Category Archives: Richie Johnston blog

Richie Johnston blog

Welcome Rock | Mountain biking New Zealand’s finest water-race

While on assignment for 360queenstown-wanaka, I had the pleasure of  exploring the Welcome Rock and Roaring Lion cycle trail. Described by the Kennett Brothers as “New Zealand’s finest water-race”, I was in for a treat. 

With clear blue skies ahead of me I drove from Wanaka to the Nevis road, which took a little over two hours.
Ski hut is the first of three huts, which offer accommodation high up in the hills of the Central Otago high-country. After parking there, I wrote my intentions in the guest book and started riding anti-clockwise around one of the best Central Otago rides today. There were enough supplies for two days with plenty of chocolate and curiosity.

Historic Ski hut - getting ready to ride
Historic Ski hut – getting ready to ride
Welcome Rock - a place to meet
Welcome Rock – a place to meet

The first part of the trail is a gentle up hill toward Welcome Rock. Smooth berms and corners lined with local schist stone made for fun riding, as I made my way up to the historic meeting point. Welcome Rock was an iconic place of trade over 100 years ago when Chinese miners lived there in search of a fortune. As the story goes, a bottle of whiskey was stashed among the mossy rocks for an emergency drink… After a few minutes of searching, none was to be found!

Continue reading Welcome Rock | Mountain biking New Zealand’s finest water-race

Icebreaker | Ambassador

2014 finished of with fun travels and great news! I have been fortunate create a relationship with a company born and bred here in New Zealand that I have looked up to and respected from day one. Icebreaker have chosen me as one of their ambassadors leading into the new year. Stoked!
It all started when they needed snowboarders for a commercial during the winter. I put my hand up! Before I knew it I was sitting down with their Marketing Co-ordinator and Inhouse Producer a few weeks later. They kindly sent me new merino threads which will be great for the antics ahead – and because it does not hold odor, I will be doing less laundry. Happy days…

Some other good news is finding out that my story on Japan has been selected to feature in Say YES to Adventure Magazine! An amazing New Zealand publication that is raising money to help protect the Rhino and Elephant on the Laikipia Plains in Kenya. Read more about it here. Perhaps your story will feature in Volume 2?

Kid’s Bush | Lake Hawea


3 years and counting! | Kidney donation success

It has been 3 years since my Dad received his new Kidney! A day worth celebrating because it represents so much to my family and I.

A couple of times a year my Dad will make the trip to Dunedin to have a checkup with the Nephrologist. Going by car each time seems a little bring, so this time both Mum and Dad decided to load their bikes to the car… Mum cycled the entire way from Wanaka totaling over 300km in 3 days! Dad has ridden much of that trip before riding as far as Middlemarch which is still an impressive 240km.

All too often people will take health for granted. It is a constant urge to maintain fitness, a balanced diet and well-being that keeps us all healthy. When we pay attention to what our body truly needs we move closer to an intrinsic balance. Move every day, eat & drink well and trust in your bodies ability to deliver. Dad and I are doing great.

It seems my family believe in this idea of a healthy lifestyle. The more km we clock up on our bikes the better we feel. Choose to take the bike more and the car less this Summer. Move more, sit less and keep your Kidneys healthy!

Bike vs Car                 

Back on board with Neversummer & Candygrind

Carl at Winter Imports works hard to ensure that Instructors and leaders in the industry are looked after. He provides the support necessary and helps out the best he can, especially to qualified instructors.

Really looking forward to the Treble Cone season ahead and riding on Never Summer again! Any questions on the gear, just ask.

Never Summer Candygrind Richie Johnston
New kit for the season including the RipSaw!


Touring Italia!

The food coma started to set in… Only 10km from Pienza. We crawled into the small yet lively town. As our bikes bounced over the cobblestone streets, the atmosphere was lively. It was Saturday afternoon and the bustling markets were still thriving. The smorgasbord of Italian delights had overwhelmed us from our lunch stop. We preceded to find a shady spot under some trees and passed out next to our bikes.

Italy Touring route
Taking the back roads through Italy

After seeing some of Croatia 4 years ago, cycle touring through her neighbor Italy, has been a dream for some time. Every tour is a chance to experience and meet the locals and landscape while enjoying the food grown from their land. That extra meal and snack can always be justified when clocking up the kilometers each day! Hollie and I rode around 500km from near Bologna to the outskirts of Rome. 

On tour. The best kind of way.
On tour. The best kind of way.

