Brent & Claire Ruru

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts ... while the bodies still can and we still have our marbles!

Category: Mountain Biking (page 1 of 2)

1/9/19 The Blind Mosquito

When our biking buddy Maree asked if we would like a face mask to use when cycling the Little River Rail Trail from Motukarara to Little River, we thought she was taking the piss.

Often, we see Asian’s wearing them around the cities and wondered if it was because of bad acne. Or to reduce pollution inhalation.

Her warning that the flying bugs would be in hordes along the edges of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth warranted nostril and mouth entry points coverage. Otherwise, you ain’t gonna need carrot cake or a sausage roll reward from all the protein you would be sucking in.

Jeezus, she was bang on.

The black clouds swarming ahead were like those birds you see on National Geographic documentaries that twist and turn in dark shapes on a sunset evening in the sky. Except our clouds were just hovering from ground to three-five metres on the pathway we were riding along. And into.

By the zillions.

They are called the NZ Midge, or Lake Fly, or the Blind Mosquito because they look like a mossie, except they don’t bite … thankfully.

You felt them hit, they clung onto apparel, skin and hair and we have never in all our time that we have ridden bum on bike seat, ever encountered such an awe of protein like we did today.

The face mask worked … thankfully and we got to munch down cake and roll.

Before we had to repeat the experience to return the same way we had come!

The best of the worst now under out belt. And close to being in every orifice that wasn’t covered up!

16/3/19 We are family …

A message came through that our nephew had been out on his mountain bike for a blat – from his home, around Bottle Lake Plantation and return, a good 30 odd kms ridden.

We had never shared the landscape from a bike seat together so, it was an easy text inviting him to come join us on a little mountain bike ride we were planning on escaping to do.

Called ‘The Big River Hut’ trail, it’s hidden up the back drops of Reefton. We had partly explored it when we visited Reefton last November. Up as far as the accessible road went by car. Beyond that, it was 4 wheel drive terrain. Or mountain bike.

The events that unfolded on the day before with the loss of 50 innocent fellow beings was a numbing emotion. We had to ride out the lock down environment and, certainly contemplated not going.

But we did, driving out of a city hurting to arrive in Reefton after everyone had gone to bed. The first place to have electricity was ablaze with light. But eeriely slient.

Starting out, the cloud’s above wept.

Let’s just see how far we can get today. Out of Reefton, left onto Soldier Road, tar seal became gravel road, gradual incline, moisture under the rain jackets, passed the car park we had once before visited to explore another walking track, to then navigate and negotiate our rubber tyres on the lumpy and bumpy trail.

3 and a 1/2 hours later, we stopped to rest and feed proper, still having pushed the bodies … certainly the bikes, inland more. The weather was kind, then not, then kind again, then not. We had no idea how far off the Big River Hut was, and a wandering Weka came so close the see the hazel of it’s eyes, to inquire as to how we were doing to then wish us a ‘good day’ as we made the decision to back track out, the same way we had came.

Deagan down hills so to watch him jump and skid and echo the odd word of I think nearly crashing off, added the coolness of him being out in our environment on a non-powered machine. We had escaped, explored, enjoyed to escape the unfolding life we had left the night before.

Times like these are important to remember loved ones near and afar. Regardless the ethnicity, colour, religion, culture, values or beliefs … we can be just one happy family.

More significantly, spend some ‘presence’ time with them. Like we had, with our nephew.

Love to you all, where ever you are on the one planet we share.


24/2/19 Crunch … “Ops”

Biking the tar seal road from Little River up to the Hill Top has always teased us as something we should have a crack at doing.

It’s been the one obstacle to us cycling over to Akaroa and pitch the canvas for a night. Altitude and elevation conjure up grind and panting emotions. More so the latter as we mature towards senior citizenship.

Notwithstanding, we have mates who are our elk and have done it. So, yesterday we drove to Little River, parked up the car, donned on the vests and helmets and off we cycled – destination, the Hill Top.

We take turns at being out in front so when the words “Ops” was spoken from BClaire behind, I knew exactly what she had done.

