I can't remember when I first started riding with Leif. I can remember what bike he had though. He had this fully rigid Yeti FRO hardtail (running two chain rings in 1998). At the time I had a Specialized FSR and it was physically impossible to keep up with Leif, even on some of Wellington's gnarliest tracks like the now illegal Lowery Bay track of Rata Ridge. Not much has changed; I still can't keep up. Regardless of what bike Leif is on, whether it's his rigid singlespeed, his SX Trail, or some review bike he's been on for a day. He's been with Spoke since day one, writing a piece on the then new Makara Peak in our first issue, he's is currently part of Spoke's test team and still pens the odd feature in between racing, track building, renovating his house and working full time. Ladies and gentlemen, Leif Roy. - Caleb Smith
How old are you? 36
Where do you live? Welly
Who makes your riding possible? Well, me mostly, but the mixed bag of people I ride with are the ones that make me want to get out and ride. And of course being able to ride with my lovely girlfriend is a bonus.
First bike? HMX HiMax. First mountain bike was a Nishiki Ariel.
Current bike setup - I'm currently riding my trusty old 2007 Specialized SX Trail that I recently managed to pare down to a relatively svelte 31pounds: Marzocchi 55s, ZTR Flow rims, Saint brakes, SRAM running gear, Maxxis rubber.
What's your involvement in SPOKE Mag? Keeping the advertisers happy.
What's your day job and what does it involve? I’m a product/furniture designer but I’m currently working for Optimal Usability who specialise in user centered research, design, and testing. Basically we help people make stuff that is easy and enjoyable to use.
What motivates you to get out of bed and go to work each day? Generally, every day brings a fresh challenge, which is what motivates me. The ride to work is a nice way to start the day too.
What are your plans for the New Zealand winter? Boarding, biking, and maybe (fingers crossed) a mid winter holiday in the French Alpes.
What's wrong with mountain biking? Not much.
What's right with mountain biking? The guy on a crappy hardtail with only a front brake who kept up with Mark and I on our descent of Makara Peak last week . . . . in the wet.
Favourite trail to ride ? Locally? Anything at Wainui. Cheers to Tryfan and friends for all the hard work.
Who do you look up to? As I mentioned the mixed bag of people who get out and ride with me on a regular basis. Especially those who do so irrespective of age, skill, and/or fanciness of bike.
What do you like best about living where you do? The hills.
What do you dislike about living where you do? I little bit of lift access would top it off nicely please.
Favourite piece of bike kit? My Lezyne pump. I love it when old school becomes new school. Plus it looks cool, and it plain works.
How do you feel each time you see yourself on the cover of SPOKE? I’m constantly amazed at Caleb’s ability to manipulate images using Photoshop. I swear I’ve never even ridden most of those trails that appear on the cover.
You are gifted $15,000. What do you buy? Hhhmmm? Honestly a portion of it would go on a Zerode, and the rest would disappear into the ether of house reno’s.
On a Saturday I like to... Ride, renovate, and relax.
Tunes to work to? Anything really. Seems to be a lot of Arcade Fire, and Eva Prowse at the moment.
Tunes to ride to? Well if I’m riding with Caleb it goes something like this: “yabba yabba yabba . . .Ross Schnell . . . yabba yabba yabba yabba . .29ers . . yabba yabba . . “
Favourite all time mountain biker and why? If I had to pick one, it’s hard to go past Peaty for skill, attitude, and contribution to the sport.
What can you not live without? Friends . . . and coffee
Vices? Bikes and coffee
Quickfire q's: Why ride a road bike? To turn a 45 minute commute into a 30 minute commute. Why Ride a MTB? Riding bikes on the road is dangerous. Mountain biking is much safer. Why ride a fixed gear? Regularly exercising your sphincter is good for your health. Why ride a BMX? Well it seems that if you ride one seriously when young it will set you up nicely for mountain biking later in life.
Leif reviewing Avanti's Torrent trail bike