Video Feature: Ride High Country, The Mountain Bike Road Trip

Grab a coffee, or perhaps an ale (as that’s certainly the theme here), and settle in to watch the full Ride High Country Road Trip


There’s a lot to explore in the Victorian High Country, and so we put our minds to pulling together the road trip to end all road trips. All killer, no filler – seven destinations, each worthy of a riding holiday in its own right, all packed into a week to remember. And so off we went.

The destinations we’d mapped out for our Ride High Country road trip all lie in a pretty tight little cluster in the north-east of Victoria, and our plan was to tackle it from east to west: Falls Creek, Mt Beauty, Bright, Dinner Plain, Beechworth, Yackandandah and finally Mt Buller to wrap it up.

Have a gander below for some of our favourite moments on the Ride High Country Road Trip, and make sure you click the links through to each destination’s own editorial piece to learn more.


Falls Creek

Click here for our full Falls Creek editorial and video. 


This is what Falls Creek does best: incredible vistas. You spend a lot of time riding above the tree line, giving you views forever.
This is what Falls Creek does best: incredible vistas. You spend a lot of time riding above the tree line, giving you views forever.
Hooking into the eerie snow gums on High Voltage, on of the star trails at Falls Creek.
Hooking into the eerie snow gums on High Voltage, one of the star trails at Falls Creek.
Flow Town is the newest addition to Falls Creek, and this trail alone makes it worth the trip. Blasting into the perfect lower berms. From the end of the trail, you can jump on board the shuttle right up to the peak of the mountain and do it all again.
Flow Town is the newest addition to Falls Creek, and this trail alone makes it worth the trip. Blasting into the perfect lower berms. From the end of the trail, you can jump on board the shuttle service run by Blue Dirt Mountain Biking right up to the peak of the mountain and do it all again.

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When the rain came down too hard in Falls Creek, we retreated to the spa at QT.
When the rain came down too hard in Falls Creek, we retreated to the spa at QT.
A fine way to end the day on the trails at Falls.
A fine way to end the day on the trails at Falls.

Mt Beauty

Click here for our full Mt Beauty editorial and video

That iconic Mt Beauty view, looking north up the Kiewa Valley.
That iconic Mt Beauty view, looking north up the Kiewa Valley.
Mt Beauty's very own World Champ, Paul Van Der Ploeg, was on hand to lead us into the wild trails of Beauty.
Mt Beauty’s very own World Champ, Paul Van Der Ploeg, was on hand to lead us into the wild trails of Beauty.
The trails of Beauty are the anti-flow-trail; 100% tech! These are old school, hand built single tracks, and you need to be committed and alert to ride them well. You can see why this place breeds some exceptional riders.
The trails of Beauty are the anti-flow-trail; 100% tech! These are old school, hand built single tracks, and you need to be committed and alert to ride them well. You can see why this place breeds some exceptional riders.
Rocky, loose, unforgiving! If you're having a bad day on Mt Beauty's trails, you're going to have a lie down or two. But when you're riding well, these trails make you feel like a ninja!
Rocky, loose, unforgiving! If you’re having a bad day on Mt Beauty’s trails, you’re going to have a lie down or two. But when you’re riding well, these trails make you feel like a ninja!
Mt Beauty is one of Australia's original mountain bike towns, the trails have been here since the 1980s... which is why team Flow donned some genuinely vintage mountain bike jerseys for the occasion.
Mt Beauty is one of Australia’s original mountain bike towns, the trails have been here since the 1980s… which is why team Flow donned some genuinely vintage mountain bike jerseys for the occasion.
Dragon's Head is one of the Big Hill MTB Park's newest trails - you won't find it on the map, it's too fresh. It's one of the trickiest trails around, but such a buzz to ride.
Dragon’s Head is one of the Big Hill MTB Park’s newest trails – you won’t find it on the map, it’s too fresh. It’s one of the trickiest trails around, but such a buzz to ride.
Lots of body language here in Beauty!
Lots of body language here in Beauty!
Mt Beauty, like most of these great High Country towns, has its own brewery - the Sweetwater Brewing Company is right in town, about 500m from the trails. Drop on in for a tasting.
Mt Beauty, like most of these great High Country towns, has its own brewery – the Sweetwater Brewing Company is right in town, about 500m from the trails. Drop on in for a tasting.
And right across the road from the brewery, you'll find the Rocky Valley Bike Cafe. Good smoothies!
And right across the road from the brewery, you’ll find the Rocky Valley Bike Cafe. Good smoothies!

Bright

Click here for our full Bright editorial and video.

Hello Bright! This town is home to one of Australia's most progressive new trails, the aptly named Hero Trail. It's a monster, and you've got to come check it out.
Hello Bright! This town is home to one of Australia’s most progressive new trails, the aptly named Hero Trail. It’s a monster, and you’ve got to come check it out.
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Lofting into the opening straight of the Hero Trail.
It should be no surprise that Bright is producing some crazy talented riders. Kaia Ellis is one of them, definitely one of the next generation of Aussie mountain bike super stars. He lives at the base of Mt Mystic and rides here everyday.
It should be no surprise that Bright is producing some crazy talented riders. Kaia Ellis is one of them. This kid is definitely one of the next generation of Aussie mountain bike super stars. He lives at the base of Mt Mystic and rides here everyday, shuttled by his dedicated (and fast) dad, Pete.
You can shuttle Mt Mystic, or there are climbing tracks too, if you'd rather earn your turns.
You can shuttle Mt Mystic, or there are climbing tracks too, if you’d rather earn your turns.
Bright Brewery is a real focal point for the town, and they're all mountain bike mad too. With a huge beer garden on the river, it's the ultimate place to wind up your day.
Bright Brewery is a real focal point for the town, and they’re all mountain bike mad too. With a huge beer garden on the river, it’s the ultimate place to wind up your day.
Bright isn't all about the Hero Trail. There's a huge network to ride on the mountain's lower slopes too, with perfect corners like this.
Bright isn’t all about the Hero Trail. There’s a huge network to ride on the mountain’s lower slopes too, with perfect corners like this.
Kaia Ellis, Phil Roubichard and Aaron Gungal.
Kaia Ellis, Phil Roubichard and Aaron Gungal.
Phil from All Terrain Cycles. Always stoked.
Phil from All Terrain Cycles. Always stoked.

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Dinner Plain

Click here for our full Dinner Plain editorial and video.

