Flashpacking the Timber Trail

Let’s cut to the chase: Our weekend riding the Timber Trail & staying at Flashpackers Ongarue was the best experience we’ve had so far on the New Zealand Cycle Trails. The whole combination of riding, accommodation, transfer and meals was just fantastic.

The Timber Trail is a newish track through the Central North Island in New Zealand. It starts in Pureora and passes through 88km of native bush, regenerating forests, and a former bush tramway line, finishing in Ongarue.

Rem @ Flashpackers in Ongarue offers a range of services, from accommodation, meals, car transfers to bike rentals. You can put together whatever combination suits you. Our plans were:

  • Arrive Saturday night, after dinner
  • Have breakfast on Sunday, and get vehicle transfer to the starting point at Pureora
  • Ride to Piropiro Camp (about halfway along the track), pick up the car, and head back to Ongarue for dinner
  • Monday morning have breakfast, get dropped off at Piropiro, and ride back to Ongarue
  • Drive back to Auckland (about 3 hours).

That was no problem to organise. Even better, there’s no checkout time on the last day, so you can have a shower when you get back, before the drive home.

The Accommodation

Ongarue is only a shadow of its former self. It once had 3,000 people, but with the mill gone, there’s only a few people left. There’s still a few houses left, and Rem has renovated one of them, next to the old General Store. It is a beautiful old 3-bedroom house, with full kitchen, and spa pool. Anna immediately declared:

I’m in love with this house! This is the greatest place you’ve ever taken me!

This was about 2 minutes after arriving, long before we’d even looked around properly, or done any riding.

IMG_6317 IMG_6306 IMG_6308

The house is rented out on a per-room basis, but we were lucky enough to be on our own. So we had our choice of rooms, and the pianola all to ourselves!

IMG_6422 IMG_6312

The spa pool’s just the ticket for after a day’s riding too:

IMG_6408

No need to light the coal range though. The 3 heat pumps kept the house warm & toasty:

IMG_6307

Day 1: Pureora to Piropiro

Strong riders can complete the whole trail in one long day, but it’s better split over two days. The problem is that it’s a point to point ride, and there’s not many entry/exit points along the way. You’ve got a few options:

  • Ride out partway, then turnaround and ride back over the same trail to the start
  • Ride to Piropiro Camp at the halfway point, and arrange a shuttle/pickup
  • Ride all the way through to Ongarue (and organise transport to the start or finish)

There are a few shuttle services available to drop you off, and pick you up, but Rem does something a little different. Using our car, we drive to the start, with Rem and his bike. He drops us off, then drives the car to the halfway point. He leaves the car there, and rides his bike home to Ongarue. We then have as long as we like to reach the halfway point, pick up the car, then drive ourselves back to Ongarue. The advantage of this approach is that we don’t have to get to Piropiro by a specific time – we just need to get there before dark!

The first section of the trail goes straight into native bush that wasn’t logged. Apparently they started by logging the sections further away from town, working their way back in. So then when the logging was stopped, they were left with a native bush section near town.

IMG_0057 IMG_6337

From there it goes through some areas that have been logged more recently, before starting a climb into higher altitudes. The bike trail itself goes to around 1,000m. You can see a clear change in the trees. Look at the mosses that grow on them:

IMG_6339 IMG_6344

The bike trail goes around Mt Pureora, but doesn’t go to the top. There are two marked walking tracks that divert off the main trail to the summit at 1165m. The second one is shorter, but the trail is rough going:

IMG_6358

It took at least half an hour to get to the top, but it was worth it. From here you can see all the surrounding countryside, and across to Lake Taupo:

IMG_6373

IMG_6381

We had lunch at the top, then headed back down and picked up the bikes again. Not long after this we came across Bill, a DOC contractor working on the trails. Even though it was a Sunday he was out working on the tracks, grading a section. The weather was good, so he was out while he good. As he put it, he doesn’t like getting wet, so if it rains he stays home.

IMG_6389

We stopped to have a chat, and found out that he was the one that had put up the small signs on the track showing where some mobile phone coverage was available. Most of the track had no coverage. He’d also put up a small sign pointing out a view of Lake Taupo through the trees. It would have been easy to miss the small gap.

 

The day was getting on by this stage – it was around 2:30pm, and we’d done less than 20km of the 45km we had to cover. The good news was that things opened out from here. More gravel roads, less single track. More importantly, we were generally going downhill, a welcome break after the long steady climbing. So we made good progress over the last section. Much faster than the first.

