Mt Ida Water Race Bike Ride
1st December 2019
At 7.30am with a trailer loaded with bikes, six people left the car park for a day ride in Central Otago on the Mt Ida Water Race Trail. Two then travelled to Herbert where they joined another couple and two more bikes, all eventually meeting with another couple at Wedderburn. All ten drove along the gravel Hills Runs Road for about ten kms to a carpark. After a few showers south of Hampden the skies had cleared but still looked murky around the hills.
The ride commenced immediately with a stream crossing and a grind uphill on the road for two kms. Four of the riders on E bikes took a detour into view the huts at Falls Dam, coming across four little unidentified long legged chicks and their mum on the road. Finally after twelve kms on the bumpy road, several stream crossings and pedalling into the wind we came to a DOC sign indicating where we were to turn off to the track. Morning tea was taken half way along the gentle ascent at an old derelict hut before reaching the water race. One cyclist disclosed that he had forgotten his bike pants but had found a new use for his knee pad. (Unfortunately it was lost later on) The gradient became easier and with the wind at our backs, we pedalled on down a 4wd track for eighteen kms negotiating overgrown grass and tussocks at times and being careful not to fall in the fast flowing water of the Mt Ida water race. A clearing in the bush provided us with shelter for a lunch break and afterwards we took a short walk up to a hut which was complete with carpet, an outside bath with lid and a coal range to heat the water. Back on the bikes for the last few kilometers the wind gusts became stronger and we encountered a brief shower just before arriving at the cars at about 3pm, without any major mishaps for the day.
Thanks to Jane, Graham, Julian, John, Bronwyn, Ross, Barb, Robbie and Maurice for their company on an enjoyable ride in Central Otago