Dinner Plain is on the cusp of a mountain bike explosion. The setting is superb, and the bones of a great trail network are already in place. Big things are coming here.
Dinner Plain is on the cusp of a mountain bike explosion. The setting is superb, and the bones of a great trail network are already in place. Big things are coming here.
Local guur Karl Gray, of the DP Riders, leads us down Kenny's.
Local guru Karl Gray, of the DP Riders, leads us down Kenny’s in some perfect alpine light.
Golden alpine meadows. Take us back!
Golden alpine meadows. Take us back!
A setting to die for. Dinner Plain is extraordinarily beautiful.
A setting to die for. Dinner Plain is extraordinarily beautiful.
The Blizzard Brewing Co calls Dinner Plain home. Yes, another mountain bike town with a brewery. You couldn't make this stuff up.
The Blizzard Brewing Co calls Dinner Plain home. Yes, another mountain bike town with a brewery. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dinner Plain's bike rack is heavy duty.
Dinner Plain’s bike rack is heavy duty. How cool is that?!
Another golden day in the bag.
Another golden day in the bag.
Good night, Dinner Plain. See you again soon, we hope.
Good night, Dinner Plain. See you again soon, we hope.

Beechworth

For our full Beechworth editorial and video click here.

Beechworth is classic Australiana at its best.
Beechworth is classic Australiana at its best. This is bush ranger country.
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Evening razzing in the Beechworth MTB Park, just a couple of minutes from town.
Blowing out the cobwebs, and some corners, in Beechworth.
Blowing out the cobwebs, and some corners, in Beechworth.
We love the unique, rocky terrain of Beechworth.
We love the unique, rocky terrain of Beechworth.
The Don't Be a Hero Trail is a new addition in Beechworth.
The Don’t Be a Hero Trail is a new addition in Beechworth.
Away from the mountain bike park, there are loads of other trails to discover. Grab a local to unearth some gold.
Away from the mountain bike park, there are loads of other trails to discover. Grab a local to unearth some gold.
Ben Kraus, head honch of the famous Bridge Rd Brewers.
Ben Kraus, head honch of the famous Bridge Rd Brewers.

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Lock him up.
Standard Beechworth first date.

Yackandandah

For our full Yackandandah editorial and video click here.

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Yackandandah is all smooth, perfect singletrack. The kind that makes you smile.
Dropping into Skull, one of the most unique tracks in Yack.
Dropping into Skull, one of the most unique tracks in Yack.

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The Yack Tracks have some of the best signing we've ever encountered, with all the loops mapped out perfectly.
The Yack Tracks have some of the best signing we’ve ever encountered, with all the loops mapped out perfectly.
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Getting comfy at the Star Hotel.

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We loved the crew we met in Yack. Some of the most diverse and friendly folk we've had the pleasure of riding with.
We loved the crew we met in Yack. Some of the most diverse and friendly folk we’ve had the pleasure of riding with.

Mt Buller

For our full Mt Buller editorial and video, click here.

Mt Buller, last stop for us.
Mt Buller, last stop for us.
Glorious Mt Buller.
Glorious Mt Buller evenings.
Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles. Solid bloke, and a very solid rider too.
Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles. Solid bloke, and a very solid rider too.
Shannon on the charge in perfect conditions on Misty Twist.
Shannon on the charge in perfect conditions on Misty Twist.
We couldn't quite believe how good we got it in Buller. Unreal!
We couldn’t quite believe how good we got it in Buller. Unreal!

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The iconic bridges of the Delatite River Trail.
The iconic bridges of the Delatite River Trail.

Ride High Country: Dinner Plain

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Above it all.

We knew little of Dinner Plain before making the snaking drive up from Bright, and what a drive it is too, this would have to be one of the best roads in Australia, with the valleys tumbling away either side and views that go forever. The village of Dinner Plain lies just beyond Hotham, and waiting for in town was Karl Gray, head of the Dinner Plain Riders, and a DP local.

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This road was good enough to make us consider coming back with our road bikes.
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Check out the work involved in the Dinner Plain bike rack!

Karl knows he lives in a good patch: the region around Dinner Plain is eye poppingly scenic, and he rolls about 10 metres from his front door into the trails. That’s the beauty of Dinner Plain – you don’t ride to the trails, you’re in them already, they encircle the village.

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Following Karl down Kenny’s.

As we pulled into a trail called Kenny’s, savouring that kind of spectacular afternoon light that bleeds through the snow gums in such an unmistakable way, we learnt more about what’s on the cards for Dinner Plain. There’s already a solid handful of quality trails here, many of which evolved from tracks used by the local cattlemen, but the masterplan for the village is far more ambitious, with over 20km of singletrack in the pipeline. The terrain is classic Alpine, a dreamy mix of grass meadows, gnarled gums and granite, the air so clean it seems to shine.

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Popping through the high alpine grasses.
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That alpine light! Love it.

All the other key ingredients are in place already too, accommodation, restaurants and, importantly, Australia’s highest altitude brewery, the Blizzard Brewing Company, where we headed for a post-ride ale. They say the water they use in their brewing comes from pristine snow melt aquifers; maybe it was just the fact that we’d wrapped up another perfect day on the trails in paradise, but it sure tasted good.

Mick was quite fond of Blizzard Brewing Co's work.
Mick was quite fond of Blizzard Brewing Co’s work.

We’re looking forward to following the journey of Dinner Plain over the next couple of years, as we’ve got no doubt this place can cement itself a reputation as a hidden gem of Australian mountain biking. Something tells us we’ll be spending a lot more time here before too long!

For more information of Dinner Plain, or the riding across the entire Victorian High Country, head to ridehighcountry.com.au.

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Ride High Country: Mt Buller


Of course, you’ve got to grind out a few metres in the other direction to earn all the descending, but thankfully the human brain is awfully good at quashing the hards times from memory and elevating the good. So all you’re left with is a head full of amazing downhills.

Maybe that’s why we always think of Mt Buller so joyfully. All we can remember is railing perfect turns on Misty Twist, screaming at full-speed down the Delatite River Trail, pumping the pure rhythm of Stonefly… It’s almost too good.

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Making the trip to Buller is pretty much an annual ritual for us, but this time our visit to Mt Buller was the final stop on our mammoth Ride High Country Road Trip, a week-long journey through the Victorian north-east’s best trails.

While the other destinations we visited on our road trip are all clustered tightly, Buller stands apart, about two hours’ drive from Beechworth or Bright. But coming to this part of world and not making the trip to Mt Buller would be like not eating dessert. And no one wants to miss out on sweet, sweet dessert.

