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As is customary with this type of venture, an airport pick-up was first on the agenda. Despite the abundance of Scottish blood flowing through New Zealand’s South Island, the three intrepid Scots planning to road-trip this homely land were all pedigree Caithness-dwellers; rather ironically, a relatively flat and mountainless area of our native land; however, mountain biking was our chosen exploit, and there are few finer locations to explore on two wheels than New Zealand’s alpine island.

‘Just don’t look at those skid marks…’

For the last year or so, Gordy and I had been based in Wanaka and Queenstown respectively. Although unknown to each other at the time, we both planned to return to Scotland – enter Mark – a mutual friend, based in Whistler, with a huge camera and a harebrained idea to bring us all together for the ultimate New Zealand send-off! We had each got into mountain biking in our teens, almost half our lives ago, we had each raced downhill over the years and for each of us the sport was still an important part of our lives, but equally we knew we would be challenging ourselves on this journey. Technically and financially…

Our trusty steed for the trip would be a 1989 Nissan Caravan. The same age as, yet significantly more musical than Taylor Swift. She was a hardy old beast, but lacked many of the creature comforts one might become accustomed to having learned to drive post-millennium.

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UK Adventure: Jacob’s Cracker – The nicest man in mountain biking, Nick Craig, gets some Glaswegian encouragement from Sanny as they see who can clear Jacob’s Ladder without stopping. International Adventure: Iceland – Bikepacking in Iceland. Best bring your thermals. International Adventure: The Scottish Connection – Three Scottish friends meet up for an epic road trip round New Zealand before they all go their separate ways. Interview: David Turner – Chipps talks to the reluctant icon behind this cult brand. Classic Ride: Sutton Bank – This steep Yorkshire road climb is known for being too horribly busy (unless it’s been blocked by a misguided lorry) to ride. But how are the trails away from the fumes of brakes and clutches? Bike Test: Sub £1000 hardtails – We check out three hardtails under the magic figure of a grand. There’s no carbon and no full suspension at this price point, but is there fun? You bet there is! Grouptest: Dropper Seatposts – We check out the highs and lows of the current dropper post market. Grinder: The team bring you goods ridden through the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And possibly a touch of mud. Feature: Trail Leader 3: You literally put your life in the hands of a mountain bike guide. What goes into that experience? Silver Shredders: Mountain bike life doesn’t stop when work does. We look at a bunch of riders making full use of their newfound spare time.