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This Wellington based trail riding enthusiast shares his favourite mountain biking tracks and places to refuel.
As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Dave Nendick rode his bike everywhere - through Central Park, around Kōwhai Park (before it transformed into a built-up suburb), down the hills, and along proto-mountain biking tracks that he and his friends built together, with their little bare hands. That’s where his trail riding obsession began.
Forty years down the line, the now Newtown dweller has scaled up his trail efforts: if he’s not walking the breathtaking trails along the peaks of Mt Albert, Mt Vic or Polhill, or busy with conservation, then he’ll be riding on his Fat Bike with 120mm suspension on a gnarly track at Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park.
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park is my favourite trail in the Wellington region - I’ve been riding there for more than twenty years. I’ve helped to build lots of the tracks, planted countless trees, and along with the team at KATCH 22, have helped to significantly reduce pest populations. For me, it beats some of the other great trail networks we have in Wellington - it’s the largest and caters to beginners looking for introductory and moderate trails, right through to experienced riders looking for advanced Grade 5 or 6 tracks.
I sound like I’m stuck in a rut, but I truly believe that Makara Peak’s beautiful regenerating bush, the 80m long Wild at Heart suspension bridge, amazing bird life, and fantastic views of Wellington's South Coast, South Island, Porirua and Kāpiti Coast, make it a world-class destination that should be shared with friends, family and visitors to our city.
After a day’s riding, we usually refresh ourselves with a few tasty beers from the Garage Project Taproom in Aro Valley. It's handy to the Polhill Reserve trails, which have been built by mountain bikers with the support of Wellington City Council and are shared with walkers and runners. Garage Project support conservation and trail building, so supporting them is a reciprocal arrangement.
I also love grabbing a pie or pastry from AroBake after a huge day on the trails. Their fruit pies are delicious.
Maintaining great trail etiquette is vital to everyone’s shared enjoyment. Smile and say "hello" to everyone. Have fun and help those in need. We can easily share most of the trails, but we all have an individual role to play in ensuring health and safety is covered. Most of our trails are built by volunteer groups, so ride with respect and do your bit to keep them in great condition for others. Grab a pal and get out there!
You too can Find Your Wild on Wellington's Regional Trails. Explore 200-plus walking, running, mountain biking and multi-use trails in and around the capital.