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You need a big map board when you’ve got big mountains.

To our delight, we scored Mt Buller is absolutely prime conditions. Our guide, the resolute Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles, took us straight to the best dirt on the mountain, at the recently refreshed Misty Twist. This trail has always been a favourite – it’s close enough to the village that you can squeeze it in for a quick afternoon loop, and the trail is a perfect ribbon of loam, draped through atmospheric snow gums. It links back into the fast and furious Clancy’s Run too, which is another iconic Buller fave.

That afternoon, slapping through brown berms, following the trustworthy wheel of Shannon, we locked yet another magical Buller memory away in the vault.

 

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Misty Twist at its best.

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With only limited time up our sleeves before facing the run back up the Hume to the Real World, we headed to the Delatite River Trail. If you’re looking for a uniquely Buller experience, this is it: 1000m of vertical descending, at speeds you frankly have no right to be hitting on a mountain bike!

The trail tapers out with its famous log bridge river crossings, and the icing on the cake is literally cake, in this case a brownie from awesome Mirimbah Store at the end of the trail. A quick coffee to get the brain back in order after the fury of Delatite, and it’s back up the hill on the shuttle, right to the peak of the village. You can see why saying goodbye to this place is always a rough breakup.

For more information on Mt Buller, or riding right across the Victorian High Country, head to ridehighcountry.com.au.

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No, I never want to say goodbye…
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The final stretches of Delatite.

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Ride High Country: Beechworth

Watch the video below! 


This is a town that oozes charm and history, a mix of quaint and quirky, with wide streets, shady verandahs, smiling old ducks at the bakery. It welcomes you, like a favourite wooden jumper, a comfy, relaxed fit. It’s a feeling we’ve always had here, a genuine warmth, and it’s not just the pastie we’re eating, fresh from Beechworth Bakery pie oven.

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Big granite outcrops are a standout feature of the Beechworth trails.

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DSC01344The local crew, the legendary Beechworth Chain Gang, extend the same vibe. Out of towners are always welcome to join the Wednesday night social ride, localism isn’t their bag. Even the location of the trails makes life simple; the Beechworth Mountain Bike Park is only a few minutes ride from the centre of town, and it’s all mapped and signposted for visiting riders to enjoy.

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You can roll out to the trail head from town, it’s just a few minutes’ pedal.
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The new Don’t Be a Hero Trail brings a new flavour to Beechworth trails.

It’s a total noodle bowl of singletrack in the Bike Park, a smallish space, heaped with trails, all of it loads of fun. The trail builders have worked with terrain brilliantly, using the rocky granite outcrops to create rhythm and challenge, and the surface is fast and perfectly drifty at the same time. New trails are springing up too, including the cheekily named ‘Don’t Be a Hero Trail’ – a funny nod to the Hero Trail in Bright, as well as a good-natured dig at the trail builder who broke themselves on the trail not long after finishing its construction!

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Dust, sun and a good crew. Spot on!
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The landscape surrounding Beechworth is Australiana overdrive. This is bush ranger country!

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Away from the bike park, there are plenty of less publicised trails too, which might require some local knowledge to unearth. The best place to acquire said knowledge? At the brewery of course! Bridge Rd Brewers lies right at the heart of town, and not only do they produce superb beer and cater for hungry riders, but head brewer Ben Kraus froths harder than a shaken pilsner for mountain biking.

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All brewed in Beechworth, Bridge Rd is a must see, even if you’re not a drinker. It’s got a great vibe.

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Yackandandah’s new trails are just down the road too, and the locals have a dream to see these two great networks linked up with trails through the great swathes of forest between the towns. It’s a vision we’d love to see realised one day; both of these towns really grab us, and the thought of being able to ride on the dirt between the two is too good!

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Negotiating with some rocks in the bike park.

Beechworth really is a must-do on any road trip through this region, whether you’ve got bikes or not. We guarantee you’ll be charmed, and you’ll keep coming back, just like we do. For more information about riding in Beechworth, or across the whole region, head to ridehighcountry.com.au. 

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The Woolshed DH is one of the less official trails in the area. Seek it out!

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It’s not all beer – cold brew Nitro Coffee will get tired legs hammering once again!
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Chasing mates through dusty berms.

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Beechworth Prison is where Ned Kelly was held after being nabbed at Glenrowan.
Beechworth Prison is where Ned Kelly was held after being nabbed at Glenrowan.
"You're under arrest for wearing two paris of sunnies."
“You’re under arrest for wearing two pairs of sunnies.”
The new Kelly helmet with MIPS technology, made in Beechworth.
The new Kelly helmet with MIPS technology, made in Beechworth.
The Woolshed Cabins are run by passionate club member Chris Doe - highly recommended.
The Woolshed Cabins are run by passionate club member Chris Doe – highly recommended.

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Ride High Country: Yackandandah

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No stress, all smiles. Yack is mountain biking at its relaxing finest.

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This passionate community has paid close attention to the important elements that have made some of the other towns in the region such successful mountain bike destinations, and then found their own niche in the landscape. They’ve absolutely nailed it too.

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Some of the biggest Yack Tracks fans we’ve met have been locals from Beechworth, which lies just 15 minutes’ drive away. Given how great Beechworth’s own trails are, that praise put Yack right on top of the pile for us to visit during our Ride High Country Road Trip.

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Mining has left some interesting features for the trail builders to work with, like these cool old chutes on ‘Skulls’.
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Classic riding like this will never grow old.

Yackandandah brings a much needed pure cross-country experience to the Victorian High Country. The riding here is gloriously simple, you don’t need a shuttle, you don’t need a map, you don’t need to psych yourself up, or even be that fit. These are trails built for the pure enjoyment of it all, not for scaring yourself or finding your limits. You can lose yourself (metaphorically -the signage is too good to get genuinely lost) for a few hours; just you and the bike in the bush, with seemingly never-ending, flowing cross-country singletrack. It’s really interesting terrain too, especially in the areas where mining has re-shaped the landscape, with deep gullies, old water races, and caves gouged into the clay.

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The crew in Yack have got to be some of the most easy-going folk out there, and in mountain biking that’s saying something.

Are the trails tame? Not when you start riding them fast, they’re not. But they won’t intimidate a newer rider either, and we think that’s going to be real drawcard for this town. Experienced riders can bring someone who is fresh to the sport out to Yack, and both are going to love it. The growth of mountain biking depends vitally on trails like this, and we feel that the High Country is going to benefit greatly from having such a welcoming addition for new mountain bikers. It’s the kind of town and trails that can make someone fall in love with mountain biking.

