Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Moonshine Trail ride

 As mentioned in the last blog, my Sunday ride last weekend was another outing for the RMX on the Moonshine Trail ride somewhere up the Moonshine Valley near Wellington.  And it was quite the outing...

It started, of course, with a ute ride down to Wellington and a snaking ride up a very narrow road to the Kapi-Mana motocross track.

Once parked up I unloaded the bike and wandered off to get registered.  Scarily, after handing over my entry fee, I was handed a number!  What exactly had I got myself in for?

Anyway, eventually the time came for the briefing and the ride start.  I tend to try to let the guns tear into before trundling off myself but this time I was probably away a bit sooner and straight into a reasonably steep climb a narrow little trail.  BTW: don't trust the speeds on the videos/snaps - the camera lies like a politician and then stops even pretending to care - like a politician...

This little track then took us out onto a nice little gravel road that took us along the top of the ridge.  There were plenty of decent views to be had but I was enjoying the ride and didn't stop for any pictures.


The next sections took us in and out of the bush and then down a very steep and rocky section into a creek which became the track for a short distance.  Some of the downhills seemed to last for ever and were fairly punishing on this old bloke.  In the video (end of post) you can hear the bike puttering down in second gear along with the brakes getting a serious workout - the video doesn't really capture the steepness adequately.

From here on we were into the pine forest quite a bit, but still with the odd bit of gravel road and even grass tracks.  And then I wandered off the C grade track and found myself on the A & B loop...

Just the odd tree...

It was in this tougher stuff that I definitely struggled a bit.  The bike could definitely handle it and it was great when I could keep up momentum and bounce my way up some fairly tricky stuff.  But once I lost momentum or worse, stopped then I struggled and my lack of fitness would make its presence felt.  Twice I needed a hand up a particularly nasty bit while I caught my breath and then I would be away again and ok until things caught up with me again.

My next little adventure came about when following a fairly overgrown trail.

Rounding a corner I spotted a couple of smaller branches across the road.  No problem, I thought, they're only small, we'll sail right over them...Unfortunately they were fairly wet and green and obviously slippery and I was given a lesson in face-planting...

Yeah, it was actually quite funny and I felt a lot better when the next guy had the same (although not as spectacular) problem.  In fact, talking to some guys who helped me in some snotty bits, I was definitely not alone in coming a cropper there.

The next (bigger) tree was a doddle in comparison.

The next challenge was at the bottom of a hill (and just before an immensely challenging climb where I also needed help) and it was in the form of a bog which just sucked me in.

Looks pretty tame eh?

450 a little hot under the collar

Yes, it took two of us to lift it out of the hole the bike dug itself so that I could push it out with it in first gear.  Hot work.  And the battery in the camera died so there's no more pics/video.

And then I hit that hill which stopped me for a while.  Luckily, my new mates helped me up the section (one of the guys rode the bike up the worst bit while I attempted to catch my breath).

After that I had no more issues.  The last bit of that hill climb was still reasonably gnarly but after catching my breath I just attacked it hard in second gear and scrambled up and out onto the gravel road for the trip back to the car park.

But the organisers were not finished with us.  Every now and again the road would be roped off and we'd be directed over a bank to perform some more tricky riding on steep and overgrown little tracks before looping back onto nice gravel.  Weren't they nice...

My entire ride probably was somewhere near 2 and a half hours and the odo on the bike (not sure how accurate it is) read something like 28km.  Great average speed eh?

Bike went well, bark buster does need some realigning...

Anyway, overall I enjoyed the ride except for some of those disappointing bits where I needed help or struggled with fitness and it was good to try some tougher bits.  I have to say I'm not a fan of pine tree roots on clay hills - just a nasty combination.

I could have gone out for another loop (and a couple of my helpers invited me to join them) but I was fairly worked out and my shoulders were already giving me a bit of grief - too soft!  Still loving the yellow bike and getting back into trail riding - it's got to be good for you!

I think some super glue might sort this

Up and down, up and down...

Map is a bit funny as camera obviously lost GPS signal at times - there were no straight lines and I didn't hit 726km/h...

Oh, and here's more video if you are truly bored.  I think the video snips work better eh?


  1. Lol. That was like reading about my trail riding exploits 15 years ago! I "struggled" with fitness and thought "I am going to hurt myself because I lack the fitness to hold on properly all the time". This is where I started mtbing for fitness and the history.
    Mate, get a mtb, enjoy the pain (weakness leaving your body😆) and with your improved fitness you will love the dirt biking so much more!
    Also, beautiful looking country you have over there. When this Covid thing is just a bad memory I WILL be making an effort to visit NZ to mtb and moto much more regularly. Life is too short not to!

    1. Hey Dave, I've got a mountain bike. It's probably 25 years old and has slowed up quite a bit over the years...

      I looked at getting one last year but the 450 was cheaper and goes quite a bit better too.

      Let me know when you come over, be great to meet you. Bikes here in the shed...

    2. Thats the problem mate. The 450 goes a lot better.....but how much better will it go if you can hang on and go harder for longer? Braaap!
      Also, will do. 😉

    3. Set it up for endurance rides? Keep an eye on future posts...

  2. Excellent going Andrew and I should thank you for reminding me that a 73 year old body and an off-road bike probably aren't the wisest combination. I shall live vicariously through your exploits :-) .

    1. That wasn't my intention Geoff - pretty sure you need a dirt bike...

      You'd be surprised at how many mature chaps come along to trail rides...

  3. Impressive, most impressive. You fell off and I didn't hear any swearing. You have achieved the highest levels of bike riding....
    Yeah that loon is trying to get me into MTBing as well.

    1. I thought I did quite well too...

      Loons in all families eh?

  4. What a great ride. I have had very little dirt bike or trail riding experience, but it looks like you did great and I bet it was quite a workout.