Aotearoa Bike Challenge – Queenstown Wahine tell us Why biking is awesome

Kat Bulk – Queenstown Trails Coordinator

My love affair with biking got off to a rocky start. I grew up in a hilly Dunedin, and it wasn’t until I was about 10 that I learned to ride. I cut my teeth on pedalling myself dizzy up steep roads and wobbling down again. Despite regular crashing, nothing matched the soaring freedom of roaming by bike.

Road cycling was my first love: meditative, fast, simple – my bike and the road, swooping amongst the mountains and the sky. Queenstown roads are glorious: climbing for days. But you don’t ride a bike in Queenstown for very long without dabbling in the harder stuff. For me road cycling was the gateway drug: enter mountain biking, and the return of wobbly, crashing Kat.

Mountain biking was a lot more challenging than the delicious simplicity of riding road. I had to think, ride dynamically, brake less and dig for a level of testicular fortitude that often remains elusive. But I have persevered, and fear has given way to being head-over-heels for mountain biking too.

There is a lot I love about biking, especially biking in Queenstown.

I love to ride with my talented and patient friends who invariably wait for me to walk / tumble down difficult trails (long after they have mastered them). Following these strong and technically brilliant cyclists has improved my riding no end.

I love to race. Hours and hours of endurance, or ear-bleeding, lung-bursting short events: I’ll take it all! We are so spoiled for choice here with epic events like the Motatapu Coronet Loop Race, the Goldminer, and Coro1200 at Coronet.

I love the trails. The Queenstown Trails are incredible. It’s possible to get almost everywhere off-road and avoiding heavy traffic. The trails are brilliant for commuting and training, and allow me to stitch together a stunning selection of QMTBC tracks with well-timed interludes at cafes and pubs. Given the pressures on our transport infrastructure, trail commuting is wildly convenient and riding to work is the best way to start the day.

I love bikes. The engineering and vision of evolving and improving bike design is stunningly sexy. The intricacy of mechanism, the strength and elegance of frame, the geometry, the suspension, all expertly combined to create a gorgeous velocipedic beast that is thrashed and hammered through terrain that would leave even the hardiest motor vehicle in absolute pieces.

Overwhelmingly though, the thing I love most, is that no matter what sort of day I have had, or where I am riding, or for how long; when I hop on my bike, there is a visceral pleasure and instant sense of peace. When I am riding my bike, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Kat Bulk, Queenstown Trails Coordinator 

Find out more about the month-long Aotearoa Bike Challenge here and Queenstown Trails here.