That diversity of riders who can enjoy trails like the Yack Tracks was on full display amongst the crew of locals who came out to show us around the forest. A mixed bunch – men and women, young and not-so-young, some who were new to it all, and others who’d been mountain biking for 20 years or more – they welcomed us with open arms, and after a loop it was back to the Star Hotel for a drink and a chat.

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Top notch way-finding.

As a visitor, it just doesn’t get any easier than the experience offered by Yack – it’s real rock up and ride stuff for out-of-towners. In the car park you’ll find a brilliant map board, with four recommended loops mapped out. All the information is there, from distances to elevation profiles and estimated times. There’s no poking through Strava or phoning a local to beg directions, you simply pick the loops that match the experience you’re after, then follow the arrows. It’s some of the best trail marking we’ve ever encountered, and the effort that has been put into perfecting the navigation can make all the difference between an incredible day on the trails, or a world of confusion.

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We’re very excited that a region like this, already heaving with great riding, can suddenly have an entirely new, and totally unique, option for mountain bikers. Yack is a real feather in the cap of the Victorian High Country, and a spot that is going to play a big role in ensuring a stream of fresh riders find their feet in the sport. We’ll be back, and we’ll be bringing a few potential mountain converts with us too. We’re sure that Yack will woo them nicely.

For more information about riding Yackandandah, or across the whole region, head to www.ridehighcountry.com.au

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Meanwhile, back at the Star Hotel.
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James Lacey, head of the Yackandandah Old Blokes Biking on Sundays (YOBBOS).
Now that was a good day on the trails.
Now that was a good day on the trails.

 

Ride High Country: Falls Creek

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Dropping into High Voltage from Frying Pan Spur feels like you’re plummeting off the edge of the mountain into the Kiewa Valley below.

Falls Creek specialises in the spectacular: of all the mountain biking destinations slung across this region, it’s Falls that always drops our jaw. There’s something incredible about its location, with the Keiwa Valley funnelling up to meet it, Falls sits like the gate keeper to the alpine plains. The drama of the whole scene is enhanced by the gnarled, skeletal fingers of white snow gums, which frame the trails and give the distant slopes a grey shimmer.

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Ghostly snow gums make a dramatic backdrop on the higher trails.

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But of course you don’t come to Falls Creek for the views alone, you come to enjoy one of the finest mountain bike trail networks in Australia! The rise of Falls Creek in the mountain bike world has been meteoric. It was barely four years ago that the initial humble scratchings of trail building began, but now, with four stages of trail development completed, there’s over 40km of sensational trail to explore, and that’s before you even contemplate the endless backcountry riding that can be done from Falls. When you consider that this place is under snow for a good chunk of the year, it’s an incredible undertaking to have built such a great network in that time frame.

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You can just see the alignment of the road running back down to Mt Beauty far below. Flow Town follows the same contour, for a perfect, fast run to the village entrance gates six kays away.

With the opening of Flow Town just a few weeks ago, we feel that Falls Creek has now really nailed its potential. This epic descending trail is one of the best rides in the entire region, and once you tie it into a loop with some of the existing runs, it becomes a run for the ages – 20 minutes of nearly non-stop downhill shredding. For this run alone, Falls Creek was always going to be a stop on our Ride High Country road trip.

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Berm blasting in the gums on the lower sections of Flow Town.
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Multiple lines options on Flow Town.

Amongst the best aspects of mountain biking in Falls Creek is that the trails all start and finish right in the village, so you can literally roll out your accommodation and be into the thick of it in seconds. This is especially true of Flow Town, which descends from straight from town, ending up at the resort gates after six kilometres of insanely good trail. From there, you can pedal back up the Pack Horse trail, or better yet, jump in a shuttle service provided by Blue Dirt, which is exactly what we did.

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Pete Walsh of Blue Dirt – shuttle driver and all-round good bloke.
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The bike wash is a recent addition, along with a communal work stand and tools. Falls Creek aren’t cutting corners when it comes to making mountain bikers feel loved!

With the shuttle running right to the peak of the resort, you’ve got the entire network splayed out beneath you, all funnelling you back to the village where a coffee, lunch or beer awaits. It’s a surprisingly buzzing scene in town too. With the opening of the Blue Dirt Bike Cafe, there’s usually a good contingent of mountain bikers milling about refuelling or using the bike wash, joined by the constant trickle of roadies who’ve taken on the climb from Mt Beauty. You’re not short of places to stay or dine either; QT hotel runs all the way through summer (which is where we called home during our stay) and their restaurant, Stingray, is open all day too so you won’t be scrambling for a meal, as can sometimes happen in the green-season in resort towns!

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Perfect berms top to bottom on Flow Town.

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Also worth a mention is the development of more beginner and intermediate trails right on the edge of the village too, which opens up the appeal of Falls to rider who aren’t interested in tackling the whole mountain. We can see how this place is going to be very popular with family groups in the future with so much kid-friendly riding just moments away from the accommodation.

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Taking refuge in the spa at QT after a rain storm cut our day short on the hill. Paul Van Der Ploeg and SRAM’s Dave Evans enjoying the apres vibes!
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Doesn’t get much better! We didn’t expect to be sparking up the open fire in summer, but that’s the way it goes in the alps – the weather can change direction faster than Troy Brosnan in a switchback.

From Falls Creek, one of the newest mountain bike destinations in Victoria, it’s just a short 30-minute drive back down the mountain to one of the oldest mountain biking destinations in all of Australia, the legendary mountain biking town of Mt Beauty, for a totally different trail experience. There mustn’t be many places in Australia where you can go from riding high-alpine, machine-built flow trail after breakfast, and then be on some of the absolute original mountain bike singletracks in the country, by lunch time! It’s exactly this kind of diversity, all condensed into such a tight region, that has us so pumped on the Victorian High Country right now.

