You Snooze, You Lose



So Dave pointed me in the direction of a bizarre facebook page for ‘BOTTLES N CHAINS’ that’s using the BnC logo and posting photos of people wearing sandals on motorbikes and rows of those funny little cars that grandmas drive. After a bit of a chuckle I thought that maybe I should make a proper BnC FB page, just so that it was reserved for good old fashioned bicycles and beer. Unfortunately someone else had already decided to take the name/address and grace it with a sweet ‘BOTTLES AND CHAINS CREW’ logo, featuring a gnarly dude doing a sweet jump against what I can only imagine is the moon at some point in the future, after BnC’s global corporate buying power has conspired to have the BnC logo etched onto it in a size clearly visible from earth. I looked a bit closed and discovered a bunch of Romanians living in Transylvania riding full rigid mountain bikes in jeans. That’s more like it!

I know we happily suggest that people join up by stealing the logo and claiming it, but the third stipulation of that agreement is to not be a jerk. I’m not sure I’d actually expected random people to just make off with the logo and use it for their own nefarious ends (and lines of parallel-parked micro hatchbacks definitely classes as nefarious in my book). But now it’s happened we’re just going to have to take them under our collective BnC wing and welcome them to the family. I’m really not sure they know what they’re in for. Anyone up for a holiday to Transylvania? I know some guys there and I’m sure they’ve got some room on the floor.

Riding Dirty

jimmy race

Nothing feels quite like finishing a 100km race…I’d imagine. I’ve never done more than 50km, but I’m notoriously lazy and strictly non-competitive unless I’m guaranteed to win with minimal effort. The good doctor Jimmy ticked off a century today and he’s got the grit-filled grin to show it. Nice work ol’ boy.

michelle neil

As for me, I took to the hills after too many days riding the gondola and forgetting what it feels like to actually pedal up a hill for longer than three minutes. Within 30 seconds of leaving the house I’d been attacked by a bee, we’d lost Michelle, and Neil couldn’t figure out how to use the gears on his borrowed bike with its big, silly wheels. After moments of chaos we regrouped at the supermarket to meet up with our guide Nick, who was still drunk from many hours of debauchery the night before. Things were off to a good start.

A few KM of tarmac had me quietly cursing my tacky 2.4″ tyres and feeling less than confident about the backcountry mission ahead. Luckily it wasn’t too long before we hit dirt, and Nick seemed to be vaguely aware of where we were heading. Many rides with Ben Storer has left me eternally wary of the words “I’m pretty sure it’s this way…”, which are inevitably followed by a long, steep descent towards a dead end and a sentence starting with “Oh, actually…”.  We hit singletrack in good time, and from there things were looking up…literally.

Moonlight Track winds its way above the Shotover River behind Queenstown, with some pretty steep drops off to the side and a narrow path that would be little more than a goat track if it weren’t for all the mountain bike tyres that roll over it. It kinda goes without saying that the mountain biking in Queenstown is pretty epic, and the views are best described the same. When you duck around the side of the hill and find yourself away from the main roads, the mountains open up before you and it’s hard not to drop your jaw. The trail dipped into an awesome descent, with the only real line becoming a narrow rut intersected by jutting rocks and covered in a good dose of sheep shit. Guaranteed that whenever the line did open up, your chosen path would have been neatly defecated on by the local farm animals. Just roll on through, it’s the only real option. We hooked down and back up again, before a brief stop for photos and jelly beans (any excuse to rest is good by me). Naturally things were going to smoothly, so Neil decided that a spontaneous puncture would liven things up a little. I promptly planted myself in the shade under a bush and didn’t complain a bit.

We carried on along more narrow, technical trail before hitting 4WD road and beginning to loop back towards Moke Lake. A few steep climbs in the hot sun had me swearing and whinging inside my head. If there’s one thing I hate whilst mountain biking, it’s riding up long, dusty fire trails in the hot sun. Luckily the ride was far too good and the scenery too amazing for it to have any impact on the good times. Plenty of pedalling and a relaxing lunch under the trees lead us on to Moke Lake, where more gravel road carried us on to the top of Gold Digger trail. Queenstown Mountain Bike Club do a lot of amazing trail work, and Gold Digger is one of their newer projects. A rad 2.5km descent back towards town, winding its way through a variety of terrain and flora. Plenty of tight corners (in a good way), sections of fast, pumpy trail and some awesome surrounds make it a damn fine trail that I’m super keen to ride again.

