One new book from the Kennett Brothers is always an occasion.

Two? Well, that's like Christmas.

Simon, Paul and Jonathan have helped pioneer mountain biking in New Zealand since the mid-1980s.

They are trail builders and story tellers, event organisers and Marin Mountain Bike Hall of Famers.

Advertisement

Legends in every way.

Successive editions of their Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides are the definitive guide, the 'bible', exhaustively researched and rich with information.

The first was black and white and small.

The latest is the 10th, full-colour, 416 pages and a weighty tome. And because there are so many new trails in our country (a growth the brothers have made a major contribution to) it's a guide to their top 40 - from Waitangi in the north to Signal Hill in the South and includes some of the very best from tour region including the Whakarewarewa Forest Bike Park, Pākihi (part of the Mōtū Trails), the Timber Trail in the Pureora Forest and
Taupō's Great Lakes Trail.

It all begins with a beautiful cover photo of the Old Ghost Rd in the South Island. The image is by Sven Martin, one of the world's finest mountain bike photographers, and sets the tone for the very high quality of the book designed by Paul Kennett and Matt Dewes.

You can read from cover to cover. What I've enjoyed, though, is opening it at random, dipping in and out.

Every time is an inspiration. Each trail profile has a route description, 3D maps, elevation charts, essential tips and nearby services. The bonus is the backstory on each of the locations with fascinating and entertaining tales of how they came to be. This includes Whakarewarewa - Fred Christensen's original vision with muscle provided by Red McHale and the Department of Correction community service crews.

The book is a real joy and demonstrates how dynamic the New Zealand trail network is and how it continues to grow, evolve and mature.

Advertisement

'The Swart Brothers, Jack and Stephen' is the second book the brothers have published recently. Written by Russell Jones, this is number 8 in the New Zealand Cycling Legends series profiling some key figures in the history of the sport in this country.

The Swarts dominated New Zealand cycling from the 1970s to the 1990s. This is a compelling read following their careers from road and track cycling here in New Zealand to the international stage including the Commonwealth Games and Tour de France.

Stephen was one of those in the professional cycling community who bravely blew time on drug cheat, Lance Armstrong.

Shunned by many, it was tough for Stephen and his family until he was vindicated when Armstrong finally confessed to Oprah Winfrey. In December, 2012 Stephen was named the New Zealand Herald's New Zealander of the Year.

Both brothers struggled with retirement. However, they forged successful post-cycling careers and, coming full circle, Jack, a successful builder, helped construct the Avanti Velodrome in Cambridge.

As he describes it in the epilogue: "We came from a humble Dutch family; we were never rich just gifted with the physical ability to do what we did. And we wanted to give our kids a better live, too."

Both books are available at McLeod's Booksellers in Rotorua or from www.kennett.co.nz along with their extensive catalogue.