An organised ride in the hinterland was part of Barry’s birthday bash activity and it was anticipated to take 4-6 hours to ride the 35 odd kilometres.
“If you only have the chance to do one adventure ride this year, this is the North Island’s best.”
This was the quote by Jonathan Kennett on the Mangapurua Track / Bridge to Nowhere brochure. It’s all I heard listening to the safety brief after we boarded the bus. All hands went up when the question was asked, “is there anyone here wanting to be resuscitated?”
The previous days rain made for a muddy track. Dodging mud puddles was administered after a fellow biker in the group rode into one and nearly arsed over the top of the handle bars because is was a deeper shallow. It was funny to watch, there was abuse and certainly laughter. Taking turns at the front was with caution!
The incline up had views of awe across the crinkled landscape horizon; stops to scrap off the caked on mud around the chain and gearing were frequent or the momentum came to a complete halt; and one had to stay alert on the technical downhill gradients given the conditions.
Confidence grew the longer we stayed upright.
Returning soldiers from WWI were given parcels of land in appreciation for their duty to King and Country however, the land for conversion into farms was just untenable because of it’s ruggedness and isolation. A monument dedicated to the poor buggers and signposted sites of their abandoned farms with the names of the original settlers is all that remains of their presence that shouldered the track ridden.
The drop off cliffs where we had to disembark the mountain bike to navigate the track on foot made for the adrenalin to pump. The hillsides swarming with punga ferns giving birth to new fronds made for beauty at it’s best. The ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ itself quite aptly appeared out of nowhere.
A little further rotation of the pedals and we arrived at Mangapurua Landing. We caught a jet boat that transported us and chariots down the Whanganui River back to Pipiriki.
Definitely a mountain bike ride to put on your bucket list and if you get the chance, be resuscitated to tick off.