Mountain biking is a sport where some of the people who do it provide the facilities.
Most other sports use places created for the purpose by authorities, or they operate in nature.
Since not long after bikes grew knobby tyres, people have been crafting trails to satisfy their particular requirement.
Over the decades, a lot of that trail development has slid across to be nearer to the “sportsground” model, with government and councils chipping in to support the activities, providing funding, amenities, and sometimes a nuisance factor. There are now professional trailbuilders, but they are still mountain bikers doing the literal hard yards when it comes to the dirt itself.
Some of the original scratchings in the woods have been hugely beneficial to towns nearby for a long time before they started to get some support for their development and upkeep.
A good example is Craters of the Moon just north of Taupo. We have been riding there since the 1980s, and it has always had a special flavour we like. To be honest, I can’t comment on the exact relationships that have allowed Craters to have flourished, but I bet they are complex. There is a pretty cool thermal attraction (like, steaming pits of boiling water and mud) that lends the area its name, and the mountain bike trails wrap around it. The area is also a plantation forest, and is right next to a very plush golf resort. The access point hub that has been developed on State Highway 1 has a very nice carpark, trails that lead to and from town on both sides of the Waikato River, and a cafe that also hosts helicopter flights.
Like I say, complex.
Somehow Bike Taupo, the people behind mountain biking in the Taupo region, got permission and wrangled an underpass to get riders from the hub to the trails on the other side of the main road.
It is an impressive piece of work, as is the network of trails it leads to.
The park got flattened in the recent cyclone, and is now closed.
That is a small and relatively unimportant tragedy in a week of absolute disaster for thousands of people around the country.
They reckon it will take about six months to re-open. It will be a long time before the trail people can start rehabilitating the trails - there is a heap of forestry work needs doing first.
But they will get to it, and they will re-open.
And then they will go and ride it.