Meet Graham Spencely, a local trail builder with his new Mondraker e-Bike
I'd really like to see a proper linked ride over the 3 Peaks (Flagstaff, Swampy, Mt Cargill). Whare Flat has so much potential, i see it as Whakarewarewa of the south. Plenty happening in the forest now, wait until spring!
We recently sold an Mondraker Crafty R eBike to Graham Spencely, who is one of the OG trail builders of Whare Flat. Despite being presented with a crown and the title of 'The King of Whare Flat' by his fellow builders, Graham explains he is “just another trail builder.”
Graham is also on the MBO Committee (Mountain Biking Otago) and has built many trails up by Whare Flat “It's incredibly satisfying to build a trail and see people hooting and shouting as they chase each other down it.”
We got in touch with Graham to find out how he’s getting on with his new Mondraker and how he got into trail building.
- What bike have you just purchased and why did you choose that bike?
I got the Mondraker Crafty R. I’ve been thinking about an E-bike as many riding mates are now "E powered", so I miss them for some rides. Plus I was thinking of getting one so I could session the tracks without needing to shuttle. The chance came along - a Mondraker wheee!!
- Why do you love Mountain Biking?
Many reasons. I used to be a mountaineer and rock-climb at a high level, but the body is damaged and is ageing so I cannot climb at a satisfactory level (for me anyway!). MTB is a way to get out with less impact stress. It's a fun activity and an enjoyable way to exercise. I enjoy both group riding and solo trips. Solo is really relaxing, a get away from it all, it’s time alone; group riding is different social and playful!. I like it in MTB that those people with totally different abilities mostly just get on and mix it up. In Dunedin we have National level riders riding with just anybody.
- How long have you been trail building for and how did you get into it?
I started riding in Whare Flat and met one of the original Whare Trail builders. I was cutting out some fallen branches blocking a trail. Next thing I knew, I was part of the Whare building crew, attending Monday night "dig" sessions. We worked at night in winter with lights and much humour.
- What do you love about trail building?
It's hard work but also great fun when good mates banter with each other. It keeps you fit (no need to attend a gym) and being outdoors. It's incredibly satisfying to build a trail and see people hooting and shouting as they chase each other down it.
I got into trail building more as my dog got older and she no longer enjoys chasing a bike. But she still does enjoy bashing through the bush and finding potential routes.
- Do you have a favourite trail in Dunedin?
There are so many. Old RDS was a favourite. Choko Milk - 80's Bush (as one line from the Bullpen). Nichols Enduro. Big Easy Down. Quarry - Lower Nats . The new tracks around Smeaton Road. So many good trails.
- What was your favourite trail to build?
GT as my first solo trail. London Calling because it's a trail for everybody. Mostly though it’s the trails built as a group because they hold so many memories
- What’s the future for trails in Dunedin?
Whew, difficult question. I'd really like to see a proper linked ride over the 3 Peaks (Flagstaff, Swampy, Mt Cargill). Whare Flat has so much potential, i see it as Whakarewarewa of the south. Plenty happening in the forest now, wait until spring!
- How can people in the community help support the trail builders and the trails in Dunedin?
- By being a member of and supporting MTBO (Mountain Biking Otago) , they are the face of mountain biking in Dunedin.
- By obeying signs e.g. track closed for maintenance and not pretending you missed it.
- By shouting us a beer… or three dozen!
What do you think? Just another trail builder? If you see Graham on the trails speeding around on his new Mondraker, give him a high five.