For more information about riding in Falls Creek, and across the whole region, head to http://www.ridehighcountry.com.au

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Road Trip: Tom and Kelly’s Excellent South Australian Adventure

South Australia should be on every traveling mountain bikers bucket list. There is so much riding on tap and close to the city it’s just not funny, and it should be mentioned that World Cup DH shredders Conor Fearon and Troy Brosnan both hail from Adelaide.
Kelly and Tom only just scratched the surface with what is on offer in South Australia and both plan on returning soon in the mean time join them on this Excellent South Australian Adventure. 
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Road Trip: Tom and Kelly's Excellent South Australian Adventure

Back in June NZ’s Kelly McGarry, Tom Hey, filmer Ross McKay and I jumped on four separate planes and embraced the four hour flight to Adelaide, South Australia from NZ. It was both Kelly and Tom’s first time in South Australia and this video goes part way in capturing our whirlwind seven day trip that included Great White shark diving, DH trail shredding, dam jumping, kangaroo eating, 16″ bike racing, 29er riding and not finding Troy Brosnan’s secret Flinders Range huck zone.
South Australia should be on every traveling mountain bikers bucket list. There is so much riding on tap and close to the city it’s just not funny, and it should be mentioned that World Cup DH shredders Conor Fearon and Troy Brosnan both hail from Adelaide.
Kelly and Tom only just scratched the surface with what is on offer in South Australia and both plan on returning soon in the mean time join them on this Excellent South Australian Adventure. 
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Tassie Produce: Mates on the Blue Tier

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There had been talk of organizing a group of avid riders to travel over and ride the Blue Tier track, nestled up in the north east of the state, a trail that never seemed to get off the to-do list. It’s not far geographically from Launceston – it’s less than two hours to the Weldborough Hotel, the central hub for the region, nestled snugly at the tail end of the trail the perfect base for those who ride the trail to come home to.

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On the road out to the Blue Tier the scenery changes from loamy soils to the dolerite boulders and slabs strewn across Mount Stronach, flowing to the east of Scottsdale and it’s quartz laden soils and typical Australian bush. Before entering Weldborough itself, monstrous ferns and dense vegetation cover the road sides rising high above you on either side of the windy little road, providing a very different feel to the trails in comparison to most of the riding in the state.

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The Weldborough Hotel is the perfect place to set up camp, wind down and either recover or prepare for a day of riding. The smiles of our crew were made all the wider thanks to the micro-brewed local ales that the hotel proudly has on tap. By 9pm, everyone had called it a night, ready for a Sunday of shredding.

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The Blue Tier trail originated around late 1800’s, originally pushed in to allow access to the valuable the tin ore strewn amongst the rock. The tier became a mining area, and now is scattered with remnants of old mine shafts.The descent traverses across the side of a mountain range, with the bottom section of the trail being filled with big rock rollers, boulders the size of your head, sticky ruts and bomb holes the whole way down. It’s the kind of trail that makes you stop and push back up, sessioning sections again and again, to rail some of the rutted, rocky sections of trail. It’s difficult riding, for sure, as multiple flat tyres attested, but nothing could dampen the mood.

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All up, we clocked roughly 50km of descending, with breaks in between runs to recuperate and get our senses back together. No injuries, just a lot of laughs. The Blue Tier reminded us once again that it’s almost always worth the effort to leave your backyard and seek out something new and epic.

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The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 7, The Final And Fastest Day In The Redwoods.

Mick and Chris’s legs, arms, fingers, toes, eyelids and smiling muscles were growing understandably weary on the final of five solid days shooting in the Rotorua Redwoods.

What did Ride Rotorua serve up for the Flow guys on the final day? Two fresh pair of legs in the form of one particular energetic skills coach with a downhill and BMX racing background, and another fresh legged local downhill and marathon racer with a super fast set of wheels.

Lisa, a wonderfully cheery, chatty and most insanely fast Kiwi leads Mick and Chris down her favourite trail; Challenge Track.
Lisa, a wonderfully cheery, chatty and most insanely fast Kiwi leads Mick and Chris down her favourite trail; Challenge Track.

We met Lisa Horlor from MTB Skills for a rip down the brand new Challenge Track, and Mike Metz from Bike Culture for a mega hair raising run on the classic; Hot X Buns.

Fast, flowing and perfectly constructed. If you've been away from Rotorua for a few months, get back there asap. Challenge Track is a ripper!
Fast, flowing and perfectly constructed. If you’ve been away from Rotorua for a few months, get back there asap. Challenge Track is a ripper!

Could there be a faster way down Challenge Track, other than following Lisa ‘turbo’ Horlor? When this track opened only a few months prior to us arriving, there were queues up the top just to get down, and for very good reason! This track has been built with such incredible skill to milk out so much speed, flow and fun from the open landscape.

Tabletops, step-up jumps, tall berms, and super fast corners that link from left to right without the need of any braking make Challenge a great new addition to the forest. Chapeau to the trail builders!

Anyone could ride this track, from beginners to world class racers, it’s safe enough to build up to taking the jumps bigger and clearing the tabletops and lifting the speeds each attempt.

The 2014 Volcano Stone Helmet is still awaiting approval from the Australian helmet safety standards department. The fit and ventilation aspects were reasonable, not a particular highlight but the durability and exfoliation properties are unrivalled by current helmet technology.
The 2014 Volcanic Stone Helmet is still awaiting approval from the Australian helmet safety standards department. The fit and ventilation aspects were reasonable, not a particular highlight but the durability and forehead exfoliation properties are unrivalled by current helmet technology.

Lisa was selected and trained hard for the BMX Olympics, but an injury forced her out of the games after three years of solid preparation. Now she combines her chatty vibrance and bike skills to good use as the owner and operator of MTB Skills, we highly recommend looking them up if you need a boost of confidence when in Rotorua.

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After another fine brew and one last delectable white chocolate, caramel and raspberry slice from Mountain Bike Rotorua (the cafe, bike hire, information centre, workshop and general hangout at the trail head) we found ourselves high in the forest for the last time, at the trail head of Hot X Buns. With a good dose of elevation to play with, this track does not mess around and takes the fastest way to the bottom.

It takes a lot of attention and skill to rip down Hot X Buns, and it’s a must visit trail for the rider who would like to test their enduro racing prowess against a local.

Mike Metz from Bike Culture, holy smokes he is a handy rider!
Mike Metz from Bike Culture, holy smokes he is a handy rider!

We were led blindly into mega fast straights with rapidly changing surfaces and ball-tearingly rapid lines on the edge of safety and reason. Mike knew the track like the back of his hand, so we put our faith and trust in those hands and we bombed through sections of forest at warp speed behind him.

