Peloton X Specialized Stumpjumper: Backcountry Prep By Liam Friary | Images: Robbie Dalziel   

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In these times, there is a need, or rather a desire, to explore a little closer to home. Being based in a far flung country at the bottom of the world, us Kiwis are pretty lucky to have some incredible backcountry trails right in our backyard. Our mission was to explore deep into the backcountry. Our mode of transport: Specialized Stumpjumper.

When you’re searching for the most remote places, there’s a few things you need to get in order before you ride. As with most tasks that are rewarding, you need to apply effort in order to get the satisfaction you desire. There’s a cost of entry, if you will. 

The cost of entry is how much effort you are willing to apply before, and during, the ride. From searching, scouting, planning, packing, organizing, applying for leave from work (and/or your partner), through to booking huts and motels, arranging buddies or buying supplies (and I suspect I’ve forgotten many more tasks), and that’s before you even turn a pedal! When you finally come to ride, the excitement from all the preparation is overwhelming—you must remember to save some energy for the adventure to come. 

A recent adventure of this nature was on the Moerangi Mountain Bike Track through the Whirinaki Te Pua a Tane Conservation Park, which lies between Rotorua and Taupo. This is a dense and expansive native forest protected by the Department of Conservation in co-management with Te Runanga o Ngati Whare. The area is 65,000 hectares and is littered with Department of Conservation huts. Most of these huts were built by hunters trying to eradicate deer and other pests in the late 1950s. The huts all have their own unique charm, character and history, and arriving at each one is as exciting a part of the trip as exploring the landscape they lie in.

Learn more about the Specialized Stumpjumper