Updated: May 28
Read Ride Welly - Part One here.
There’s a chill in the air as we enter into the darker months. Rain has been pelting the roof throughout the night, periodically waking me from my slumber. The wind, the seemingly ever-present wind, is pushing the rain in sideways against the windows. It doesn’t look like easing. Let’s go ride!
Wellington has a reputation for the kind of weather patterns outlined above, yet in the fourteen years I’ve lived here, I’ve decided that the reputation is not entirely true. Sure, there is a reason that New Zealand’s capital city is known as “Windy Welly”, but on the whole, the good days seem to outnumber the bad, at least to me. And a bit of wind and moisture never hurt anyone.
Described by the Lonely Planet travel guide as “the coolest little capital in the world”, Wellington can back up the claim with a vibrant café culture, a healthy live music and arts scene, world-class eateries, a compact central business district and some of the best riding in the country (which, by default, makes it some of the best in the world). The lay of the land makes trails accessible within minutes of the heart of the city in several directions, and there’s no real need to take the car to get to the dirt.
Mount Vic is a true blessing for Wellington. From the very heart of the city, if you look up you can see it sitting there, just begging you to come up and enjoy her goodness. The trails there are so good that a round of the XC World Cup was held there in 1997, and National series races are still held there to this day. There are nice and wide and accessible walking/riding tracks that suit all levels, but it’s when you start looking off the sides of the steep slopes that you discover the real gems. Riding these is best done with a local to guide you and warn of the impending drops, chutes and technical challenges that abound on trails like A, V, Damian’s and Boobies. There are, of course, stunning 360º views from the lookout at the top of the hill, which is also the start of the Super D track and the best place to commence each run down the various combinations. It’s easy to put together a half dozen different runs in a couple of hours, and then roll straight into the CBD to re-fuel at any of the myriad craft beer bars or pubs. It’s a lunchtime favourite too, as you can be out of your office and bombing world-class singletrack and back at the desk in the time it takes your colleagues to eat their sandwiches and read the paper. We are blessed by Mt Vic. Praise be.
Stay tuned for and in-depth article coming out in our forthcoming issue.
Words: Brett Kennedy
Images: Caleb Smith