We all have our reasons for heading out into the wild green yonder. Whatever your preferred form of transport, be it a bike, kayak, boat, or simply a pair of shoes, we’re all looking to get out there just to get away from the daily grind. To charge up the batteries if you will.
Some like to bash down the same track all weekend simply so they can do it perfectly and with their eyes closed. Grabbing maximum berm on this corner or hitting that transition at just the right angle in order to line up for the next obstacle. The results of their efforts can be seen every year at Crankworx where keen (some may read insane) riders test their skills in the most outrageous antics.
From a bike touring angle, there are as many reasons as there are people riding. An increasing number of adventurers forgo their warm beds and partners and head for the hills on racked and packed steeds to spend a night under the stars. Brevet rides are popping up all over our country with riders doing crazy distances with a minuscule amount of gear just enough to ensure they still have all their fingers and toes after a cold night under the stars so they can do it all over again the following day. Ride, eat, sleep & repeat… crazy!
Then there are the adventurous among us who simply see a bike as the ideal piece of kit for the task at hand. Like that contoured blip on the topo that’s been staring back at you for so long it’s now time to see what the view from there is really like. The backpacker will undoubtedly drive to a point somewhere in the vicinity of said goal, strap a loaded pack on their back and head off. A bike, on the other hand, has the opportunity to take the car out of the equation entirely, not to mention strapping all your gear to a frame with wheels instead of hanging it from your shoulder blades. Very much like the Geyserland Gravel Grind I attended a few weeks ago.
‘Gravel is a metaphor for finding those nuggets which are hidden from most as they pass by, going too fast to stop’.
Since living in Rotorua, a ride to the coast and a circumnavigation of Mt Edgecombe and Mt Tarawera has always been on the list of adventures. The ‘Triple G’ would tick those off in one grinding swoop and have the enjoyment and the company of a bunch of like-minded nutters along for the bargain. Mastermind Erik planned a ride with gravel as the main attraction. Dotted with plenty of stops to appreciate the fact that we live in a damn fine place. All that gravel topped off with a night at the Waikite Valley hoypools for our efforts at the end of the second day, and you get a formula that is achievable to just about anyone.
Looking back, there were some stunning moments on the Triple G. Like seeing the ocean for the first time when we crossed the ridge on Pikowai Rd, or seeing the steam from Waikite Valley hotpools as we blasted down the hill at 70 clicks on our loaded rigs. But for me, the highlight was making a brew on the shores of Lake Ohakuri and watching the wildlife on a stunning spring morning. Gravel is a metaphor for finding those nuggets, which are hidden from most as they pass by, going too fast to stop. You don’t have to go far to slow down and soak it all in!