We did have to stop and take a few photos of the first of the eight suspension bridges on the trail. Very cool, but be warned that these things to wobble about. Keep riding, don’t look down 🙂

IMG_0071IMG_0088

The last part of the trail dips in and out of a few gravel roads, finally winding up at Piropiro camp. Light was fading by the time we got there – I would not want to be any later. We spent about 7 hours on the trail, including the diversion up the walking track. Most people will be a little faster than us, and if you didn’t do the walk you’d have plenty of time.

As promised the car was there waiting for us. From the camp it’s a drive down a gravel road, back the main road. It’s a bit weird to drive the car out from a section you didn’t drive into. The signs weren’t obvious, so we just had to hope we were going down the ‘main’ gravel road. Eventually we hit the tarseal, and we knew we were on the right track.

We jumped in the spa at Ongarue, while Rem sorted out dinner. Long day on the trail, a beer in the spa, and a great dinner. What else could you want?

Day 2: Piropiro to Ongarue

This time Rem goes with us to Piropiro, drops us off, then drives our car back to Ongarue. He gets the day off riding.

I haven’t been out on the bike much recently, so hopping back on for the second day in a row is alway a little tender. We get back into the swing of it, but I spend more time then usual standing up, out of the saddle.

The trail is quite different today. Again, it starts with a climb, followed by mostly downhill. But this time the climb is only for around half an hour. We cross the longest suspension bridge on the trail, separating the two large forestry blocks:

IMG_6430

From there it’s uphill in the bush until we hit the bush tramway. In the early 20th century the timber company built a tramway from Ongarue up into the bush. It took years, and they had to spend vast sums of money before they were able to actually start logging.

The tramway was used until 1958 when flooding knocked out sections of it. Diesel trucks were then becoming viable, so it became a road, before being abandoned to the bush when logging finished.

It has now been cleared out, perfect for mountain biking. The cuttings through the countryside are very clear, making for a mostly level line. Steeper gradients than a regular railway, but better than going up & down every single hill.

IMG_6478 IMG_6507

There are many deep cuttings, and fabulous views out over the valley:

IMG_6486IMG_6447

There’s also a few remnants of the old camps. Some camps had quite a few houses, but these have all gone now:

IMG_6475 IMG_6462

The original track had a spiral section, where they needed to gain a large amount of elevation in a small space. The spiral was closed when the tramway was converted to road, but has been re-constructed:

IMG_6500 IMG_0916 IMG_6495

Huge long downhill sections are lots of fun. Kilometres fly by, but sadly the downhill doesn’t go all the way to the end. The trail levels out a few kilometres from the end, and follows a track alongside a small river. Very pleasant, but if you’re tired after a couple of days, it’s just a little bit more effort than you’d like.

IMG_6508

The trail itself ends about 2km from Ongarue. The last 2km is a mostly flat, quiet tarsealed road. We rolled into Ongarue, and took advantage of the late checkout to get cleaned up before heading home. Tired, but very satisfied.

Special Mention: The Food

You might think that if you’re doing a couple of days of mountain biking, you can eat whatever you like. No chance of gaining weight, right? Yeah, well…Rem feeds you well. Very well. You will not go hungry here. Rem cooked us breakfast both days, and provided a packed lunch for the trail. He also cooked a fabulous dinner. Ask for the recipe for the kumara & butternut recipe.

You’ll need the food on the trail, this is a long way from the Otago Rail Trail. There are no cafes here. We only saw one other person on the track in two days. Plan on taking all your food. You can drink from the streams if you’re low on water.

The kitchen at the house is fully equipped, and you could easily cook your own meals if you preferred.

Do It

Overall: Highly recommended. Both the ride, and staying at Flashpackers. If you can, get a group of 6 together and take over the whole house. I also recommend doing the vehicle transfers the way we did it. Much better than a shuttle.

Parihaka Mountain Bike Park

In the early days of mountain biking, when I was growing up in Whangarei, some trails were built on Parahaki, a 241m hill/mountain that overlooks the city. This is very close to town, making it viable to ride out to the trailhead. So much better than packing up the car to go biking.

Times have changed. I moved away from Whangarei, the trails were lost to logging, and now we call it Parihaka.

