Leisurely Taieri circuit perfect outing for novices

The Gladfield Rd ford across the Silverstream. This is usually a fun splash, which is easily rideable because of the ford's concrete base. If a fresh has deposited deep gravel on the concrete, or the water level is up, the pedestrian bridge is a good option. Photo by John Fridd.
The Gladfield Rd ford across the Silverstream. This is usually a fun splash, which is easily rideable because of the ford's concrete base. If a fresh has deposited deep gravel on the concrete, or the water level is up, the pedestrian bridge is a good option. Photo by John Fridd.
Some mountain bikers don't like scary single tracks and exhausting hill climbs, so I thought I'd throw a cruisy ride into this series.

This 23km Taieri Tour is an ideal ride for a newbie or perhaps someone training for a leisurely outing on the Otago Central Rail Trail. It includes one little challenge, but don't worry - there's a detour.

Start in Mosgiel, at the corner of Factory Rd and Reid Ave, which leads to the sportsgrounds. We usually start our AOK Social Riders Mosgiel outings here, as we like to finish at a cafe/bar!Ride inland (west) down Reid Ave and turn right on to the Silver Stream track. This trail is a delight, as there's always something to see, whether it be a noisy barbecue party in a backyard or a bunch of kids skylarking in the stream on a hot day.

Follow this track north out of town to its conclusion at a gravel car park (2.3km from your starting point), turn left on to the road and cross the bridge by the airfield. Follow this sealed road around past Fonterra (formerly Fisher and Paykel) and when you reach Dukes Rd at 3.6km, turn right and head towards Dunedin.

At 4.9km, turn left on to quieter Puddle Alley, then left again on to Milners Rd and head south. At 6.8km into your trip, you'll see an intersection at a corner - here, turn right on to unsealed Waironga Rd. This tranquil back road winds under the hills for a short distance before climbing ever so slightly to cross the Taieri Gorge railway - watch for trains! Down the hill, the road morphs into sealed Tirohanga Rd, another quiet rural road popular with cyclists.

After a pleasant pedal south, you'll come to busy SH87, 13km into your ride. Turn right on to the highway, keep as far left as possible, and ride single file.

You are only on this sometimes busy highway for 600m (just as well, you'll say) before turning left on to unsealed Gladfield Rd, another quiet back road.

Stay on Gladfield Rd until you reach our little surprise - the concrete-based Silver Stream ford, at 16.5km.

Usually, this is a fun splash achievable by all and you can blast through, with feet up if you don't want to get wet shoes.

However, for those not so sure about a ford crossing, or if the stream is well up and there's a lot of deep gravel across the concrete, there's a pedestrian bridge here, too.

Just over the ford, on the left you'll see a stile beside the gate, which takes you on to the Silver Stream track once again. Head back into Mosgiel on the trail, the condition of which varies depending on the season. It can be hard and fast, soft and slushy, or even coated with fresh sheep droppings if neighbouring farmers have been grazing stock on it. Lovely!When you reach the Riccarton Rd crossing, avoid the traffic by taking the track down the bank, which crosses under the road bridge. Soon, you'll be back in Mosgiel, where you can cross the main drag and stay on the stream track for the short ride down to the sportsgrounds, where you turn right on to Reid Ave and return to your starting point.

Time for a cappuccino!


At a glance

Distance: 23km.
Skill: Beginner.
Main climb: Just 10m.
Estimated riding time without stops: 1 1/2 hours.