What we didn’t have when starting out each day we picked up from local shops and markets. Food tastes better when it’s bought from the grower and the owners of shops – especially when asked for in another language. Yes, we mastered a few phrases! An instant level of rapport and connection was made when we used Italian to get what we wanted. Of course using your hands added to the experience!

Streets filled with history and delicious
Streets filled with history and delicious

An unexpected and favorite place we stopped for lunch one day was Grieve. Seriously the best Gnocchi and Ravioli ever tasted! A beautiful balance of flavor and texture washed down with some vino. Responsible amounts of wine, of course were essential so that balance wasn’t compromised. An Italian breakfast consisted of an espresso and cometto (Italian croissant). A fairly rich start to the day but a delicious one at that. “Keep right!” sounded strange at first but important nonetheless as we pulled out onto the roads after lunch with full bellies.

Transporting the essentials
Transporting the essentials

We continued along some incredibly beautiful countryside enjoying the smaller things that often made the difference. I remember clearly these moments, for example a smile and wave from a farmers tending their crops or a curious group of kids checking out the bikes and we had a few interesting looks! The chance of them meeting two Kiwi’s on tour was probably small, plus Hollie did look pretty good in Lycra. Sometimes it probably looked like an Icebreaker commercial as we peddled our way South. We decided to ride as far as Orte and catch the speedy train into the heart of Rome.

Transition points can be challenging
Transition points can be challenging

Rome was huge. It was not even peak season, however we got a good taste of the city as a whole including seeing the museums, art galleries, exhibitions, the Pope and local relics. Sometimes good old fashion people-watching was all the entertainment we needed as we ate lunch on the Spanish Steps. The shopping was pretty good! I resisted the urge to buy a leather fanny-pack and opted for the leather jacket and Italian suit instead. In the back of our minds we visualised how much space we had left in our luggage and how realistic it was wearing it all on the plane to save space!

We had the fortune of acquiring a crevice between a wall and an elevator at the base of an apartment building. It was perfect for stashing out boxed bikes while Hollie and I escaped the city for a few days and checked out the Almalfi coast. Air B&B was useful to find affordable accommodation in just the right location. Once we arrived on the coast we settled into a B&B and hired a scooter which was AWESOME! We clocked up over 100km exploring the narrow roads which lined the stunning coast. Colorful houses checkered the cliffs above small beaches

More art history than you could shake a stick at.
More art history than you could shake a stick at.

It’s incredible what two passionate adventurers can pull off! I challenge you, the reader to choose a bike for part of their trip next time instead of the bus or car. You might surprise yourself how much more full-filling your holiday experience could be. Stay tuned for the video… If you have any questions on cycling and touring, just ask. If you’d like to sponsor our next one, then that’s great too!

Cycling the West Coast

After a surprisingly sunny 50km ride from Fox to Bruce bay we stop for a substantial snack. Broni has driven ahead to prepare one of her infamous road-side buffets which bring smiles to the faces of hungry cyclists.

As I reach for a Tim Tam I hear Betsy, one of the 20 Americans travelling with us scream “Dolphins!” I look down over the beach filled with golden sand and drift wood and spot a pod of Hector Dolphins not far from the shore. I drop my shorts and strip on the spot and scramble down to he beach. As I run half naked towards the water I wonder if anyone is following me. Bounding into the surf, I confirm with myself that those dorsal fins are attached to friendly creatures with small teeth. Splashing around like an idiot making the sounds of a snork about 20 dolphins swim with me!

Continue reading Cycling the West Coast

A NZ Freeride Story Ep. 1

This will be a great story to follow as a great shred buddy of mine Colin Boyd prepares for the World Freeride Tour. Check out his summary of the NZ season while he trains at Treble Cone & Cardrona during the 2013 season here in NZ. Documented in style by Lachlan Humphreys, they paint a unique picture their journey together.

2013 Winter Season: One to remember!

That feeling you get when the pressure is on… deep in the belly and mind. My deep breathes attempt to calm the roller coaster of nerves. As I visualize the course below, flashes of red and blue flags fade away as the mist rolls in over Treble Cone. The NLP skills were coming in handy in both competition and in instructor training.

Continue reading 2013 Winter Season: One to remember!

Treble Cone Opening Day

We were fortunate to enjoy some of the best opening conditions in ten years. Treble Cone put on a great day with lines stretching as far as the Motatapu Shutes. Enjoy the video below made by Jase at Basket Productions.

Treble Cone Opening Day.