Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ridge Road Recce

The weather was supposed to turn nasty today but after being cooped up inside at work all week I had to get out amongst it even if it meant catching a little moisture.  After walking the Bartman in the morning I sat down to work out where I wanted to go.  What I was after was gravel, good gravel...

After thinking about past rides and looking at maps on the computer I decided that I was going to head up the Pohangina Valley and ride the entire length of Ridge Road (BTW: GoogleMaps reckons this is impossible) and then loop back via Pohangina Valley West Road.

After topping up the DL with go juice I made my way out to Ashhurst and then to Pohangina township where I turned off to take in my first bit of gravel up Finnis Road.

It was a great little blast up the hill (careful not to scare the horse) and once you reach the top you can either carry on left on Finnis Road or veer right onto the start of Ridge Road - funnily enough I chose to go right.

And so began my little trip along Ridge Road.  The gravel was in great nick and pretty much had the road to myself apart from two other adv riders coming the other way at one stage and the odd person out walking their dog.  The scenery across the top of the "ridge" is fabulous as you get to look either side of the range and Pohangina Valley in particular is very scenic.

Ridge Road
Along the way there are a few turns that you have to make to keep on Ridge Road (one early on that isn't sign-posted) but eventually you reach the end of the road and can either ride into Apiti or take another right onto Makoura Road which crosses over to the Eastern side of Pohangina Valley.  I was heading back to Pohangina so I took the right turn again.

I've ridden Makoura Road a few times now and it's a great ride with some very fast gravel in places and a few other tighter, more tricky sections - it's great to have a bit of variety but I have to say I love being able to nail the big Vee and hook into the higher gears while on gravel.

Just after Makoura Lodge it was time to turn off Makoura Road and take Pohangina Valley West Road back to Pohangina and home.

More great gravel kept me concentrating all the way up the valley until a brief stop at the camping ground at Totara Reserve for a nosey.  I even got to ride on some sand!

Down by the river - mind the sand!
After my wee diversion a carried on to Pohangina - just one more short section of gravel and then I was back on the tar for the ride home.  On the way back I got a few light spits of rain and I was glad to make it home before quite a sudden downpour just 15 minutes after I'd parked the bike up - nice timing!

All in all a very nice little pootle of around 140km but a lot of great gravel!

A few more pics here.


  1. Excellent. About time I cam down and did a bit of exploring with you, i ahve a friend in feilding. MAybe labour weekend.

    1. Let me know Rog. I'm sure we can organise something...

  2. I am glad the weather cooperated because it looks like you had a great time. I bet you were glad you opted to ride and not believe the weatherman.

    I see one of the main benefits of the gravel adventures is the low to no traffic. Nice twisties and low traffic, that is a good combination.

    I can see you and Roger tearing it up out there. That would be a cool video too.

    Thanks for sharing, sure is pretty scenery.

  3. Awesome vids, Andrew! Looks like you have a knack for this (the gravel riding and the filming). Rogey and you should really get together for some adventure riding.

  4. You're really spoiled for excellent gravel riding in your area Andrew - excellent post!