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Bike Friendly North Shore goes to Titirangi

May 18, 2014

Inspired by Clair’s last post I dragged Thing-Two and a friend halfway across town to try out Exhibition Drive and the Beveridge Track for ourselves.

As promised it was a cruisy 35 minute drive from the Shore and we scored the last park at the reservoir trail-head. There’s a dozen or so marked spots and some “creative” parking opportunities on the grass verges.

Smooooth gravel on the Beveridge Track.

Smooth roll’n on the Beveridge Track.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and I assumed we would warm-up nicely spinning uphill to the visitor centre, as is normally the case. We didn’t!

Although Exhibition Drive gradually gains altitude it is essentially flat, so the riding is very easy, you can’t tell you’re going uphill at all. Children of all ages will manage this section no problem.

Along the majority of the route you’re shrouded by trees and it felt a lot cooler in there than the weather forecast led me to believe. The sunshine at Mackie’s Rest was welcome relief and we warmed-up a couple of minutes before heading up the Beveridge Track.

Fat Cheese

Some guy at the Arataki Visitor Centre.

While Exhibition drive was wide and flat, Beveridge Track narrowed somewhat and was a lot more serpentine. Apart from the last couple of hundred metres it was a gentle climb with plenty of room to pass walkers and fellow cyclists. Little dirt-groms with off-road (or BMX) experience will have little trouble and I think riders of modest ability over the age of eight will enjoy it. The gravel surface is in good shape with just the odd puddle, I think you could ride there year-round.

Adult mountainbikers will negotiate the steep(ish) switchbacks near the top without stopping but my 13 year old accomplices got caught-out on the hairpin turns. Never mind, by then you’re nearly at the top and it’s an easy walk.

Hunter & Matt at Mackie's Rest

The lads at Mackie’s Rest, start of the Beveridge Track.

The fabled Danish ice-cream hut was shut when we rolled across the car-park to the visitor centre but by the time we’d explored the facility and taken in the views the shutters were up and he was back in business. I saved my pennies for cheapo Mickey-D soft-serves on the drive home but they sure did look good, maybe next time.

It wasn’t a long ride, maybe 10 or 12km return (felt a lot shorter) but was well worth the drive across town. Riding in the forest on a groomed trail with no roots, rocks, mud or steep hills is great fun and won’t put the young ones off mountainbiking for life. I need to get back there with my eight year old daughter and some of her mates, it’ll be just perfect.

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