Now, the road from one side to the other measures about 6-8 metres. A white line straddles each edge. We tend to ride on the right-hand side (on the left side of the road) of the white line to minimize riding over debris or crap between the white line and edge of the tar seal.

Road kill can be avoided. You see it coming and can manoeuvre around.

But the poor little innocent Cicada that decided to stop and park up on the right side of the white line to rest it’s sound of spousal song, just a defenceless critter minding its own business … well, that was the “Ops” spoken from BClaire behind.

Snuffing it. The crunch came before.

Apparently by accident. Apparently, she tried to avoid it and squashed it with her back wheel.

The Hill Top view was as close to heaven we got. Not so for the Cicada.

RIP little fella.

3/2/19 St James Mountain Bike Micro-Adventure

From the St James Homestead to Scotties Hut is approx. 17 kms one way, on the St James Cycle Trail.

Quite a baron part of the back bone alive with pink flowered thistles that buzzed with bumbles.

Not a bad little jaunt to a tin shed that sleeps four. Extremely hot conditions made for the plough through some streams refreshing on the return journey.

Oh, the decent down from Pete’s Pass can result in skidding with feet as second anchors! The climb back up in reverse can cause a sweat on the fore-head.

Some heavy breathing and the odd swear word when one starts to skid backwards too.

Worth a soak in the Hanmer Springs hot pools after.

Take soap.

2/2/19 The Green Kermit

Claire hydrating up before a little mountain bike ride in the morning. But first, an over nighter in the green kermit at Balmoral Recreation camp.

Lets hope the self inflates stay inflated and, there isn’t a bump in the night.

From falling pine cones above!

Happy Saturday evening peoples :0)

13/1/2019 Wilderness Trail – Hurunui Jacks to Lake Kaniere

No swimming!

It was a distinct notice on a Water Race that we rode up to on the Kaniere Water Race Walkway.

Except, we had mountain biked there.

Errrr, I had mistakenly taken Claire on what I thought was part of the Wilderness Trail and knew something was up when we entered the bush line after the Water Race and we had to manuver and walk the bikes! After some discussion, okay, debate type of arguement type of I cocked it up banter, we reversed out the way we went in – biking, walking and manuvering to return to where we had left the car.

It was a simple mistake not to see the sign for the Wildnerness Trail pointing in the direction of it being further up the road. The track we had encountered was an intermediate/advanced one.


I tried to make light of the situation to promote it being great training for the Ghost Trail Ride. To no avail, I was still a c..k.

We drove to Lake Kaniere and found the end of the ride we were supposed to do and thus, biked backwards to where our start should have been. To see the Water Race we rode up to earlier by mistake on the skyline kind of had a funny element to it. I thought so, eeeeeek!

The correct part of the Wilderness Trail ridden today is certainly an easy ride. You will not be disappointed with how the water actually flows up hill. It eventually arrives at a treatment plant to supply the awesome township of Hokitika.

The forest and fauna is magnificent and although you can’t swim in the water race itself, a dip in Lake Kaniere is allowed.

Cools off tempers … I mean temperatures after an enjoyable mountain bike blat!

10/1/2019 Roxburgh Gorge Trail – 42 kms

Rabbits breed like rabbits on the landscape ridden today.

The number of white arses that were spooked to scatter in all directions as we disturbed their morning ritual, possibly more breeding, was infinite!

However, one had to keep a sharp eye on the dirt infront as the bike chain was manuvered up and down the back wheel cogs – the Gorge Trail had the worst ascents and decents giving us the best view at altitude, and at the waters edge. Don’t be put off by the switch backs (zig zags) because they made the distance covered enjoyable and certainly a worthy and stunning micro-adventure to add to your ‘before I die’ list of things to tick off.

The Roxburgh dam was the first major dam and power station project in the South Island after the Second World War and started it’s generation of electricity to the grid during 1956.

There is a middle section part of the trail where you need to be transported by a jet boat due to a land owner refusing access. Once we reached the jetty from the dam end, we rode back to the car to drive to Alexandra, get back on the bikes to cycle in from the other end.


