienced in the task, it took half the time.

Here, Grib Buchanan and Ross Savile tamp down the fresh berm before we let Jay loose on it once again...

Oliver Weber took several tracking photos of Jay railing the berms, mostly for studying technique afterwards, I suspect...
I think a few of us felt there was definitely scope for a switchback-riding workshop on Corkscrew sometime in the future (one for blokes, that is - see previous post).

Still, there are a few more to do yet. We're not saying all 62 switches* are going to get the same treatment - but that could depend on how many perfectionists turn up for the working bees...

Coming up: the 6Hr Mid-Winter Breakout! Start thinking about getting your team together.

*This is by no means a definitive count! Everyone's definition of a switchback will differ but we should all agree on somewhere between 50-70 :-)

Wednesday, April 18

Taking it to the hills

With the absence of any recent posts, you may think things have been quiet around the Park.

Not so! With the great Autumn weather, the tracks have been getting a lot of use. The daytime temps. are perfect for a fast blast and the nightriders are back in action.
If you'd like to meet up with a few of the latter, Thursday is the most popular night. Some ride from the Riwaka rugby grounds (and up the Marahau hill), leaving at 6.00pm, while others meet on the Kaiteriteri beachfront at 6.15pm.
All levels of fitness & ability are on show so you're bound to find somebody compatible to ride with.

Emma Bawtree is about to start up her Wheel Woman mtb coaching workshops in the Park again. As the name implies, these are for women only and she caters for beginner and intermediate riders. Check out the calendar for the w/shop dates or go to her new website for more info.

During March, I went on a two week road trip of Otago, sampling some of the best tracks the region has to offer.

This included 'mtb park' singletrack in Dunedin, Queenstown and Wanaka, as well as some forays into the North & Central Otago ranges - like here, at Duffers Saddle on the Nevis Rd, about to follow the 4WD route down through old gold mining digs back to Bannockburn.

Over this period, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I enjoy most about mountain biking...

Part of the reason behind the trip was to see what other track builders further South were up to. I've been increasingly reading & hearing about some great new tracks that have recently appeared. Tracks like Switchback in Dunedin, Hammy's in Queenstown and Deans Bank in Wanaka.
Complementing these are the superb 'little' mtb parks that have recently appeared or been upgraded.
Multiple circuits of the Redwoods Loop in Dunedin's Wakari Rd kept me happy when more established tracks were too wet to ride. 7 Mile on the shores of Lake Wakitipu had me returning the following morning for another helping of their smorgasbord selection of routes down from "The Eagle's Nest" high point.

What was common to all of these purpose-built tracks was the high quality of design and build. They flowed, they included fun features and various (usually optional) technical challenges like this log ride on the Redwood Loop.

Due to good design and, where necessary, liberal applications of gravel, they also had sustainable surfaces, extending the riding season into winter.

Another key element of the best parks was signage. Having a good map or mapboard is one thing. Relating it to what's on the trail is another if the track junctions aren't clearly signed. As a local, you know the best way to ride a circuit to get the best out of it. As a visitor, the same network can be confusing without a 'recommended circuit' or directional arrows. Hanmer Springs is another excellent example of where good signage has significantly improved the riding experience for the casual visitor.

At Kaiteriteri, we feel that we're doing a lot of things well. We're still relatively new on the scene and started from a fairly low 'knowledge base' in terms of creating a MTB Park from scratch.

Each year we've learnt new things and incorporated that experience into our development projects.

We put special emphasis on creating family-friendly trails, while also trying to accommodate as wide a range of riders as possible, including providing storage posts for unicycles...

But what excited me most about visiting these other centres was that there is still much we can do to improve on what we want to offer. And, now that our weekly working bees are cranking back into life, some of us can't wait to get started!

What I also came to appreciate from the hours I spent in these various mtb playgrounds was that they are ideal environments in which to increase your fitness and improve your riding skills. Unless you're in Q'town and catching the Skyline Gondola up to Bob's Peak for your downhill runs, they all involve a fair amount of climbing - and that's gotta be good f'ya!
And then, riding the same track several times does wonders for increasing your confidence. Each time you go a bit faster, maybe take a more adventurous line, maybe take on that log ride or table top. After a couple of hours you inevitable depart a better rider.

Which brings me to the other thing I spent time reflecting on. With that increasing fitness, skill and confidence, there is no shortage of places around our stunning country to take it!

I know that there are plenty of mtbers who already are on top of that one - and some excellent guide books to help the rest of us to get started - but too often we (well... I) settle for what's local & familiar.

The back country epics usually involve transport logistics, careful preparation, well-maintained bikes, good weather forecasts and, preferably, compatible riding companions. All reasons to go on deferring that trip you've talked about doing for months, if not years.

But, if you set your goal, ring-fence that w/end and commit yourself to it, those are the rides that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

And you'll remind yourself of what it is you love about mountain biking...

Sunday, March 4

Corkscrew Loop

By now we hope most of you have had a chance to ride up Corkscrew, take in the panoramic view from the skidsite and either head back down or continue along to the expert-grade spur-line tracks off the top ridge.

We're now pleased to be able to offer a third alternative: an advanced-grade downhill that drops you back to the skidsite.
It takes off from the junction of the 'skidsite road' and the top ridge road, by the pond. If you've come in from the top of the Riwaka-Sandy Bay Rd or The Big Loop, this is where you see the marker post pointing you left to Corkscrew.
This is the recommended route for intermediate-level riders.

