Night riding should be on all mountain biker's to-do lists.
There's nothing quite like riding in a single beam without any distractions in your peripheral vision.
It also ensures that you look ahead, not down at your wheel – like any ride, but after dark, an absolute necessity.
It seems to even out technical sections, making them less intimidating.
Old Exit used to have my measure during the daytime, so one evening, I hit in the dark.
Call it counter-intuitive. Nailed it and I was never worried by the drops, stairs and long rooty sections ever again.
Lighting technology has changed radically.
Back in the day, motorcycle batteries, aka bricks, in your backpack, powered the lamps.
My light was made by a sparky mate in Auckland and lit up the forest. That brightness meant a limited battery life and, more than once, a glide down Nursery Hill as it faded, fast.
Nowadays, much lighter batteries and very sophisticated lights make for a more reliable (and even more enjoyable) experience.
Rotorua Mountain Bike Club is running the Good Buzz Night Shuttle on Thursday, July 19.
Registration is from 5.30pm at Waipa carpark, with the Southstar shuttle running from 6pm with 2.5 hours of shuttling, 4 uplifts. $10 for club members. $15 for non members. facebook.com/RotoruaMountainBikeClub/
Last month the Guardian website published a story headlined "10 weird and wonderful derailleurs – and how they changed cycling."
Absolutely correct - derailleurs were a revelation and revolution in cycling when they first appeared over a century ago. They've evolved and improved with some notable landmark versions over 100 years.
The latest iteration for mountain bikes is 1 x 12. I experienced these in the USA last year on three high-end bikes from Pivot, Santa Cruz and Trek.
Gear changing was snappy with close ratios. Many years of riding bikes with trigger shifters meant I felt immediately at home, even after 10 months on my Zerode Taniwha with its grip shift.
The downside of 1 x 12 is it still has bits dangling off the rear axle and the largest cog is the size of a breakfast plate, creating some extreme angles for the chain.
Over 18 months of life with the Taniwha, and I feel I'm seeing the future – a Pinion Technology internal gearbox – though, the derailleur will always be around.
The Taniwha's rear axle is clean and streamlined with a single cog and a chain line that is always straight, no matter what the gear. One thing it can't do is change gear under any load at all. Thinking ahead in unfamiliar territory is important.
The advantage of the grip shift is that it's possible to grab a big handful of gears at any time when the gearbox isn't under load, even when coasting or standing around chatting.
Yes, the gearbox adds weight. If it were in the rear hub, this would be an issue. Instead, the weight is focused where the bottom bracket usually is, lowdown, at the centre of gravity, and in the heart of the frame.
That and the lack of unsprung weight at the rear, means the single pivot suspension works beautifully. The bike tracks very predictably - and still pops when required.
And on an all-carbon build the weight difference is only 500g and the Taniwha is designed right here Rotorua by Rob Metz. More at www.zerodebikes.com