Sometime during 2017, I heard word of a shuttle accessed bike park being built north of Wellington (my home town). I first caught wind of it when I was still living in Squamish, BC, the 50 to 01 boys were traveling the length of NZ with Jamie Nicoll and a few photos and a little video footage popped up on social media. The content coming out was intriguing, to say the least. Now I don't want to sound like a dick, but how could this be happening and I not know who was behind it?
Over a year has passed since I first caught wind of it and this past weekend I finally got the chance to head up the Kapiti Coast and check it out. My son Elliot and I left the city at 10.30am, picked up Rod Bardsley in Paraparaumu at 11 and got to Dirt Farm in Te Horo a half an hour later. You spend a tiny bit of time on a one-lane rural road getting there, but really it's like 3-5 minutes of the trip, the whole drive really is a breeze and pretty damn painless. If you’re coming from Palmy it’s like a 45 minute drive.
Meeting the owner and mastermind behind Dirt Farm is an experience in itself. After talking with Tim Browne for just minutes you get the feeling he could sell snow to an Eskimo. His passion is for biking in general and Dirt Farm is infectious, and unlike many people who tell you what you want to hear, it's abundantly clear that Tim gets shit done. It is most definitely not just talk. The 12 awesome trails, the accommodation, the roading, uplift vehicles and the general infrastructure at Dirt Farm are proof of that.
The weekend saw two open days, mainly so Tim and his crew could have a dress rehearsal of how things will shake down once the park officially opens on the 2nd of February. Saturday (the day before we arrived) was bone dry with just a little wind, Sunday, well she was a little drizzly (with no wind mind you). The 24 people there to test the trails did not care one bit though, and hysterical giggling could be heard throughout the whole valley. Whilst most of the trails were still rideable in the wet (some a little scary), you may want to wait for drier weather if jumping is your thing. The top of jump trail, Green Room, was pretty slick, but we found that the trail Toilet Bowl dried the quickest and was the most resistant to the wet weather. With all that said and done the Kapiti Coast gets a ton of sunshine and more often than not when its wet in the city it can be sunny and dry up the Coast. The valley where Dirt Farm is located is also surprisingly sheltered from the wind.
After a quick safety briefing, the 24 lucky riders loaded their bikes on to Dirt Farms custom built trailers (Tim and an engineering buddy had designed and welded the racks up just a week before) and headed off to the top of the first drop-off zone. The bike park currently has two drop-off zones and two pick up zones, one shuttle vehicle runs solely on the hill above the cafe and carpark which puts you at the start of six trails, the second shuttle vehicle runs between the first drop zone and a second hill across the valley, opening up even more terrain and six more trails. After talking with Tim there seems to plenty more exciting developments happening in the future, he has an absolutely massive vision for this small slice of the Kapiti Coast and the attitude, determination, and passion to pull it off.
Dirt Farm Map: https://www.dirtfarm.co.nz/trails
Photos & Images: Caleb Smith
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