Those heading towards Velocity, Flamin' Nora & Rockface, or just even more impressive views, continue along the main forest road to the right.
Those riders looking for a bit of downhill action before heading back down Corkscrew can now take a 'middle-road' option that climbs slightly, briefly levels off then plunges fairly steeply down a broad spur.

This had become densely over-grown with gorse in recent years and was further obstructed by a couple of bogs on the level section.

Back in December, Andrew Spittal had generously offered us a weekend and a Chings Contracting 5 tonne excavator to open this old track up again.

Bad weather lead to repeated cancellations but we were confident enough to include the track on our map that went to press early in the new year.

On the last weekend in February things fell into place and Andrew was in action.
By midday on Sunday we had another 500-600m of track :)
It has a number of water bars to shed water from the erosive Kaiteriteri granite soils so there's potential to have a bit of fun on the way down. We'll do a bit of 'sculpturing' to enhance the experience so, if you think it's likely to be your thing, make sure you're on our mailing list for that working bee...

These will be starting up again this month and, with the growing numbers using the Park, we're looking forward to seeing a number of new faces.
Maintenance of the growing trail network is a necessary aspect of our work - less creative than building new track but every bit as important!
As Andrew & I were packing up, seventeen members of the Golden Bay MTB Club were celebrating their mastery of the Corkscrew switchbacks.

An impressive total of 41 members made a weekend out of exploring the Park, night riding, sea swims & shared meals.

It's obvious they have a lot of fun together and their blogspot (see sidebar) is regularly updated with their adventures.
Also having a lot of fun was Motueka GP Suzanne Viveen, negotiating the 'rata root' drop-off in Skullduggery's rimu gully.

Hand-benching this section of track was a highlight of last year's working bees. We're wondering what 2012 might have in store...

Finally, a reminder to all of the partial Park closure this w/e for the KBAR event.
Be aware that some competitors will be pre-racing the mtb route from 4.00pm on Friday.
Events on Saturday & Sunday mean the tracks are closed to the public 10.00am - 2.00pm.

If you're keen to ride, you can always enter!

Tuesday, February 21

KBAR coming up...

Yep, the 2012 Kaiteriteri Beach Adventure Race is locked in for March 10/11.

This is a multi-sport event that caters for all levels - from the country's elite athletes like last year's winners Richard Ussher & Fleur Latimer to rank amateurs out for a day's fun (me).

There's a whole range of categories to enter including kids, teams, single or multi-discipline.

A highlight of this year's MTB 20/40 kms loop will be the opportunity to ride down Corkscrew. While there might be the odd demented soul from last year that will miss the hair-raising, semi-skid/slide fest that Velocity turned into after a night's rain, I'm pretty sure most riders will much prefer this year's alternative.

It'll make for a more interesting race. The climbers will be able to stretch the gap on the grind up to the top ridge while those with better riding technique will be able to haul them in on the long, switchbacking descent. Unless you're a champion at both...

Check out the mtb course options here:

Meanwhile, the rest of the Park is still busy.

After coming across this group of Nelson riders for the third time in different parts of the Park, I felt a photo was overdue...

Andrew Meffan from Nelson now has even more reason to make use of his Kaiteriteri holiday home. I've spotted him a few times shepherding young ones along Easy Rider.

Daughter Iris is especially proud of her very blingy new bike - complete with recommended bell!

This lad, one of a group from Mapua, shows how to bunny-hop the gap jump.
Teens like these are crying out for more challenges on which to test themselves. If anyone has some simple ideas on how to enhance our Skills Area, we're all ears!

Recent arrival to Motueka from the Netherlands, Michiel Overweel, thought he may have died and arrived in mountain bike heaven after his first Park circuit.

'Though a keen mtber, they don't really do hills in Holland so, esp. after a long lay-off, his face was doing a good colour match with his shirt by the top of Swamp Monster.

Not deterred, two days later he was cresting Corkscrew.

The thing I love about mountain biking is that it's such a social sport. It's as much about the company you ride with as how fast or skillfully you can handle the trails.

The BBs and the BBs from Nelson seem a perfect example of this. Despite a little initial hesitation, especially after I said they would be appearing on our website, they gave up their acronym.
Meet... The Blistering Bollocks and Bouncy Bits!

The Park clearly offers something for mountain biking families that was previously lacking in the region.
I love coming across parents getting their kids into the sport, gently coaxing them through the more challenging bits, prepared to let them have a spill or two in the process of developing their skills.

The Hampden Street Hammerers (from the primary school in Nelson) were giving the pump track a good hammering when I chanced along. Only a couple could be persuaded to pause long enough for a photo with their minders before heading off up Salivater.

Our Park map currently shows two downhill lines (in black) as part of possible Corkscrew loops. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to complete these last year so our apologies to those who have gone looking for them.
The good news is that Andrew Spittal has managed to free up a weekend to bring over a Chings digger. If the weather holds true to forecast, we'll be working on opening up the overgrown firebreak from the top intersection. We'll let you know as soon as it's rideable.

The other line is to be a hand-benched track with much of the route clearing already done. It will be one of our first projects on the resumption of w/bees in March. If you live locally and would like to get involved, send an email to