From there it was back to town along the Sunshine Bay track, before booking in for a bloody huge stone grill steak at Pog Mahones. Safe to say there was a fair amount of red meat ingested at that table. A decent cow somewhere gave its life for a damn good cause.

The question now it, where to next?

(I totally stole Jimmy and Michelle’s photos for this post.)

Doin’ Skids

I was wandering around on Tumblr this evening when this picture cropped up. Featuring the pretty much instantly recognisable Remarkables it can only be Queenstown. There was no link to the source, so I have no idea who took it, or where it’s from, or anything at all really. I don’t even have much reason for posting it, except that it’s someone busting out a skid in a sweet location…which is reason enough really! Queenstown’s a bloody good spot. I’d better find a new front tyre for my fixie so I can hang with the cool kids again.


Everyone talks about good natured Kiwi hospitality and there’s definitely no shortage of it on the Whakarewarewa trails. I rolled into MTB Rotorua last week with a Manky in my hand and a confused look on my face. Brad and Tu were quick to drop what they were doing (living the dream, by all appearances) and direct me gently towards their big map board. In the space of five minutes I’d been hooked up with a ride plan and a list of trails, highlighted for convenience and been given a run down on the best was to tackle the forest.  Slightly better than the confused wanderings that had started the day. Rotorua has got what’s probably the best condensed trail network in the world (judging by the responses from those who’ve ridden further afield than me), and that map is covered in a shitload of little squiggly lines, tiny arrows and weird trail names. A few days in the forest though, and it all starts making a little more sense.

I’ve  been here ten days, been riding seven of those, and already I’m starting to find my favourite loops. The joy of this place is that in comparison to Tasmania, even the hardest climbs are fairly mellow, and usually quite short. That, and all the amazing trails of course. Anyway, with the whole debate about whether or not marriage is between a man and a woman, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring and say I’d like to marry Split Enz. Not the band, but the ridiculously good, swooping, whooping, rolling, bermed piece of heaven that descends the back of the forest and leaves you with that feeling of pure bliss and euphoria. I think we might adopt Billy T and Pondy DH/New as our children, and invite Be Rude Not 2 and Mad If U Don’t to come live in the spare room. We can invite Dragon’s Tail and Rollercoaster over for dinner every night, and Huckleberry Hound, Little Red Riding Huck and Corners can spend sunny afternoons playing the the backyard. So long as we’re all together, everything will be alright.

But anyway, back to the friendly locals (no Tongan bride yet sorry Ben). The next day I rocked up back at MTB Rotorua and got hailed by name. Those guys spend all day talking to (temporary) strangers and still remembered the guy with the funny name and stupid face. That kinda stuff goes a hell of a long way towards turning a place from a network of great trails into a great trail community. It’s a good reminder of why this “sport” is so awesome.

That arvo I trusted my bike to a spidery looking trailer latched to the back of an old bus and promptly felt my rider’s guilt jump through the roof. I’ve become a fast convert to the joy of shuttles and repeated runs down awesome trails, but it still feels a little wrong. Luckily the best trails start a bit beyond the drop-off point, so at least the legs get a tender workout. It’s still not quite the same as grinding half way up Mt Wellington, but it’ll just have to do.

More talkative locals meant the evening ended with a twilight run, following (another) Brad and his dog Maxxis down trails in the gloaming, squinting into shadowed corners trying to figure out whether that dark patch was a rut, a stick or a pile of bloody pine cones (trail grenades). Chasing a local on a Santa Cruz V10 Carbon DH bike down trails in the dark is probably not the safest way to finish a day, but a few moments of “oh shit!’ and a couple of minutes to extract my balls from my throat and things worked out pretty damn fine.  I even got a lift back to the hostel, which swept away any doubts I had about the decency of the human race (well, the ones who ride bikes at least).

So Rotorua’s undoubtedly been living up to the high expectations that were heaped upon it, given the mad ravings of many a BnC member (and pretty much anyone else who’s been within sniffing distance of the place).

Life on a MTB ain’t nothin’ but good times and tired legs.

Check out more photos and random travel stuff here:

What Goes on Tour…

The Tour of Tasmania came South to Hobart today, for the first time in a bloody long time. The shin-dig kicked off with a team time trial up Mt Wellington this arvo, which would have been lovely for about 300m of vertical gain before entering the thick cloud that covered the mountain. BnC was well represented by Hunners, whose mid-morning quest for a working megaphone was seemingly fruitless. I didn’t make it up the hill due to work, but here’s a snap that’s surfaced. Dunno who the poor bastard is on the bike, but I’m sure you can use your imagination when it comes to the audio. At least he’s got his pants on…

Motown Soul

Check out this trick video of Sean Walling from Soulcraft building a custom frame. Beautifully filmed and edited, with a very nice result at the end.

FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft from michael evans on Vimeo.

I dunno about wherever the rest of you are, but down here in Hobart it’s absolutely shitting down. With the Spring Classics happening (or happened) and the paths and roads swiftly filling with mud it only seems fitting to throw the knobby tyres back on the ‘cross bike after its summer romance with the slicks. While the high-stacked excuses of grocery shopping, a blocked nose, absolute driving rain and darkness are doing a fair job of keeping me off the bike tonight, I’m swearing that the rest of Autumn and Winter won’t see it continue. Mud’s for riding in, and if it ain’t muddy for the next few weeks I’ll be a surprised (and dry) man. So throw on some merino, grit your teeth and get amongst it. And if you spot a slow moving brown mess somewhere out there, be sure to offer me a cup of hot chocolate or a pint of something delicious.

And is anyone organising a cyclocross series in Southern Tasmania yet?

Charity, Bitches!

A new computer always means I forget to check my e-mail for ages, so I’ve been doing some catching up this evening. Got this one from Dan, who’s doing some hefty miles for a decent cause, and on a decent sized wheel. It doesn’t take much to throw some money towards good stuff, so support a BnCer and flip your credit card towards the computer. You’ll feel good about it.

Freeway Penny Farthing Hike, 20 March, 2011

When I registered for the Freeway Bike Hike this week I noticed this “Everydayhero” link pop up and I got a little annoyed by it.  However, on reflection, I have had some close calls with asthma sufferers over the years including one young fellow in Esperance that I thought was gone forever (fortunately he lived to breath another day).  Therefore, in the interests of community spirit (and because some dude on a penny farthing in the Eastern States apparently raised $100,000 for asthma research), I thought “let’s give it a go.”

For the uninitiated, the ride starts at Kwinana and finishes at Joondalup, a distance of 60 kms.  Of course that leaves one 60 kms from one’s car, so the obvious solution is to ride back to Kwinana.  In my case, that’s 120 kms glued to the saddle on a 55” fixed-wheel, one speed, hi-wheel bike.

I welcome your donation so, if you feel so inclined, please go to and make a pledge.

Feel free to forward this onto anyone you please.  If, on the other hand, unsolicited emails requesting donations give you the shits, please disregard this short missive.

Have a nice day, Dan.



Oi, you sods all know Ryan and his merciless car revenge story. Apparently when he’s not trying to bust Dave out of jail for crimes against marsupial-kind, he’s building sweet frames. Who’da thunk it!? You should go look at his stuff at his website, cause it’s got some nice pictures and if you’re in London then maybe you can cross his palm with silver and he’ll make you something pretty.

Just Riding Along…

Gotta love a good JRA story. Here’s one from Ryan, who had a good time riding the Luge MTB trail in Hobart a little while back. Photo after the jump…it’s a good one!

The tale:

a ‘just riding along’ story…
….so i was riding the luge a few weeks ago at the end of a sunday – was pretty fatigued (I’d just been yelling at Karl and Robbie to hand over the chocolate but none was forthcoming) and hit that bit where there’s a steep chute of white bulldust in the saplings and Karl had come off or stopped or something and he was on the side of the track and I just rolled over with weight too far forward or too much front brake, dont know or remember, but took the dive, but its a bit of a drop there so i landed hard. the bike belted Karl in the head so I checked to make sure he was ok then did the visual inspection only to fine this little baby under my left glove (i think its called a compound dislocation of the interphalangeal joint) . off to the Royal for a luxury 3 day retreat.
thanks to: Damian and Ange (ambo’s);
Konrad and Jeremy who tried to put the top back on the bottom in emerg without any luck but lots of vigourous yanking (said a white faced Robbie who witnessed the triage scene: “they were doing things youre not meant to do to a body!” – I was gassing myself silly at the time so wasnt as fussed as you might imagine;
thanks also to Mr Quarmby and the smiling Physios who made it work again.
The bikes fine (on-one with Rohloff – tough as nails); thumb will be ok – they reckon i’ll be predicting the weather; back on bike next week..

Continue reading “Just Riding Along…”