Mountain Biking the Otago Rail Trail

The Otago Rail Trail was created to promote a family-oriented recreation area.  The trail is approximately 150 kilometers long.  We were scheduled to ride 35 kilometers from Lauder to Wedderburn.  I opted to stay in the back with one of the gals who had only learned to bike in the last year.  We were having a great time, the weather was cloudy and cool…perfect for biking.  Since the trail was built on the old Central Otago Branch Railway Line, it was wide with slight inclines.

Unfortunately it started to pour at the 10 kilometers mark.  It was fairly miserable, but still manageable.  However, my new friend was struggling.  It was her first long trail ride, first time riding in the rain, and she didn’t have the right shoes so her feet slide off the pedals several times.  The bad conditions got the best of her and she had an accident at about 19 kilometers.  I felt terrible for her, but she had a phone and I was able to call our tour leader.  The next riders behind us happened to have a doctor in the bunch.  The doctor checked her out and determined it wasn’t an emergency.  There was a shelter near by, so they helped move her to the shelter while we waited for “rescue”.

By the way, the doctor’s son (who was also there) later ate at the pud near our accommodations and even though he asked if the food had nuts and they said “no”, it did and he had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital.  Luckily it all turned out ok.  What a day.

I had decided I was done, but there wasn’t enough room so I had to ride to Oturehua where there was a cafe.  I was relieved to make it.  It was warm and quite possibly had the best food I ate since arriving in New Zealand…a savory gem.  They are going to try to send me the recipe, but it’s a bit like a mix between cornbread and scone with blue cheese in it.  It’s then split open and cream cheese and roasted red peppers are added.

The owner of the cafe, Jane. and her two daughters, Terri and Kate, were gems themselves.  I spent a lot of time talking to them about the United States and Alaska.  They were curious and had lots of questions.  They’d really like to visit and I hope they get the chance some day.

Our guide gave me and some of the others a break and rode his bike back, got the van, and picked us up.  I just couldn’t see myself continuing in the pouring rain…this is vacation after all.  While waiting for him to get back, we had a great time laughing about the antics of the day.

I think it would be fun to do the entire trail someday.  It’s well planned out with places to eat, drink, and sleep along the way.

Otago Rail Trail Otago Rail Trail

Otago Rail Trail
One of two tunnels we went through. You have to dismount…I really wanted to ride through them.

Otago Rail Trail Otago Rail Trail

Rain Hits
A very wet trail…I swear this photo does not make it look as bad as it was.
Otago Rail Trail
Ummm…spell check maybe?


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