I don't know Bryce Lyall well, in fact I've only met him once. Some buddies and I were going for an afternoon shred at Woodhill Forest when we ran into him riding a klunker somewhere near Upland Trail. I can tell you that riding a coaster-brake through singletrack takes a special sort of skill – you've got to float your back foot on the braking point and watch out for slamming on the anchors over drop-offs, lest you jettison yourself over the bars good sir. I'm hopeless at it, but Bryce can smash back a can of VB and shred like one of the denim-clad trail blazers of yore. He's a dude who knows how to have fun – old fashioned fun – something that's easy to forget in this reified era of internet chatter. I'm not sure if he's a mountain biker that just really digs riding bikes, or a cyclist who likes to get rad off-road. It doesn't matter really, Bryce just likes having fun on two wheels, which is what it's all about.
So how old are you?
And where are you based?
Titirangi (Tittycity), Auckland.
What do you do for a living?
What's a good time for you?
Riding bikes – it doesn't matter if it's road, MTB, a booze cruise or fixed gear. Hanging out with my wife, tending to a barbecue, or a few beersies. A couple of horrible friends and I started the Auckland BUNSRLTW Bike Gang, which has grown into a monster. We organise rides, keep away from lycra (unless it's pink), drink beer and eat pizza – it's always a good time.
Your first bike?
The first one that comes to mind is a Raleigh BMX with a coaster brake, a splatter-green paint job and a matching Stackhat.
What is your most recent bike upgrade?
Possibly not the most recent but most fun one was I changed my hardtail from a single speed to a 1x10 setup, which has made climbing a dream. Also Tim at T White's Bikes just laced a Sachs Torpedo 2-speed kickback hub into the back of my klunker – it changes when you brake so you have to remember to brake in even numbers.
How did you get into mountain biking?
Back in the day I lived in Blenheim and I always played around on bikes with friends, going out riding the Queen Charlotte track, the Wither Hills or just hooning along the riverbank in the mud. After that I went and raced road and track for a while then decided that mountain bikes were more fun and got back on board.
In your opinion, what's right about mountain biking?
Road trips, getting outside, meeting people and skids. I love that a first time punter and a wily old pro can both start at the top of a trail, both ride down as fast as they can, meet up at the bottom, chuck around high fives and have a great time. You can't do that so much on a road bike or on the track – the wily old pro will just rip the newcomer's legs off and leave them in tears. Possibly justifiably so.
Oh and riding with your dog, that's something that's big time right about mountaincycling.
And what should change?
Pretty much just gorse. I'd love to go back in time and punchfight whoever introduced it.
Do you have some favourite riding music?
At the moment a lot of J Roddy Walston and the Business, The Devil Makes Three, Gwen Stefani and AC/DC. Aside from that I listen to a lot of nerdy podcasts and audiobooks, especially when I'm out road riding. I'm also partial to heading out to Woodhill Forest and listening to a bit of the cricket on the radio if there's a test match on.
What mountain bike kit can you not live without?
My Gloworm night light, my pink BUNSRLTW T-shirt, a roll of insulation tape, and my wee Park Tools chain breaker – it's got a lot of people out of trouble over the years.
Favourite place to ride?
It's way too hard to pick one place. I think my favourite trail would be Craigieburn in Christchurch. You grind up to the top then fly down all sorts of different terrain. The area around Queenstown and Wanaka is great fun, Rotorua obviously and Wellington has fun trails all over the shop. The riding in South Wales is rad and I still dream about Whistler, Vancouver Island and Silverstar when I go to bed at night.
In Auckland we ride a lot at Woodhill Forest, which is just getting better and better at the moment with all the new trail building going on. And Riverhead Forest is good fun – Ninja is a particular favourite of mine.
Kevin from the Whangarei Mountain Bike Club showed me around the trails they've built up there recently and I can't recommend them highly enough. There's just a small crew up there doing a really good job.
And of course I can't wait to try the new Fourforty Park which has just opened up here in AK.
What are your vices?
Spending money on power tools that I don't really know how to use, cheese, fish burgers.
Favourite trail snacks?
Generally just a warm can of VB.
Describe your riding style.
I was once described as "smooth as a gravy sandwich", but I'm probably anything but.