If you want to branch out from Woodhill or Riverhead, try some closer to town.

1: Tay St, Arch Hill

Only 5km from the city centre, these 5-year-old trails are good for beginners on training wheels right through to hard core (the section known as "Steep Street"). Check out the club's Facebook page, for events like the annual Arch Hill spin or Christmas do.

2: Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo

There was a fair bit of controversy when the park opened four years ago that the much-touted mountain bike and horse trails were suitable for neither. But locals don't seem too bothered, and the 41ha are well used. The 22km of trails, including a 500m kids' trail, plus picnic areas, regenerating bush habitat and stunning views across the Upper Waitemata Harbour offer a great day out.

3: Totara Park, Redoubt Rd, Manukau

This park has a wealth of fitness trails, tennis courts, walks through Puhinui forest, kids' playground and more. The range of mountain bike tracks (off the Redoubt Rd entrance) suit beginners to intermediate, gentle grades, but are challenging at pace. See the club's Facebook page for more information.


4: Royal Albany Trail, Massey University

Until about five years ago, this was a secret track behind Massey University, Albany, but now there's a committed club of 'RATs" who work on the 20km of trail in the tiny bit of bush. The uni gives its blessing, but the club is private. While you're in the 'hood, check out the city's least known bike path (it's not even promoted on Auckland Transport's bike page), which runs off-road from Jack Hinton Drive, Rosedale, through Unsworth Heights to Goldfinch Drive. See rat.org.nz. Download the northern cycling map from at.govt.nz/