Biking: Back to the dirt.
Mid 2009 I joined up to an exciting, fast paced, and fresh community called CouchSurfing. It’s a great principle – you create a profile, state what type of person you are and what type of person you want staying on your couch, and hey presto, suddenly you’re inundated with about 5 requests per day from people around the world needing a place to crash for a night, two nights, or a fortnight in the case of a particular German. It’s an amazing way to make friends and contacts around the world, and I’m hoping when it’s my turn, they’ll return the favour.
In March I had the pleasure of hosting Robin and Jia, a couple from Singapore, who are in the process of living the dream – driving around New Zealand in a van with a dirtbike in the back. You can check out their blog at www.beyond-the-cubicle.com. Amazing people, they are rivals for the best couchsurfers I’ve ever hosted. They initially stayed for a week, after which they headed off to the Bay of Plenty. They left behind, amongst other things, a present of a pair of dirtbiking gloves, with the message ‘Stay Frosty’. I put them on my dressing table, thinking ‘I’ll never use those… I’m a sports biker now.’
‘I could do it’ I mused. ‘I could do it… buy a cheap road legal dirtbike, and get back into it’. I disregarded the thoughts as mid sleep nonsense.
Two weeks later, I was in Putaruru, test riding a KLR250. ‘This feels good’ was about all my head could process, as I revelled once again at the glorious fun that is a single cylinder.
No idea what I’m talking about with all the bike terms? This is the latest addition to the garage – a 1996 KLR250.
My aim is to get onto the dirt at least once a month, as last time I was in possession of an off road bike, I didn’t use it anywhere near it’s full potential. To record and preserve my progress at getting back to the dirt, I’m taking my helmet cam with me on every ride.
First up was the 42nd Traverse, in the Tongariro National Park. This is a 40+ km track with several river crossings, and some amazing terrain to ride over. It also has plenty of clay at the start, not a good thing for a returning noobie like me. Here’s what happens when you hit clay at a bad speed, bad stance, bad attitude, and bad tyres.
With night quickly closing in, we sped through the whole ride, which was fun in it’s own way, but I’m going to have to get back there at some stage for a more leisurely take on it! Here’s a few snaps of the day!