We were visiting over summer 2015-2016, and I’m pleased to see that the trails are being rebuilt – see this page, and the maps here.

The trails are the typical logging forest setup – a network of single-track built around a gravel road spine. We started from the Abbey Caves Rd entrance, and rode up some trails, before getting on the main road for the last leg up to the top.

From the top of the trails, you can head across the sealed carpark, and up the steps to the main lookout. You won’t want to do this every time you come up here, but it’s worth doing at least once.

I’ve walked up Parihaka many times, and I’ve ridden my bike up the road a few times, but it was the first time I’ve come up to the lookout via that angle.

IMG_5470 IMG_5472

From there we went back down the trails, looping around a few times to cover almost all of the trails. Lots of fun, mostly good trails. Thankfully it was dry, so the clay soils were good riding. Probably a bit sticky in the wet.

Be warned: These trails do have some tricky bits: See the damage that Anna suffered:
IMG_5478

Note the bruises on one leg, and the bandage on the other ankle. To really rub salt into the wound, after the crash that caused this, the only way out along the trail was via a side track that was almost completely closed in with gorse. When you’re bruised and bleeding, the last thing you need is to get smacked in the face with a gorse bush.

Better hope that the husband has some sugary sweeties in the car to cheer you up when you finally reach the bottom, or things could go bad for both you and him…

Waihi-Waikino

Three years ago Anna I and rode our first part of the National Cycle Trail when we rode the Hauraki Rail Trail, from Paeroa to Waikino & return, and Paeroa to Te Aroha & return.

At the time the trail ended at Waikino, some distance short of Waihi. I’m pleased to report that they’ve finished the Waikino -> Waihi section. On a wet New Year’s Day, Anna & I parked at Waihi railway station, and rode to Waikino & return.

The riding was lovely, except for the rain – that’s why the photos are of us at Waikino station cafe, warming up & drinking hot coffee!

 

IMG_5710 IMG_5716 IMG_5719 IMG_5721 IMG_5723

Whangarei Quarry Gardens

The summer holidays weren’t just about mountain biking. We also took the time to visit the Whangarei Quarry Gardens. As the name suggests, this is a former quarry that has been turned into gardens over the last 15-20 years. Someone had the vision, and plenty of people put in years of hard work to turn it into reality.

I first visited here more than 10 years ago when it was just starting out. At the time it was a lot more bare, but now things have bedded themselves in. Well worth the trip if you’re in Whangarei.

IMG_0373

IMG_0352 IMG_0371 IMG_0381

IMG_0398

Twin Coast Cycle Trail

There’s only one part of the National Cycle Trail network north of Auckland, the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. As the name suggests, it runs from one coast to the other, from the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour.

Unfortunately it has taken a long time to get this trail constructed. Sections of it are open, other parts are due for completion this year, but the middle section has no planned construction date. Most of the trail follows an old railway line, so it should be easy to do, but maybe some key sections were sold off. Disappointing.

But anyway, some sections are open, and we were able to make it an afternoon ride of it. We parked at Okaihau, rode to Kaikohe, had a snack then rode back to Kaikohe.

Okaihau a small town these days – I think you could buy a place like this for a fair site cheaper than the typical overpriced Auckland villa:
IMG_5512

The trail follows an old railway line, so most of it is like this. Either open farmland, or old railway line cuttings, including a tunnel:
IMG_5519 IMG_5530 IMG_5548 IMG_5550

There’s a few sections like this, where there’s a trail parallel to the main trail, with more mountain-bike style tracks, including a few obstacles.
IMG_5566

IMG_5582

There’s also longer loop off the side of the track, 5km of tight twisty single track through the forest. Recommended for a diversion if you’re feeling like something more. Be warned though, after making easy miles along the rail trail, the forest is a lot slower going. Allow the time, food & water if you’re doing that diversion. It’s well sign-posted, and puts you back on the trail a few hundred metres from where you started.

Motu Trails

This summer, whilst visiting family & friends, Anna & I went on a mini-tour of upper North-Island bike trails. One of my uncles lives in Opotiki, so this seemed a good excuse to visit the Motu Trails.

We didn’t have time to complete the whole 90km of the trail, so we parked at the shop by Tirohanga Motor Camp, and rode East along the Dunes Trail, before heading inland up the Motu Road.

The Dunes Trail is all easy going, cruising along close to the ocean. The only annoying bit is the “cyclist-juicers” you have to squeeze through.

