It’s just not practical for many of us to take time off to go riding in the South Island. With only a few week’s annual leave – which is often already earmarked for trips with the kids – Christmas holidays and pretty much anything else that takes place between 9 and 5; trying to swing a bike trip with the mates can often be the beginning of an icy conversation.
But what if you could fly into a place which is not only surrounded with stunning biking roads, but has an operation set-up to supply bikes, gear, routes and tours, where any members of the party who aren’t quite as bikemad as you, can spend the day wine tasting, shopping, sun bathing or cruising? Now, I reckon that would be a much more palatable conversation to have, where you can both have a fun trip, which doesn’t suck up too much annual leave.
FEELING THE BEAT
Beatnik & Co isn’t your regular bike hire outfit, or bike shop come to that. Set up by husband and wife team, Mike and Sam – whose hectic careers have spanned the globe and consisted of all the perils of the stressful corporate jungle – decided it was time for a change. Swapping Doha for Blenheim was a major decision, but the couple has a passion for motorcycles, love the location and spent plenty of time researching locations that would be perfect for a bike hire company.
With Mike originally hailing from Canada and Sam a Kiwi-come-Aussie, they’ve brought their corporate expertise to sunny Marlborough, where the Beatnik shop is certainly turning heads and generating plenty of interest in the sleepy vineyard destination.
Yep, if like me, you’ve always shot straight past Blenheim on the route south, this is winery HQ, with the climate, soil and infrastructure perfect for the production of amber and red nectar. The scale of the vineyards is quite incredible, with stunning buildings which – almost all, feature tasting options in fine surroundings – are sure to be a hit with anyone in your group who isn’t too keen on sampling some of the best riding roads in New Zealand. And the beauty is, while they’re doing that, you can go and have a blast on a Ducati.
Yep, the Beatnik beat runs through to the motorcycles, with the hip nature of the company ensuring Mike and Sam weren’t going to go for a fleet of run-of-the-mill machines. So, for the big bikes there are a fleet of Ducati Scramblers, although there are LAMS versions also available. If hiring some scooters to buzz around the vineyards while enjoying the sun on your neck and breeze on your face is your thing, then there’s the option of Vespa scooters.