Craigieburn, New Zealand

Welcome to the inaugural Bike Wife Ride Guide, Post 1. Right. So…

Craigieburn, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Girl Rating for Difficulty: 3.5/5

Girl Rating for Fun: 4.5/5

Description: First off, there are several rides that all start from the campground which is partly what makes Craigieburn totally awesome. There’s enough for a full weekend of riding at least. This area has a couple of beautiful camp spots near a super scenic stream. Totally worth staying the night, but don’t forget the bug spray- the sand flies here WILL eat you alive. Anyways, the riding.

Climbs: mostly fire road climbs. Mostly not too steep. Extra points for this. For you more beginner girls, you’ll still be fine. Bring lots of food so you don’t want to murder your boyfriend in the forest. This place is popular enough that they will find his body.

Descents: so fun. So. Freaking. Fun. However, I would stay that some technical ability is required. If you are brand new to mountain biking, the Edge Track and the Luge Track are probably going to scare you. Dracophyllum Flat to Texas Flat or Hogs Back will be hard, but would be an easier place to start for those with lesser technical abilities. If you love a tech, you’ll love the Edge. If you love fast and flow but aren’t scared of some roots, you’ll eat up the Luge.

Girl Secrets: Craigieburn has a lot of trail on rocky stuff called scree. The secret to riding this shit is to keep your wheels moving. If you brake, you’ll sink into the stuff and feel unstable. Pick a gear where you can go slow and steady. Remember, if your wheels are moving, you’re less likely to skid and crash. Scree doesn’t really change in the wet, so trust it. If you’re on the downhill scree sections on the Edge and freaking out, let off the front brake. Let it roll. Look where you want to go. Don’t look over the Edge!

Views: stunning views from the Edge. Also, before you start the Luge you can do a quick scramble to the top of Helicopter Hill (no bikes allowed, technically… but if they were allowed it could be fun to ride back down…) for a 360 degree sweep of the foothills and Southern Alps.

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Distance: It can be what you want it to be, but the main loops (Edge/Luge or Hog’s Back) are 2-3 hours each.

What to bring: Pack a light jacket even if it’s nice, you’re gaining some elevation. Food. Camera.

Hiking: so you threw your bike off the Edge after your man left you for dead? I’ve been there girl. There’s a ton of sweet hiking in the area as well, and dogs are totally allowed! If the biking here isn’t for you, don’t miss out. Mistletoe Track to Helicopter Hill is a great moderate hike from the camp ground that will provide the workout and views you want.

Trail Map/How to get there: DOC went to the trouble of making a fantastic guide to the area, so I will defer this to them. All the legal trails and how to get there.

Final tips: On the way out, get your lunch from the Sheffield Pie Shop. On the way home, get a great coffee and snack without a smile at the Yello Shack Cafe in Springfield. If you camp, there’s a porta-loo but I’d recommend a bush and your own TP. If you are scared of wasps, avoid this ride in the middle of summer (but they are NOT bees, so bee allergies shouldn’t be a problem).

Photos:

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One of the coolest things about finishing a ride in Craigieburn on a hot day is the proximity to Cave Stream. I wrote about it after my first trip, and now many times later I still think it’s one of the most awesome adventures around! Don’t miss it!

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