Camera operator Vinnie The Great dragged a full size ladder into Hot X Buns. Wearing the ladder around his neck and carrying cameras and tripods and billion dollar cameras in his bear sized hands, nothing would stop this man from capturing the best footage possible.
Camera operator ‘Vinnie The Great’ dragged a full size ladder into Hot X Buns. Wearing the ladder around his neck and carrying dolly sliders, tripods and billion dollar cameras in his bear sized hands, nothing would stop this man from capturing the best footage possible. Cheers Vinnie!
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We don’t want to go home! We heart pine forest loam!
Capturing the goodness, Graeme and Vinnie killed it. The footage is simply amazing!
Capturing the goodness, Graeme and Vinnie killed it. The footage is simply amazing!

An Air New Zealand plane awaits Chris, Mick, Damian and Pat as we drag our feet all the way back to Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane to our too-familiar home trails.

We have so many people to thank for making this trip happen and the new friendships will last forever. We would like to especially thank Gregg and Susan for looking after us and letting the grubby Flow team stay at their amazing cottage and loft at Lake Okareka  We highly recommend you choose to stay there when you visit and ride Rotorua.

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Flow HQ for the trip. We promise we left it how we found it. If there are any issues please feel free to charge it to Mick.

We rode Rotorua’s top ten trails, as nominated by locals, with locals. What a seriously amazing experience, and we are so damn excited for the web videos to begin rolling out one at a time.

So, get ready for some mouth watering visuals! In the meantime, catch up on the whole trip right here:

Day 1 – Flow Has Landed
Day 2 – The Shredding Begins
Day 3 – Brings Rain in The Forest
Day 4 – How Can Life Here Be So Good?
Day 5 – The Fastest Way To Be Shown Up By a 16 Year Old
Day 6 – Old School Trails and New School Generations

 

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 6, Old School Trails And New School Generations.

“I’m only working in the cafe when I’m needed, and to show my face so my staff don’t think I’m slacking off,” says local coffee shop ‘Zippy Central Cafe’ owner, Morgan Wilson.

“I am often out riding in the forest, surfing or out on the dirt bike,” when we asked about his sweet deal. Morgan chose Gunna Gotta, his most favourite trail in the Rotorua Redwoods Forest to guide us (school us) down.

Gunna Gotta, like chalk and cheese. One half is in recently
Gunna Gotta, like chalk and cheese. One half has recently been logged, whilst the second half threads through the deep worn in ruts lined with iridescent green moss.
Give it time, and the trees will be back engulfing the buff new lines.
Give it time, and the trees will be back engulfing the buff new lines.
Morgan from Zippy Central has been riding here for years, and it shows.
Morgan from Zippy Central has been riding here for years, and it shows.

Gunna Gotta is a bit of an oldie, and a real damn goodie. With recent logging activities, the top half of the track is unrecognisable to the track of old, but it’s another wonderful fresh beginning for the trail builders to sculpt and create a masterpiece of sweet singletrack.

Guys, girls, young and old. The forest is full of the widest variety of users, and the quality of talent and fancy equipment is astounding!
Guys, girls, young and old. The forest is full of the widest variety of users, and the quality of talent and fancy equipment is astounding!
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Mick pulls out of a whoppingly fast corner high up in the open section of Tokorangi.

We traded a local old hand on a rigid single speed for two young frothers from Planet Bike and headed over to Tokorangi for the second part of the day’s filming. We met Paul the uni student and Sam the triathlete for some mighty fast ripping down the sweet intermediate trail.

Paul, with a riding style reminiscent of Nathan Rennie.
Paul, with a riding style reminiscent of Nathan Rennie.
Sam, mountain bike racer turned triathlete calls Rotorua home, and after a season living and racing in Germany returns to guide school groups and visitors around the blissful trails.
Sam, mountain bike racer turned triathlete, calls Rotorua home and after a season living and racing in Germany returns to guide school groups and visitors around the blissful trails.

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Graeme Murray, the bossy boots director, film producer and local legend. Muzza Bobby would often be seen rubbing his hands with excitement when reviewing the footage, it's good.
Graeme Murray, the bossy boots director, film producer and cheery local legend. Muzza Bobby would often be seen rubbing his hands with excitement when reviewing the footage – it’s good. Everyone seems to know Graeme that we meet out in the forest.

Day seven, our final day draws near. Maybe we needed to nominate Rotorua’s Top 40 trails, and we wouldn’t have to go home so soon?

If you want to catch up on the trip thus far check out the previous 6 days here:

Day 1 – Flow Has Landed
Day 2 – The Shredding Begins
Day 3 – Brings Rain in The Forest
Day 4 – How Can Life Here Be So Good?
Day 5 – The Fastest Way To Be Shown Up By a 16 Year Old

 

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 5, The Fastest Way To be Shown Up By A 16 Year Old

“I’ve been riding mountain bikes since November,” said 16-year-old Keegan as he proceeded to give a riding lesson to two blokes who’ve been riding for as long as he’s been alive. It simply made no sense to us at all; how could a bike with someone on it travel across a jump or through a muddy corner so fast?

Style for miles, and miles, and miles.....and miles. Keegan showed us how it's done.
Style for miles, and miles, and miles…..and miles. Keegan showed us how it’s done.

keegan

 

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Yep, that’s how you do it, Mick. Sorta….

For Day 5 of the Ride Rotorua Top 10, Keegan picked two jump tracks in the forest to show Mick and Chris around for the cameras today. It’s no wonder why, with a healthy BMX racing background and obvious natural talent, his speed and effortless style blew us away. He found rhythm and flow where we were blowing our feet out of the pedals and hanging for dear life. Mick did his best to emulate Keegan’s scrubs, but it didn’t quite work out….

Rotorua Top 10 Day 5

Huckleberry Hound and Little Riding Huck were the tracks on the cards for the day, and with Keegan flying so fast even the fancy pants camera (shooting super slow-mo at 200 frames per second) struggled to keep up – his riding at slow-mo was our normal speed.

It proved to a be another magic day in the Redwoods, with the raining whizzing away to reveal blue bird skies. To cap the afternoon off, we headed back up the hill for a social ride with Gaz Sullivan from Nzo once again; it was a great way to cap things off – a day of riding with groms and god-fathers.

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The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 3 Brings Rain in The Forest

“You’re not made of sugar, and Split Enz is way more fun to ride with a bit of rain, mate!” says Saul Webb from Avanti Plus, Rotorua. Saul was our guide for the day and he chose arguably the most iconic and mesmerising trails in the forest – Split Enz. Those who know this trail will most certainly know the feeling that goes along with riding it, it’s a special experience.

