“If you have men who will only KOM if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will KOM if there is no road at all.”
Dr David Livingstone.
I start with this completely unadulterated quote from David Meikle’s mad 19th century British missionary/explorer namesake because it encapsulates something of the man. David’s not interested in treading the well-trodden path – you can’t cut fresh Continental tyre tracks in that hard-packed one-track. Rather, he prefers to wiggle, pop and lock through the nasty electric eel infested mud slides of our Jurassic world like the Bushwakers on a Titantron walkabout. Mountain biking is not an al fresco Zumba quad-busting session for Dave, it’s about adventure, exploration and getting down the hill in one piece for a tasty homebrew. If Dave were a missionary, he’d wander out of the jungle preaching the bible of fall-lines and hop schedules, a topomap in one hand and a bag of Nelson’s finest in the other.
David Meikle I presume? How old do you feel and why?
Too old. Climbs beat me and being at the back of the pack can be a bit soul crushing.
What do you do for a crust?
Product manager for W H Worrall & Co. Dedicated mouse wrangler and keyboard cowboy.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Coffee. And only Coffee. Life is nothing without it. Oh, and a wheeling and dealing 9-year-old negotiating his next iPad fix. I think he has a future as an FBI hostage negotiator …
What’s your ideal day off?
Any day out where I can be with good people doing something new and different. Doing it on a bike helps.
Tell me about your bike history. What got you into riding bicycles and why do you keep pedalling?
I think I started many many years ago by borrowing my brother’s bike and riding the Heaphy track, on his Boss Hog with Suntour Express shifters (yep that is a looong time ago). It pretty much snowballed from there and I have had more bikes you can count. It was punctuated for a while by quitting my job every summer and taking the latest Kennet Brothers Mountain Bike Bible and heading around the country hitting up as many rides as I could. I have so many memories of exploring our country doing amazing rides with fantastic people. It is the adventures and the people as much as the riding which keeps me heading back.
In five words or fewer, describe your bike set up.
Where do you usually ride?
Mainly the Hunua ranges or the 440 Mountain Bike Park. Both are a great resource close to my home in South Auckland. Otherwise I just look for something new.
Do you have a favourite backcountry ride?
All back country rides are my favourite. It is something about railing a corner with no idea what is on the other side and no defined line to follow. I appreciate the quick thinking and quick reactions when I get them right!
What’s the ride of the year for you so far?
Easy. Taking very good friends on my favourite seven hour ride which takes in some fantastic scenery, history and riding.
How do you go about finding new rides?
Topomap mainly and a little bit of word of mouth. I can’t help but wonder what all the black dotted line are actually like when you get there in real life.
What are your thoughts on the restrictions placed on mountain biking on DoC land?
I think that DoC is slowly changing its position on mountain bikes and in the next few years we will see a lot more trails being opened for mountain bike use.
Mud: ride enhancer or inhibiter?
Enhancer. Muddy and wet riding is one of the fastest ways to better your skill set.
Everyone has their dream trail. Talk us down a run on your ideal trail (Claudio Caluori exclamations optional).
It would have to be a steep New Zealand native ridgeline covered in buckets of dry crunchy leaf litter and punctuated by epic root sections. It would be at least 4000m vertical (it’s a dream track right?) and it would start bucketing down with rain about halfway. And I would be racing mega-avalanche style with a handful of likeminded people.
What do you get up to when you’re not riding?
My main vices when not riding are hanging out with my family, making beer and trying to slot in an adventure somewhere. My last trip with the family was heading to the Auckland Art Gallery and hanging out in town. My last beer was a Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black clone which is happily bubbling away in my fermenter. My last adventure was a caving trip to Waipu, unfortunately this trip didn’t pan out so well as I found out due to my previous vice I was no longer dimensionally able to take the full trip, but the rest of the trip was amazing. I can’t explain the feeling of lying in a squeeze with you head hanging over a 15m drop while trying to get onto a rope to abseil down.
For the brewing nerds, tell us about your home brewing set up.
My set up is a pretty basic 20 litre brew in a bag setup which gets me about 80 litre a month on average. I have upgraded to kegs and a dedicated dispensing fridge as cleaning bottles gets a bit tiring.
Why did you start brewing beer?
It all started about 3 years ago when my wife decided I might like to try brewing some cider from a kit. It pretty much snowballed from there.
What do you enjoy about brewing at home?
The creative process and being able to make some quality beer is something I really enjoy. That and the look on someone’s face when they first drink it.
How would you describe your riding style?
Not pretty! I am the master of ugly riding and breaking every rule in the style book, many people have been left shaking their heads after following my line. For me it all about getting down in one piece, making it look good is an impossibility!