Wanaka has it all, great people, great food, great ice cream, great views and plenty of outdoor activities! Our Mountain Biking Accident in Wanaka wasn’t part of that awesomeness though (at the time).
None the less we LOVE Wanaka.
Wanaka is simply amazing and one of the can’t miss places on the South Island. There is really no other way to describe it. When we first stepped off the bus in Wanaka we were in awe. The region is hard to describe to we will just give you a visual.
It’s insanely beautiful.
We instantly fell in love and honestly we could have stayed here forever and been perfectly happy. Not to mention all of the activities Wanaka has to offer; kayaking, hiking, canoeing, camping (AKA tramping), and mountain biking. We decided to mountain bike here because we had heard such good things and one of New Zealands best tracks starts in Wanaka, Glendhu Bay Track.
Andy had gone mountain biking plenty of times before, I however, had only ever rode a normal bike on some not so crazy terrain. In fact I own a very adorable cruiser, not a great bike for off roading. There’s no better time to step outside your comfort zone than when you’re travelling though! So Andy convinced me to go. Travelling does after all change you as a person by giving you chances to step outside your comfort zone, it’s a good thing…right?
We rented some Mountain Bikes from Outside Sports. After we got our bikes and left the store Andy told me the basics; lean back, don’t press the brakes too hard, lean into the turns, all that kind of stuff. A green trail was first on our list and then if I was feeling good we would move on to a blue (green being the easiest, blue intermediate, and blacks or double blacks are expert).
Needless to say we did end up doing the blue track and it was a lot of fun! Zig zagging on the path amongst the trees upward to reach the peak where you get an incredible view of the river and lake! It was incredible! Glendhu bay is definitely a great track if you are looking to mountain bike in Wanaka! The track continued on looping back and forth taking us up and down. Our legs carried us and our bikes seemed to do what they were designed to do.
Then it happened…
Out of no where there was a turn, that was so sharp and terrifying. This turn had definitely taken a few victims before me and I wouldn’t be the last. I unfortunately did not turn as sharply as the path did. Unfortunately for me there was also quite a large lip on the back side of the turn. Which meant, my bike tire went down and in but I did not.
I flipped over my handlebars and flew into the air, landing in a prickly bush. The bike landing on top of me.
I screamed and the tears started.
Andy was biking in front of me and quickly heard my calls of distress. He did a great job of holding in his laughter as he turned the corner and saw me laying in a bush, covered in dirt crying like a baby with a mountain bike on top of me. That couldn’t have been easy.
There was no way I was getting back on that bike and riding the rest of this track. The turn I had ate it on turned out to be the second last turn. THE SECOND LAST. I had almost made it to complete freedom injury free, so close.
Thank goodness I didn’t do the rest of the track because the final decent was just a steep hill with a section of small jumps. Andy wasn’t injured so he decided to take the jumps as I walked behind.
He disappeared around the final turn and started hitting the kickers. Then I heard it.
Intense swearing and cursing.
Andy is not one to curse, so when he does you KNOW something bad happened. I thought he had hurt himself pretty badly so I run over to see him. Instead of finding an injured boyfriend, I found him holding his back tire. The tire had come off as he landed his jump.
Now we understand that we ride at our own risk and if you rent a mountain bike you should know and understand that as well.
However, we trusted that the bikes we were renting were going to be safe and wouldn’t come apart as we rode them. We trusted the rental company with checking over the bikes and ensuring they would be safe for our entire ride. Not have a tire literally come off.
Our Wanaka mountain biking adventure had quickly gone from amazing to horrific in a matter of minutes.
When we called Outside Sports to let them know that we were going to be late returning the bikes because a tire had literally fallen off we got no sympathy. No apologies, nothing. In fact they were pretty sour with us about returning the bikes late because the gentlemen has a party to go to. Our safety was less important than attending a party. As we mentioned we understand we ride at our own risk but we expected our bikes to stay together.
Needless to say moral of the story, check and double check your rentals thoroughly before taking them.
The bike ride home was a long one (needless to say). The next day our butts were so sore we could barely move.
Have you ever had a bad rental experience? Let us know about it in the comments!
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