Long before the cycle trail wound its way around Mt Pureora, the walking track to the summit held a warm place in my heart. On one of the first dates with my girlfriend, wearing swannies and hats against the cold, we tramped through the cloud forest and overlooked the little-known forest park.

A quarter of a century later and now married to my sweetheart, we switched warm hats for helmets on a ride through memory lane. However, this trip was not just about reminiscing; our two-day journey on the now-popular Timber Trail was to be a data-collection field trip for my work on the first mobile app of our country’s greatest rides.

Riding into the cloud forest, its contorted branches draped in haunting moss
The coldest of winds cut into us in the car park as we quickly unpacked and tested our gear. On my handlebars were three GPS units, two cameras and a smartphone, giving my bike the heavy steering of an old Bedford truck. I pondered the thoughts of other riders at the Pureora car park on viewing my setup: ‘some sort of pedalling gadget geek’ I suspect.

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