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little did she know

 

Head180713At Nzo we are more or less always working. I can’t go on a bike ride without it turning into a long term product test, a market share survey, or a focus group.

On the other hand, we are almost never ‘working’. Say we won lotto. Or you each decided to spontaneously email 5 of your friends and tell them they can’t live without the world-renowned luxury of Dobies. And they believed you. I would probably still get up in the morning and do this. And later on, this. I just might not bother with printing them on t shirts.

A side effect of this blurry boundary between work and the other stuff is that it can look like we don’t do much of anything, so we get invited on midweek excursions. Lately I have joined an exploration squad headed by Simon the DoC ranger, to find more places around here that would make good mountain biking venues.

This week’s effort was hugely entertaining, but unlikely to attract many bike riders. We took about 4 hours to cover 10 kms, but that included a side trip on foot up a steep sided gorge just to make sure that a mountain bike trail in there would be too difficult to build and maintain. It was a ride of extreme technicality. By which I mean really good, really really good, and completely unrideable unless you are a ninja.

Three hours in, at about the 5km mark, we had forded a stream after dropping down a ridiculously steep ridgeline for a long time. In the jungle beyond, we met a group of school kids, hiking to the hut we had passed some hours before. They were all dressed in green, and all stood in a row to one side of the trail, bent forward under their packs, like hobbits. They were cheerful, curious about us, and looking a little shell-shocked. One of them said “have fun!” as we parted company. As an adult, being told to have fun by a school kid is worth bottling.

Anyway, some way further along we met the rest of the party. These were a smaller group, in all sorts of trouble. The girl in the lead looked at us despairingly, as if she appeared pathetic enough our bikes would turn into helicopters and rescue her. Their dreadlocked custodian was tailing the posse, looking way too relaxed for somebody resonsible for 15 teenagers in the wilderness. As we completed our passing manouvre in the tight confines of the trail, the girl in trouble yelled “good luck on the hill!”. She was talking about the ridge they just climbed over, which was a definite walker for us, but only about 20m high. Little did she know that they were in for a 200m climb to a long ridge walk, followed by a decent trot down a root-infested to a hut with no mattresses. We wondered how the rest of the day was going to go for the rasta in charge.