Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Travel book: Mountain Biking North


Mountain Biking North
by Dave Mitchell
Craig Potton Publishing, $44.99

While the Kennett brothers' annually updated Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides remains the Bible for the country's trails, this and its South Island predecessor are the hymnbooks; their 3D maps and high quality photos are inspirational to any mountainbiker who knows there's more to off-road cycling than John Key's next gently sloped converted rail corridors.

The words aren't bad either, with Mitchell's keen observations of the local flora and geology, handy advice about conditions and hazards, and painstaking directions which thankfully extend to how to get to those often obscure trailheads in the first place.

Focused on 30km-plus big day out point-to-point rides rather than parks and trail networks, it does have a slight technical drawback that many of the maps stretch across the binding which make it difficult for pre-ride photocopying.

Otherwise, it's a book that certainly answers the prayers of North Island riders who might otherwise be pondering expensive pilgrimages to the South for their fix of big-landscape mountainbiking.

- NZ Herald

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