JoyRide is a Wellington-based mountain bike skills course company. Started by the high-energy Ash Peters, JoyRide has been running for about six years and offers group courses, private lessons and multi-day women’s and men’s camps in Rotorua and Wellington.
Some of the company’s instructors are also trail diggers in their spare time, but Ash says JoyRide decided to go a bit further last year and become a ‘1% sponsor’ for Trail Fund NZ.
“We couldn't operate without the trails and I think in New Zealand we're so lucky to have access to so many amazing ones – it just made sense that we needed to do a bit more to support the trails that enable us to operate,” says Ash.
“It feels like almost an obligation in the industry that we should be supporting each other. I think if every organisation did their bit and helped each other out by giving some money to Trail Fund then it would be a better place for all of us, because show me a mountain biker who doesn’t want great trails!”
And New Zealand is definitely a gem when it comes to great trails – not only in number but in variety.
“I’ve ridden bikes all over the world and New Zealand is just so diverse,” says Ash. “Anything from the rocky kind of desert stuff down in Alexandra to the high alpine stuff in Queenstown or in the North Island, the Redwoods loam compared with the rocky nuggety trails in Wellington. I mean it's just so diverse in such a small little area.”
Ash says there is something to be said about being part of something bigger through Trail Fund – while JoyRide operates in Wellington and Rotorua, she thinks it’s important for the company to support trails around the whole of Aotearoa.
“New Zealand’s mountain biking community is bigger than any one area or club. If you're a mountain biker in New Zealand, there is probably one degree of separation between yourself another mountain biker and that is really special and unique.
“There isn’t the animosity against clubs that you might see in other places, what I see is a collective group doing cool stuff.”
And Ash has a message for people who ride the trails, but don’t have time to get to trail digs.
“Find another way to help. There are so many different things you can do – give a little pocket money, lead a ride to get more people out, plant some trees, or buy the socks!”