It is Sunday afternoon and I am just home and about to hit the shower after a great afternoon mountain biking out the back of Greymouth. After a cloudy start to the morning, the sun joined us and it turned into a nice day. Headed out just after lunch with the usual suspects – myself, Craig and Chris and our faithful trail companions Nico and Ziggy. Start of the trail begins out at Camerons about 5kms south of Greymouth. Turning left off SH6 onto Bundy Road and about half way along where the road straightens there is a lay-by to park up with a steep gravel 4WD track immediately opposite. This is the start of the trail – steep loose gravel climb to warm you up and then a gradual incline along a gravel forestry road to the beginning of the single track. The single track meanders and inclines its way along the ridgeline meeting again, after a couple of kms with the forestry roads. Now we can put some pace on and spin out along the gravel road and enjoy the views of the snowed capped Southern Alps in the distance. Eventually we are climbing again so change down into a lower gear and grind up the hill. This is Chris’s foray – short sharp climbs he excels at with his huge calves pumping. Uphill is generally rewarded with downhill and this climb is no exception with a fun, sweeping descent to meet with more forestry roads. We come to a T intersection and for this ride we’re turning left and heading for one of the more fun options known locally as the “mud plug”. There has been much clearing of the forest in the last year, so mostly it is clear open spaces now giving uninterrupted views out across the valley. The forestry road gently winds down to the next intersection with “no-name” to the left and “mud plug” to the right.
Craig says “see you at the bottom” and he is off leaving a shower of rocks. I’m right behind him with Chris in tow. Ziggy finds this section a bit more difficult and hard on his paws and he gets left at the back of the pack but Nico is in his element bounding ahead to keep up with Craig when he can. The Mud Plug is awesome fun - fast and flowing with rocky shelves to jump off and the occasional small creek crossing that needs to be negotiated. We reach the bottom and Nico is straight into the creek for a drink while the humans replenish from our hydropaks. Chris hands out the airplanes and we all munch down on our muesli bars. Eventually Ziggy arrives a little exhausted and also heads straight for the creek for a refuel. We lean against our bikes and compare notes on the jumps we did and the lines we took while giving the dogs a chance to recover.
On this occasion we’re going in and out on the same track, which means we’ve got a hill climb ahead of us. We’re all refuelled and ready to go. Climbing back up has some technical parts to it and you have to keep your concentration and wits about you, picking the right line, ensuring you’re in the right gear. It is a rewarding challenge and eventually we all make it to the junction at the top. Heading back along the forestry roads to the single track we take a couple of little detours to explore some of the side tracks. Generally they don’t lead you far but there is plenty of scope for opening some more trails – something for us to think of for the future.
Back on the final forestry road heading for the Bundy single track and it is one last climb – back up the fast flowing downhill that was the way in. It doesn’t take too long to grind our way up – Chris again leading the way with a final burst of energy just before the top. Craig sneaks past to bomb the downhill section before we are all riding together again. It is a race to see who gets to lead the way on the singletrack. The only one not racing is Ziggy – he has had about enough. Nico takes the lead showing us how it is done with Craig in hot pursuit. I’m hot on his tail with Chris not far behind. The single track section of this ride heading out is fast and flowing and while un-demanding is sure to put a smile on your face at the end . The ride finally finishes with a fast blast back down the gravel 4WD road to our vehicle. The boys Nico and Ziggy happily climb into the back of the van and zonk out for the drive home. We load up the bikes giving the ground the quick once over to ensure we’re not leaving anything behind apart from some adrenalin and smiles of yet another great ride on a sunny West Coast afternoon.
Written by Stephen Roberts of Breakers, Nine Mile Creek, 14kms north of Greymouth. Stephen is a keen mountain biker and has been mountain biking for the last 25 years. He used to do quite a bit of road racing in Hokitika, Greymouth and Christchurch in his early 20s before moving into mountain biking more for fun and exercise. Stephen helps run Breakers Boutique Accommodation just north of Greymouth and you can check out their mountain biking page on their website for further information regarding mountain biking on the West Coast, click here or visit WestcoastNZ.com .