Father & Son Heli-Bike The Old Ghost Road


Dave & Sam Heli-Bike The Old Ghost Road

The biking world is literally a buzz with news and stories of the recently completed Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail. Inevitably the white noise and frenetic Chinese whispers will join the ghosts, yet it will without doubt remain an incredibly special trail, and live up to its growing heroic reputation. The visionaries behind this Great Ride have not simply provided New Zealand with another great trail, but a world-class tourism asset and biking Mecca.

The Old Ghost Road is however a unique Cycle Trail which in turn traverses unique terrain, and it is not for everyone. It is a Cycle Trail more than any other which demands a riders full consideration, to assess and match their skills and experience relative to the trail grade and its ambitious terrain. Despite the prerequisite groundwork, this Trail is an epic adventure for competent and prepared riders. This short film is of a Father (Dave) and his 22 year old son (Sam) biking The Old Ghost Road.

The Trail is Grade 4 Advanced, and a remote wilderness experience which requires thorough planning and preparation. There are no towns or shops located along the Trail, so riders must carry all provisions, including a first aid kit. There is limited cell phone coverage, and whilst rain water is provided at each hut, it cannot be guaranteed in periods of drought.

Dave kindly provided a few words to share his experience. It is worth noting that riders are advised to start from Lyell, so they may test their limits along the way, turning back if necessary. You can find more information on trail sections, maps and accommodation here.

Dave’s Story

The Old Ghost Road is certainly mammoth for a weekend mountain biker. There is some serious single track with potentially massive falls if you come off in this 85km mountainous environment.
Sam, my 22 year old son and I solved the major difficulties by flying with Helicopter Charter Karamea into the Upper Mokihinui area and riding north. We landed below Ghost Lake Hut and walked into the technical sections to and down the 300 plus steps. We then had great biking for several hours to our gear and an overnight stay at Specimen Point Hut.
Our final day was a comfortable three hours to the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge. I was impressed by the incredible location, the wonderful mountain range and the seriousness of this intense Great Ride. The main technical difficulties for us were between Ghost Lake Hut and the Skyline Steps. We were blessed with great warm weather, followed by a typical north-wester, along with a very flooded Mokihinui River and side creeks (some were definitely uncrossable).
The Old Ghost Road is a truly outstanding epic mountain bike ride. There is no other New Zealand Great Ride that comes near it. Those without excellent bike skills, mountain and bush skills and great fitness should consider splitting the trip up with helicopter support. It certainly can provide a classic, challenging trip.