The Timber Trail

Postby globe on Thu 25/Jan/18 2:57pm

OK who has done this ? How tough is it? The wife is getting nervous that its a long ride and she's not fit does it compare to the 42nd or W2K or fishers track for example?

Member for: 13 years 6 months

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby jo on Fri 26/Jan/18 1:30pm

It is a long ride, but not technically hard. Its only hard because it is long.
I'd consider the 42 traverse more arduous in many ways. W2K probably is easier (because of distance) but I recall some sections of that being steeper than that you'll experience on the Timber trail.

I'd say - just do it. Make sure you got all the time in the day. If you're staying at Black Fern Lodge bear in mind those added km because they are significantly steeper than anything you'll find on the trail itself.
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Member for: 17 years 1 month

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby davidg on Fri 26/Jan/18 4:13pm

Did it recently with a group of mixed ability, half quite fit and the other half not so fit. Solution was to hire pedal-assist e-bikes for the less fit which was awesome as they didn't feel guilty holding up the faster riders and the faster riders didn't need to keep stopping to wait for stragglers. Even using only level 1 or 2 (of the 5 available assist levels), the e-bikers were faster than the normally aspirated riders so everyone was happy, particularly given the ride to Blackfern Lodge as mentioned is fairly steep and can be a killer at the end of they day (although of course the next morning the opposite is the case)
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Re: The Timber Trail

Postby jimmi71 on Fri 26/Jan/18 4:33pm

The Timber Trail is an awesome will love it.
Comparing it to w2K and the 42nd: it is mostly downhill (like the 42nd), but it is longer. For this reason, it doesn't really compare so much to the w2k where you start and finish at lake level (with lots of ups and downs in between!).

Jo is right, technically it is a pretty easy trail. Take your time and with a reasonable level of fitness, Im sure your wife will be fine. I parked at Ongarue, pedaled along the road to the start of the track, and then cruised back on the trail.

The last 15 or 20km is a real buzz.....
Member for: 5 years 3 months

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby Hawkesbaymtb on Fri 26/Jan/18 4:48pm

I've ridden this trail quite a few times on my own over the years - I generally park up at the campsite in the middle & ride 98% of the trail twice (once each way) over 2 days, splitting it into 3 parts.

Day 1:
* From Pureora ride up and over the hill to the 2nd bridge at 24km point & return to Pureora;
* Drive around into Piropiro campsite (located at the 40km point of the trail)
* Ride back up trail to the 24km point mentioned above & return to campsite;
Day 2:
* Ride from campsite to end of trail (or turn-around at the spiral/tunnel) and backtrack to campsite.

I've come across a range of ability of riders on this trail, from primary aged children thru to retired aged riders and a few cycle tourists on pathway type bikes.
NB: due to some of the gravel road sections which are ridden at higher speed, narrow tyres (pathway type bikes) probably not recommended as prone to punctures, with MTB type bikes best.

Technically, the trail is mostly like riding on a compacted dirt road (ie: Easy) and if you start at Pureora end, then once you've past the 14km mark (highest point of the trail), it's predominantly downhill from there to the end. The first 24km is single-track, after that it's either gravel road, former quad bike tracks or the old tramway.

It's a lot easier than the 42nd Traverse and easier than the Great Lake Trail in regards to sharp corners and short pinch climbs that are on the GLT.

About the time this trail was officially opened (2013), we had a club trip with 23 riders (mostly intermediate level riders) shoot thru the entire 85km trail in 6.5 hours from Pureora to Ongarue, in a single day-trip from+return to Hawkes Bay.
photos - ... 5594851943
video -
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Member for: 18 years 2 months

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby Barbsarama on Fri 26/Jan/18 8:11pm

I’ll add that I rode it in torrential rain with knee deep mud and slippery rock downhills. I rode it with a bunch of mixed ability and mixed fitness and everyone rode what they could and walked what they couldn’t.

I would recommend Epic shuttles and also we stayed at the Lodge on the trail, not black fern. It was great, nice people, clean lodge and good food. Plus bar onsite.

I was really sick when I did it with a bad sinus infection and a chest infection and I managed it even in torrential rain (day two only). A good experience.
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Member for: 11 years 1 month

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby free_rider21 on Sun 28/Jan/18 5:43pm

Anyone got experience with doing it in a single day? Is it a really mammoth day?

I would consider myself reasonably fit FWIW.
Member for: 14 years 9 months

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby jimmi71 on Sun 28/Jan/18 8:28pm

free_rider21 wrote:Anyone got experience with doing it in a single day? Is it a really mammoth day?

I would consider myself reasonably fit FWIW.

Yep! See above: I parked at Ongarue, rode 60ish km on the road to the start, and then 85ish km back to the car in one day. So that was about 145ish km in one day. Started at about 6am and finished late afternoon.

For someone reasonably fit, you could do the track only in one day easy. Take plenty of food and water, take your time and enjoy it.
Member for: 5 years 3 months

Re: The Timber Trail

Postby pushbikerider on Mon 29/Jan/18 10:27am

free_rider21 wrote:Anyone got experience with doing it in a single day? Is it a really mammoth day?

I would consider myself reasonably fit FWIW.

It's a great day ride in one direction for most reasonably fit riders, as others have said take plenty of food and drink, and you will have a great day.

There and back in a day is a "big day" so you will probably want arrange some sort of shuttle, or do it with a group and play car shuttles
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