Light up my life – by Jason Krupp

As a mountain biker, my New Year’s resolution is generally delayed by about three months. I start making self-improvement commitments when day light saving kicks in, promising to maintain my fitness by riding through the winter. But just like their January 1st counterparts, these promises soon lie in tatters by the time winter bares its teeth.

I have a theory that there are two interrelated reasons for this. The first is that riding in shit weather is, well, shit. The second is that I don’t have a bike light. As a result I don’t ride during the week when the weather is okay (because it happens to be dark), and if it is inclement on the weekend, then the couch is the preferred option.

I had planned to change that with the purchase of a bike light, but the $300-plus price tag was a major disincentive. I was puzzled/surprised/alarmed (choose any two) that a clutch of LEDs and a battery could cost almost the same amount as a dropper post, albeit on sale.

Then this gem (http://www.ragsandgadgets.co.nz/shop/cree-led-lighting/cree-led-3000-lumens-bike-light-with-8800mah-battery/) dropped into my lap: a 3000 lumen OEM bike light, replete with box of accessories, bells, and whistles…for $75.

Light
Hello World!

So I bought it. I’d be daft not to since I spotted a 100 lumen commuter light in a LBS for about the same price (no names mentioned but the shop name rhymes with Schmapital Schmycles). But proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the tasting. My made-in-Guangzhou special could fall apart in days. Then again, it could stand up to the elements nicely, at which point I’ll be laughing loudly at the suckers who stumped up top dollar for effectively the same thing.

Either way, I’ll let you know how I fare, both on the light and the winter riding.

(P.S. Thanks Ed for letting me welsh in on your blog)

JK Bike 3
Jason – pinning it – the only way he knows how

 

The truth about track closures on Tinakori

Has four complaints over two years and $5,000 spent on fences, signs and dismantling structures meant the end of the MTB tracks on Tinakori?

From December 2015 Wellington Council have been actively addressing the issues of illegal mountain bike tracks on Te Ahumairangi Hill aka Tinakori, in response to complaints about riders.

Newsart

Rightly or wrongly bikers have been riding unsanctioned trails on Tinakori hill since the late 1990s, mainly owing to its step gradient, making trails technically advanced and its close proximity from town.

The big question is why, after years of general tolerance of this situation did Wellington Council suddenly take action.

Complaints to blame?

Information given to NZenduro by Wellington Council shows that from 2014 to 2016 Wellington Council received four complaints from residents about cyclists on the Hill.

Of the four complaints lodged, one was regarding cyclists destroying native plants by making illegal tracks, two were requesting warning signs for walkers and for cyclists to slow down and one was asking whether the tracks were illegal.

Of the four complaints two were lodged in 2014 and two in 2015 a rate of two complaints per year.

The Council has stated in a recent official information request that it responded to the complaints they received by implementing the following actions:

  • Fencing of known trail heads,
  • Erecting signage at illegal trail heads,
  • Dismantling structures on illegal trails.

Contrary to believes held by some mountain bikers the council has ‘NOT located CCTV cameras on Te Ahumairangi Hill‘.

The total cost of these actions was $5,085, or $1,271 per complaint.

To put this into perspective, rates for a typical house in Wellington are $2,000 a year. So more than half of the rates for each person who complained went on actions to stop illegal riders. Good value for money?

Two further complaints were received in regards to illegal track signs being vandalised (not necessarily by cyclists) as a result of the actions above.

To put the number of complaints in perspective, for dog walkers it is a local by-law, punishable by a fine, for them to pick up their dogs poo. In 2010 alone there were 210 complaints about dog poo on pavement.

So, the big question is why would the Council respond to such a small number of complaints in such an aggressive manner?

On the basis of the number of complaints received I would argue that the users of Tinakori Hill are not that too concerned about mountain bikers, albeit they would like to see safer tracks on there.

Certainly the four complaints in two years should not have been a reason to close them. It is more likely that the closures are down to individuals at the Council flexing their muscles to prove a point, make an example and to use this as cannon fodder for not building new ones.

Unfortunately for us mountain bikers status quo bias means that it’s easier and cheaper to close tracks than actually work with us to sanction them.

We will have to work extremely hard and all together as a collective if we ever want to see legitimate riding on Tinakori.

 

 

 

 

 

Dirt Merchants Enduro 2016

The second annual Dirt Merchants Enduro went off with a bang last Sunday. The weather was great, over 140 riders turned up (that’s just ridiculous), and the course unfortunately left my traction to be desired.

I was hoping for a top ten finish, top twenty at least.

Practice went well, apart from the dearth of available shuttles, 40 places for 140 riders, which meant we only got one run in.

The top stage ‘randy’s hard line’ was rutted and had two jumps on it. One which was easy, the lower was a bit harder (I saw at least one casualty – a guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt who performed a cartwheel on his head, breaking his helmet into two like a coconut).

My actual race  was going perfect, as I left the starting line with shouts of ‘go fast Eddie’ I slammed it down the rut and was going to go big on the jump before I lost complete control, skidding on my shoulder and knees.

12974327_1204063219638697_7971845887445905850_n
No time for press-ups Ed – photo by AvantiPlus Kapiti Coast

Still, the second leg went well and I managed 15th place overall, if I hadn’t of crashed, it would have been at least 11th.