Mark West is a local mountain biker, and this is his MTB story.

"My first attempt at riding a bike, 45 years ago, ended in a rosebush, I'm told," Mark says.

"I'm not blessed with great balance. But I stuck at it, and joined the kids riding to school on Raleigh 20s, choppers and 10-speeds churned out by New Zealand factories. Those were the days.

"Or were they? Physical education classes weren't particularly progressive – traditional sports and regimented exercises. I was unfit and unco-ordinated, chosen last for teams, trailing in every cross-country…and set for a lifetime of inactivity."