So lush, if you stand still too long you'll risk growing into a punga tree.
So lush, if you stand still too long you’ll risk growing into one more punga tree.

Filming on this track gave us the opportunity to stop, pause and take in the surrounds, it is simply amazingly lush and beautiful deep in the forest. Everything is growing, and if you were to take one step off the track and your foot will disappear into the loamy undergrowth that acts as fertiliser to the massive canopy above.

Moments after dropping in, you begin to make involuntary hooting sounds.
Moments after dropping in, you begin to make involuntary hooting sounds. Especially this day, with a little more water to make those roots slipperier than you would expect, and so much bloody fun.
New signs, same giddy anticipation at the Split Enz trail head.
New signs, same giddy anticipation at the Split Enz trail head. Mick’s eyebrows can’t contain their excitement.

Saul aboard his Scott Scale converted single speed chose this track because any time he rides in the forest he makes sure he rides Split Enz. No wonder.

Damian, with many years of shooting World Cup mountain bike races in all types of weather, shows us his hands free brolly technique.
Damian, with many years of shooting mountain biking in all types of weather, shows us his hands-free brolly technique.
Heaven, Split Enz.
Heaven, Split Enz.
Anyone recognise this corner?  The three-man camera crew captures the good times.
Anyone recognise this corner?
The three-man camera crew captures the good times.
A rare break in the canopy.
A rare break in the canopy.
This leaf won't be round for long as it turns back into the dirt, at a fast rate.
This leaf won’t be round for long as it turns back into the dirt, at a fast rate.

We’ve seen a few clips of the videos taken so far, and can’t wait to see more!

 

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails – Day Two, The Shredding Begins

Yep, that shoots 200 frames per second. This equals juicy slow motion footage!
Yep, that shoots 200 frames per second. This equals juicy slow motion footage!

“I’ll have a double macchiato and one of those ridiculously delicious white chocolate cheesecake things please,” says Mick Ross, with eyes full of mud and that bewildered expression of complete hunger flat.

Brad from Mountain Bike Rotorua moments before tearing our legs off down Be Rude Not To.
Brad from Mountain Bike Rotorua moments before tearing our legs off down Be Rude Not 2.
New signs makes for much gooder navigation.

We were in between shooting video on the iconic Be Rude Not 2 and the wild downhill track Thanewha, seeking some sugar and caffeine in the Redwoods Forest, at the one stop shop/café/bike hire/workshop/pump track, Mountain Bike Rotorua.

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Fitting in with the Rotorua locals with a Subaru (pronounced: Su Barrr Roo) wagon and a bike rack, and rad number plates.

Day two began early strapping three brand new 27.5″ test bikes to our Q Spear bike rack and finished late into the evening with a Crouchers IPA and a juicy Burger Fuel with Kumera Fries. With grey weather blowing in and out of the forest, making for that spooky and lush forest that is classic Rotorua.

We filmed with Katie O’Neall, one of Rotorua’s most seasoned and speedy cross country racers and the burly shredder Brad O’Malley from Mountain Bike Rotorua as they showed us their pick of the trails in the forest.

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Changing forests mean a fresh start for new trails, and exciting visits to the trails each year when we make the trip over. The new Be Rude Not 2 is a fast, open track with enormous berms and gobs of flow. Ohhh yea, it’s a good one!

With the working forest always changing, as trees come and go the trail builders can have a new opportunity to carve fresh trails into the terrain without massive trees as obstacles – in fact we’ve heard that the plantation is re-planted around the mountain bike trail network over here, cheers to that!

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Mick tips it in. Berms around here are more faithful than a ten year old labrador with a dependancy complex – you won’t wash your tyres out on these whoppers!

Then we hit up the downhill track with local racing champ – Lewis Hamilton and his dad, Dave (clearly his dad, the likeness was incredible). Lewis proceeded to make us look like beginners on road bikes, as he lit up the greasy and steep downhill track, straight after his Canadian campaign of Whistler and World Cups. Holy moly he is fast!

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Hamilton senior telling Chris that Mick sucks on a bike.

The slow motion video of Lewis fully whipped sideways is mental, say tuned.

Crouchers Galaxy IPA, cheers to the Redwoods.
Crouchers Galaxy IPA, cheers to the Redwoods.

 

 

 

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails – Day One, Flow Has Landed.

With one short hop, skip and a jump from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, Flow has landed in the familiar and exciting township of Rotorua ahead of the Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails filming project.

Duty free, the only time it's ok to sample spirits before lunch. Farewell Sydney in Spring.
Duty free, the only time it’s ok to sample spirits before lunch. Farewell Sydney in Spring.

Flow’s own Chris Southwood, Mick Ross, Damian Breach and Pat the Porpoise (the laundry and catering guy) will join ten groups of local folk as they show us their top ten juicy trails in the Rotorua Redwoods Forest.

Here's to that great feeling of a jumping on a plane to Rotorua, where singletrack nirvana is awaiting us.
Here’s to that great feeling of a jumping on a plane to Rotorua, where singletrack nirvana is awaiting us.

First stop is riding the downhill race track and the revamped Be Rude Not To trail with local downhill and cross country racers. Sounds like great times, let’s hope we can keep up! We will be filming ten two-minute web edits over the next five days, so get ready for some sweet moving pictures coming your way leading into this summer.

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“What’s that smell!?”
Swapping springtime in Sydney for lush flowing trails of Rotorua, good deal.
These things happen, we don't know why..
These things happen, we don’t know why..

 

Two Men, Three Bikes and a Subaru Outback – The Melrose Fat Tyre Festival 2013

A quick look at the program and we had flowing singletrack, epic riding, rides with gravity legend Darren Berrecloth, and super D challenges ahead of us. Basically we were about to have a ridiculously good time.

Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.
Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.

The journey across the South Australian outback to Melrose is something of postcards. Old abandoned homesteads that look older than the hills litter the field and thoughts of Grand Designs can’t be ignored. Three hours later we arrive at Mt Remarkable, home of Melrose and the FTF, my heart murmurs as I think about the sweet single track I’ve heard so many stories about.

We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.
We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.

Held over the June long weekend the FTF brings a relaxed feel to a mountain bike event. You want to ride? (Eurovision Trail, thumbs up) Check out the shop? (it’s bling everywhere) Coffee? (of course) Learn about your bike? (Bike maintenance class) See a dude back flip a car on a BMX? (Crazy Kids). It’s all possible at the FTF and it’s up to you what you choose.