IMG_5602

Not quite no hands
Not quite no hands

After a bit of cruising along the Dunes, we headed inland, up one of those New Zealand roads that gets about 4 vehicles a day. There was a feeling of stepping back in time as we headed up the valley.
IMG_5608IMG_5610IMG_5621IMG_5623

After a few kilometres of quiet sealed road, it turns to gravel. New Zealand roads aren’t very good. But even this is bad by our standards – 48km of narrow, winding roads. You don’t want to go too fast around the blind corners.
IMG_0404
You’ve been warned:
IMG_0405

Not a posed shot, or some country club where rich kids ride ponies. Just locals going for a ride
IMG_5641
We meandered up the valley for a while, then stopped for lunch at a nice spot overlooking the river. Then a gentle cruise back down to where we started, for an ice-cream at the shop. Not a highly technical ride, just a nice gentle cruise through beautiful countryside. Perfect.
IMG_5631

We’re hoping to return soon, to ride the Pakihi Trail. This is a more technical, challenging, mostly downhill trail. We’ve got a local contact (Thanks Uncle Barry!) who can drive us to the top of the Pakihi Trail. Hopefully we’ll find a few others to join us. Looking forward to it.

Glenbervie: When Gorse Attacks

While up north this weekend, we took the bikes out to Glenbervie Forest, near Whangarei. I’ve been here many times over the years, but not recently. Turns out things have changed a little.

Arriving at the carpark, I wondered why there were no other bikers there. Normally there’s one or two. We headed out into the forest, noting the signs that showed some areas were closed due to logging. No problem though, we should be able to find some other trails, right?

Not so much. Signs pointed to trails, but they ended like this:

Glenbervie - 01

This wasn’t just a one-off either. Everything was turning into dead-ends.

All my attempts of find good trails were going nowhere. We just seemed to have miles of uphill in the hot sun, with trails non-existent or overgrown. Well, maybe there’s one left – Bluff. That’s one of my favourite trails at Glenbervie. It’s been there a long time, and was always reliable. Let’s head down there.

It started beautifully, with a nice path through pine trees. Didn’t last though – we came up to this:Glenbervie - 11There is a trail through that gorse, if you look closely. The old trail is still underneath it all. There’s a smooth patch of dirt, and it’s a trail I know well from past rides. I thought that it might have just been a short patch of gorse, and we could push through it, but it got worse. Now we had cutty grass to contend with.

Glenbervie - 14

I pushed on past Anna, trying to see if it ever opened up. I kept thinking we’d reach the older forest, and the path would open up. It just got worse.

Glenbervie - 15

But after 150m of bashing downhill through it, I had to admit defeat. The problem is…there was only one way out. Back through the gorse. Uphill. Sigh.

I hauled my bike back up first, then came back and grabbed Anna’s bike. Eventually we made it back up to the forest road. Anna wouldn’t let me try going down any more tracks though. We had to head back down the main gravel road.

I guess the results were inevitable – we both ended up with shredded legs. Over the next few days I pulled at least 20 small thorns out of my fingers. Ouch. I’m not quite sure Ann’s forgiven me.

Glenbervie - 16

Waitawa

For the last day of my summer holidays, we went mountain biking at Waitawa, about 50km south-east of Auckland. This is a new regional park in the Auckland area, that only opened in 2014.

For the last 50 years Waitawa operated as an explosives manufacturing facility. Obviously it was off-limits, even though it occupies a remarkable position overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. But the council purchased the land in 2004, and Orica finished operations in September 2013. Since then the council has been hard at work, re-shaping the park.

Normally regional parks are a lot of bush, with a few walking tracks and campsites. All very sedate. But here they’ve taken a different approach, planning a range of recreational activities within the park. So they’ve built walking tracks, MTB tracks, horse riding trails, disc golf, etc. There’s fishing & BBQ areas, and there’s even a campsite for sea kayaks.

It was a stunning day, and the park & surroundings were looking amazing:

Waitawa

Waitawa

This was our first trip to Waitawa, so it was a bit of an exploratory mission. There’s plenty of maps and signposts, but it was still a little tricky figuring out our bearings. The maps don’t always quite match up with what’s on the ground either.

They’ve had some problems with slips recently, which was limiting vehicle access. Some of the mountain bike tracks were impassable due to slips too, although this didn’t cause any major problems for us. Lack of bikes was a bigger problem – the gorse is encroaching on some trails, because they just haven’t had enough riders through there recently. I’m sure that will change.

