Sunday, December 22, 2013

Riding the Ridges

This weekend was my last chance to get a decent gravel ride in for the year so I decided that it had better be a good one.  During the week I'd been thinking about it a bit but hadn't really come up with much of a plan except that I wanted to take in Ridge Road up the Pohangina Valley and into Apiti - from there I had more options but decided to make up the rest of the plan on the way.

So early this morning, after popping into work briefly, I hit the road heading for Pohangina.  I hit my first bit of gravel less than 10km from work on Watershed Road and began to slowly get into my gravel riding groove.

After taking in a few more great gravel roads I finally ended up on Ridge Road which as the name suggests runs along the top of a ridge giving great views that alternate between the Eastern (Pohangina Valley) and Western sides as the road snakes it's way Northwards towards Apiti.

Eventually I dropped down off the Ridge and into Apiti.  It was a good thing I didn't need fuel...

Next up I continued through towards Rangiwahia taking in Main South Road which sadly is just about all sealed now.  It's still quite a cool ride as you drop down into some nice little valleys and cross rivers a couple of times.

Instead of going into Rangiwahia I turned the other way and went in search of some roads I'd only done once with the BRR guys - Karewarewa and Auputa Roads.  This some great riding - starting off with a big gravel straight to unleash the Vee on before entering some more winding road through nice bush and past a small reserve.

And then my navigation failed me - I took a right instead of a left and ended up taking Upper Kawhatau and Rangitane Roads until I eventually came to a closed gate.  Luckily the riding had been great and it was just as good when ridden in the opposite direction.

Not a road

Collecting undergrowth
After retracing my steps I eventually found the turn-off I was after and took in Potaka and Omatane South Roads through towards Utiku.  More great riding and awesome scenery.

I eventually popped out on SH1 and made my way into Taihape for a lunch break that I'd been hanging out for and to top up the DL for the afternoon's adventure.

After lunch I headed North and then promptly took the wrong turn-off.  But this time it was a good mistake as I was still heading in the right direction and it meant that I would also get to take in another Ridge Road - along a completely different ridge.

Not quite on top of the ridge yet.
After dropping down Ridge Road I then sort of just followed my nose towards Papanui Junction.  But instead of heading directly over to Papanui Junction and onto Turakina Valley Road I carried on down Pohonui Road which eventually runs into Turakina Valley Road anyway.

It's one fabulous ride down the valley and although I had to avoid turkeys, sheep and a couple of cattle I really enjoyed it (again).

Eventually all the good gravel had to end but it did mean a nice quick ride on tarmac back to SH1  just South of Hunterville.  From there it was time to enter cruise mode and make for home.

I ended up doing approximately 300km in about five and a half hours (including stops) so a nice little outing to see out the old year.  Here's to more great gravel in 2014!

More pics here.


  1. Beautiful and primitive area that you explored. Looks like a great run!

  2. Great pictures of some very scenic riding areas.

    1. And there's a lot more like that Erik. You could spend days out the back of there.

  3. Little to no traffic - just one of the many perks to gravel riding.

    Sure looks like a great day out. Beautiful views from those ridge roads. Sunny skies overhead and picking of underbrush with the bike, perfect.

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday and a healthy happy 2014 to you and your family.

    1. Lovely day all right. Merry Xmas to you up in the cold North too!