It was an easier 20 kms return to Doctors Point jetty. Hot, sweat and grime added feeling, smell and taste to the experience.

Riding the trail from the Alexandra end …
Doctors Point Jetty

Bikes back on the car and an ice cream reward before we headed towards the Alps to spend another night sleeping on the ground in the green Kermit, at Lake Hawea Holiday Park.

Towards Lake Hawea we drove.

A huge camping community where we witnessed kids riding without helmets, in bare feet, throwing out smiles of salutations to two total strangers … huh, something we used to see more of back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and late 90’s.

Different breed of rabbits nowadays!

9/1/2019 Millers Flat to Roxburgh Dam & Return – 58 kms

It was 19.4 kms to the township of Roxburgh. Deserved of a pie from Jimmy’s Pie Shop that is reknown for making pretty good pies. Weren’t bad neither – Claire consuming a lambshank one, me a mutton one.

That’s after we each ate a Mince and Cheese pastry one each beforehand!

The trail is very doable for novice and children. We met a family from Auckland who were chaperoning their two young boys and they were loving it. We left them at the pie shop where they had two bags full of pies! Fatties!

And if you think you are aged and worn out, the e-bike is the way to go. The number of elderly (or younger) who over took us or we neared having a head on was just inspiring to see.

We are still of the mindset that our bodies are capable of still doing the hard yards. And just love the feeling at the end of a ride that we know we have pushed the body under our own steam.

The remains of an old river dredge from last century.
History still hangs onto dear life on the Clutha.
The Clutha Dam

It makes for a weary body better nights sleep.

Except if you are on the ground!

Bumping into a 2nd cousin who was staying at the campground was a genuine way to catch up on life in general. Her donating us some apricots was humbling.

Three each on top of the two pies earlier, hmmmmmmm!

8/1/19 Millers Flat to Beaumont & Return – 49.4 kms

It was a shorter drive from Lawrence to Millers Flat where we parked up the car to ride the longer distance backwards to return riding forwards!

By the end of this adventure and how we are doing it, we will have ridden both the Clutha Gold Trail and Roxburgh Gorge Trail twice!

The mighty Clutha River … you could be in Canada.
The bridge across the Clutha to Millers Flat

Out came the tent for a night under canvas.

Unfortunately, one of us slept deflated and it wasn’t Claire. One of the self-inflated mattresses hissed air after a huff and a puff to blow it up. Pin pricks of holes can do that. Notwithstanding, the thing’s we do for lov e!

I had the better hair do in the morning though!

Already hard to get shut eye from being deflated, I think I did an all nighter because of the snoring that came from the fella in the next door tent. Jeez Wayne!

Except his name wasn’t Wayne (and we know a Wayne from next door who could snore).

His name was also Brent.

At least on of us was inflated!!!!!!!

7/1/19 Lawrence to Beaumont

Thinking I was transferring water from a plastic water bottle into my bike drinking bottle, it had a weird smell.

I thought Claire had taken a swig from the plastic water bottle and that her lip balm had tainted the stuff.

Apparently not.

I had tipped her vodka into my drink bottle by mistake.

Diluting her vodka in the process.


Lawrence to Beaumont was a lovely meander for 19 odd kms and return. Thousands of sheep dot the landscape, the the trail is easy and the smell of poisonous hemlock abundunt. Meeting a couple of fellow cyclists on our return was very inspiring – the Canadian was cycling on a three speed Raleigh Sports built in 1960 (and she was 57 yrs old); the second couple were a father and son. They were so loaded, we couldn’t lift the dad’s bike off the ground – creature comforts not to be forsaken!

Remember to take a torch though. The Big Hill Tunnel is just under 500 metres in length and, really really dark in the middle. Meaning if you scrap the walls, you have veered off centre.

Just stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and try not to get too freaked out at what might be growing or living on the walls.

A sip of vodka wouldn’t have gone astray neither.

The Big Hill Tunnel
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