Getting started was a bit tricky – we could see trails, but it was a bit unclear which trails were going where, and we had a bit of looping around near the carpark, before we got under way. Once we got onto a nice downhill to Mataitai Bay, we were away!

Wharf Waitawa Rd

Down at the bay, we cruised over to the wharf, to watch someone catch a hammerhead shark. Only a foot long though, so it went back in.

Being summer, it was of course fine and sunny in Auckland, as it always is. Makes for hot and sweaty riding back up the hill. Trying to get around one of the old magazines, we hit blocked off trails and gorse, so had to backtrack and head up the road.

We then went up and over, and down to Waitawa Bay. This track is not marked on the maps as a mountain biking track, but it was signposted. It really shouldn’t be a biking track though – the corners are too tight, and it’s very steep in places, with many steps in the steep sections. A walking track, not a biking track. Still, it got us down to the campsite.

IMG_3717 IMG_3730 IMG_3737

Lunch was the old mountain biking staple:

IMG_3739

Easier to haul up the farm track away from it:

Waitawa 1

Well, maybe a little bit easier. Anna’s face was about the same shade as her top by this time.

From here we headed back toward the main entrance, then picked up ‘Oyster Shell’ and ‘Valley Loop’ to take us back towards the MTB carpark. These trails were nice easy going, smoother than the trails we’d started out on. Some of the tracks are far too tight & steep, but these were perfect – only problem was getting too hot and sweaty on the uphill climb back to the car!

IMG_3742

I’m not sure how well it will ride in the wet, but I look forward to getting back there again before the end of summer, to explore more of the trails to the Western side of the park.

It’s great to see more mountain biking options in the Auckland area. With Fourforty now opening, there’s plenty of choices in the South/East area.

IMG_3755

Goodbye Samson

When I married Anna, I also married Samson, her Bernese Mountain Dog. It didn’t take long before he decided that he was actually my dog. It’s just as well Samson liked me. I don’t think Anna would have married me otherwise. Samson was a unique dog, and much-loved. Sadly now he is gone.

IMG_0561

A Unique Dog

At first glance, Sammy seemed like a big goofy ball of fluff. 45kg, and he loved to run up to people, sit on their feet, and lean further and further into your legs until you just about fall over. There was something about the set of his mouth that made him look like he was happy and smiling. Single men take note: Bernese Mountain Dogs are good for attracting women.

20070722 1

 

He was a happy dog too, with an easy-going, calm nature. People assume that big dogs need a lot of exercise, but it’s not the case. Every morning he would come bustling into the bedroom, expecting his morning walk. But he didn’t need hours of exercise, and was chilled out. He would be happy to spend the day just hanging around the house, sitting at your feet. He might also give you a swipe with a big paw, if he thought you weren’t giving him enough attention.

IMG_0727

He had a tremendous bark, and often put it to good effect, lying in wait behind the fence, terrorising passers-by. But if someone opened the gate, he would either run away, or run up for a cuddle. We joked that the only way he would stop burglars would be by tripping them up.

Samson was a very relaxed, biddable dog. Easy to take for a walk, he would never get far away from you, and would come when called. He did not like being on the lead, but knew that we had to put him on it when near main roads (just in case Dog Control came along). If you needed to go into a shop, you could just tell him to Stay, and he would. Never needed to tie him up. Simple hand actions could make him Sit & Stay, no commands needed.

IMG_0962

He never cared much for food, grazing, only eating what he needed, at odd times throughout the day. He wasn’t hand-fed, so never begged at the table. He was too big a dog to allow that.

We joked that he was at the bottom of the pack, below everyone else. But he had his role in the pack – keeping the pack together. He hated it if we were out walking, and Anna & I got too far apart. If we were out mountain biking, I would ride ahead on the trail, and Samson would be in the middle. If Anna got too far behind, he would turn back down the trail and go and find her.

IMG_0145

He never seemed to think he was a dog. If we met a dog and owner out walking, he was usually more interested in the owner. He didn’t like small dogs – they barked at him. There’s something odd about watching a 45kg dog walk out onto the road to get around a 3kg barking rat.

IMG_3473

I don’t know if he had his routines, and we adapted to those, or if it was the other way around. But he was an important part of our family, and we loved him as much as he loved us.