The super D challenge on Saturday was a highlight for the racer types (and no, I didn’t win). But the race was just the prelude to a great night which saw us having a BBQ and maybe just a few beers in the surrounds of an old shearing shed. The smell of a shearing shed might be the same the world over but this was a perfect backdrop to a uniquely Australian event. Great fun, a few drinks and good company, all talking bikes. Perfect.

The beginning of the "relaxed" super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn't pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.
The beginning of the “relaxed” super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn’t pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.

The FTF is a relaxed ride with your mates. It’s a bacon and egg roll before a ride (not recommended). It’s a mountain bike froth fest with riders of all abilities and styles all speaking the international language of mountain biking.

Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.
Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.

Anyways, there really isn’t any better way than to tell the story of the festival through what I saw. A collective of images that captured the event, from the people with the smiles, with the love of bikes and trails sandwiched in between.

Go and check out next year’s Melrose Fat Tyre Festival, it’s a peach.

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Must-Ride: The Bike and Brews Tour Part 2

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It’s Thirsty Work, but someone’s got to do it!

 

For issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, the Flow team of Mick, Chris, Kath, Greg, Damian and Reiner got on the road once again, heading to the Victorian high country. On the program was a three bonanza of bikes and brews, taking in Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright.

Our host, Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles, looked after us in royal style and you can read all about it in issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, on sale now.

Filmed and edited by Rainman Productions.

 

 

 

Must-Ride: The Bikes and Brews Tour, Part 1

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It’s Thirsty Work, but someone’s got to do it!

 

Mick rides the rocks of Beechworth Mountain Bike Park, located just a short pedal from the centre of town and it’s delicious lamingtons.

For issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, the Flow team of Mick, Chris, Kath, Greg, Damian and Reiner got on the road once again, heading to the Victorian high country. On the program was a three bonanza of bikes and brews, taking in Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright.

Thirsty? We were after a hot day on the Beechworth Trails. Tanswells Hotel sorted that right out.

Our host was Shannon Rademaker, of All Terrain Cycles, who looked after us in royal style. Here’s part one of the journey, of our three part series, Sydney and Beechworth. You can read all about it in issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, on sale now.

Filmed and edited by Rainman Productions.

 

 

The Soapbox: Two Little Words – ‘Road Trip’

I remember lying in bed on Christmas morning, back when I was a kid. I would lie there in the dark for what seemed like hours, until I thought I would explode, until I heard the words ‘Santa’s been!’ It was unbelievable how those two little words could make me feel like my insides were going to burst in excitement.

Fast-forward to middle-aged life. Now I have another two little words that invoke the same excitement: ‘Road trip!’

Road trips are like Christmas all over again. Early mornings as you’re too excited to sleep.

These days, instead of being yelled out by my old man, already half cut from drinking all the beer we’d left out for Santa, those two little words of joy come via SMS or email.

Despite being many years older, the excitement is still the same, and I go off like a fat kid in a lolly shop. Though these days I don’t wet my pants. Well, not usually, anyway.

Road trips are awesome for so many reasons. If there is anything better than going away with mates and knowing that for the immediate future your biggest headache will be finding the next cool bit of trail, let me know.

Road tripping gives you the chance to get away from normal life and all those usual chores, the grocery shopping, and the chaos of playing taxi to your kid’s Under 8 soccer team. That normality is replaced with shredding awesome singletrack and other, equally ‘onerous’ tasks – like finding the best pub for dinner. (Of course, you have to check out a few to ensure you find the right one.)

Food you don’t have to cook yourself always seems to taste different.

Being stuck in a car with a bunch of mates for a couple of hours would normally be as much fun as a One Direction concert, but put some bikes in the back and the boys can’t pile in quick enough.

There is one road trip myth, however, that I would like to dispel. I’m sure you have heard it: ‘What happens on the road stays on the road.’ This is not actually true.

That saying should go: ‘What happens on the road will be put on Facebook.’

After all, we all have a moral obligation to tell everyone we know about those times when our mates make gooses of themselves.

On a recent road trip 160mm all-mountain rigs were our weapons of choice. A group of us were out riding a trail that was littered with massive granite boulder roll-ins. A couple of the guys baulked at the top of one of these awesome boulders.

‘No, I’m not going down there. I don’t want to crash the Covert,’ one said.

His mate on a Mojo had to jump out of the way to let through an elderly lady who dropped in on a battered old GT I drive. She looked like a retired kindergarten teacher, but she smashed that rockgarden like Sam Hill.

The next day, we encountered a steep roll-in down a rainforest embankment. The two lads sporting egg on their face from the previous day hesitated at the top.

At the end of the day a road trip is more than fun, it’s about the riding and friendships.

One of the boys who had already dropped in pulled out his phone and called out from the bottom. ‘Hang on lads, I’ll just give the nice old lady from yesterday a call to see if she can show you how to ride it.’

I’m pretty sure that story’s still getting likes on Facebook.

You also discover things about your mates on road trips.

On one trip I shared a cabin with a mate, only to be woken in the middle of the night by the sound of someone revving a chainsaw. After a few seconds I realised I wasn’t listening to some crazed lumberjack on the loose, but my roommate snoring louder than I ever thought possible. Ear plugs were no match. My mate’s snores were loud enough to shake our bunk beds!

Not only do you have to share a room with a chainsaw but you also have to deal with dirty clothes that aren’t yours.

The next night, I shared with a different guy to escape the Chainsaw. My new cabin buddie was a big tough downhiller who reckoned he was hard as nails. When I went for a shower that night, I was stunned to see he had a smorgasbord of beauty products laid out, including a fluffy – and very pretty – loofah.

When I had finished my ablutions, I came out and said, ‘Nice loofah, Trev. I’d never used one before so I thought I’d give it a try.

‘I can honestly say my balls have never felt so clean and fresh.’

He blew up like a roadie out of razor blades and told me it was a dog act. But he had it all wrong, I told him, it would have been a dog act if I’d waited ‘til he’d used it.

Yep, when the car’s packed and we finally hit the motorway, it takes me straight back to childhood. I feel my veins pumping with that same juvenile excitement, that impatient anticipation for the unknown. The classic elements of a good mountain biking roadie – escape and discovery – take me to a different world and add to that growing treasure trove of stories and friendships. And all these good things, initiated by those two little words, are my grown-up equivalent to Christmas.

The end of a road trip is always the worst. Packing, cleaning and knowing you’re returning to “normal” life.