Notice Period

We’ve known for a while he was dying. 10 weeks ago we noticed some lumps on his throat, which were quickly diagnosed as lymphoma. Big dogs don’t live long lives, but he’d been fit & healthy, and we thought he would live for 10–12 years. It was a shock to find, at 8 years old, that he only had 2 months to live.

So for the last two months of his life, he was spoiled rotten. Walked at least once a day, often twice. Previously only one of us would walk him on weekdays, and we would go out together at the weekend. But for the last few weeks we both walked with him. This was when he was happiest, just hanging out with us.

IMG_2050

We put rugs on the bed, and encouraged him to hop on whenever he liked. He was fed whatever he wanted: large handfuls of liver treats, dog chews, frozen tripe, cheese, whatever he liked. Extra cuddles, extra trips to the beach, anything he enjoyed.

He was always obsessed with cows, so it was a particular highlight one day when we took him to Cornwall Park, and a cow stuck its head through the fence and licked him.

IMG_2408

Sadly he never managed to catch the neighbour’s black cat. I don’t know what he would have done with it if he had actually caught it.

He will be missed

Now he’s gone. The house is empty. For a while, our lives will be a bit emptier too. It will take time to adjust.

IMG_0724

Goodbye Sammy. You were loved, and you will be missed.

1461070_10152316465564186_1700671100_n

Christchurch, Hanmer Springs and Blenheim

We headed up the East Coast of the South Island for our last week. From Central Otago we went to Christchurch via Timaru, then on to Hanmer Springs, Blenheim, and back to Picton for the ferry home.

Christchurch

I had been to Christchurch a couple of times since the big earthquakes of 2010/2011, but both times had just been day trips, and I had not gone into the centre of town. This time we did, and I was somewhat shocked at how torn up much of the city still is, and how much there is to do. There are a huge number of levelled off areas, and still too many buildings that have not been torn down (although they should be). I understand that it takes time, but if I was living there, I would be pretty upset about the rate of progress.

Certainly things are under way, and there’s some pretty cool “temporary” food/shopping/entertainment areas, but I wonder what the long-term impact to the city will be. Businesses have re-established elsewhere – either on the outskirts or outside Christchurch – and I wonder how many of them will return to the CBD. What will that do to the city if it no longer has a strong “heart”? Does it become a soulless sprawl of a place? The current trend, particularly amongst younger people, is to want to live in central areas – what happens if they don’t want to live in Christchurch because it has no well-defined centre? I hope they can get over their inertia, and re-build the city into a place with a strong identity and style, in the way Napier rebuilt.

One of the nice things we did was to catch up with Karen & Hamish, who live in Christchurch these days with their two young kids. Had to have a glass of Lindauer, for old times sake.

Sharing a Lindauer with Karen - click for larger
Sharing a Lindauer with Karen – click for larger

Hanmer Springs

Slightly back inland, and up in altitude to Hanmer Springs, an old thermal resort town. It doesn’t just have hot springs though – they’ve been building a network of mountain bike tracks to go with the walking trails. This was a nice town to stop in for a few days, and take it easy. A nice bit of relatively easy riding, and then a soak in the hot pools. I have to say that Anna and I are not made for sitting around doing nothing. We looked at the people sitting for hours in one pool, and thought “Not for us” – we had more fun spending a bit of time in each pool, working our way around all the pools, then getting out after a couple of hours. Don’t know how you’d spend a whole day there.

The interesting thing about Hanmer is the altitude, and the difference this makes to the weather. It can go from baking hot one day, and then drop down to only 8° the next day. You definitely want to be carrying decent clothing when you’re out on the trails.

Hanmer Springs - click for larger
Hanmer Springs – click for larger

Blenheim

We had a few hours to spare in Blenheim, so headed over to the Wither Hills bike park – Anna was most upset that there wasn’t any wine at the top of hill

Wither Hills - click for larger
Wither Hills – click for larger
About to go over the handlebars? - click for larger
About to go over the handlebars? – click for larger

I’m not really sure what was going on here. I think maybe we’d spent too much time with each other over the last few weeks?

Too long on the road? - click for larger
Too long on the road? – click for larger
Yes, too long on the road - click for larger
Yes, too long on the road – click for larger

And as for this, I think I’m stuck in a giant mousewheel:

Mousewheel - click for larger
Mousewheel – click for larger