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Road Less Travelled

By Francesca Emms

Meet the Krispie Knights, jokingly named after Krispie biscuits for which they have a penchant. They're a group of Eastbourne guys who’ve known each other since their teens. They are usually six, but John came off his bike yesterday and is recovering at Palmerston North Hospital. Dave says it’s the worst scenario they’ve had, ‘but, it’s like playing rugby you know? You take the risk. It’s part of it.’

They all ride adventure bikes, a style of motorbike that’s made for both on- and off-road use. ‘The whole thing about it is that sense of adventure,’ says Dave, ‘and these bikes are particularly good for touring. Back roads, gravel tracks, bush. Quite a range of terrain.’ The Krispie Knights have travelled the length of New Zealand ‘taking the long way’. They avoid State Highway 1, seeking out forgotten areas of the country. Sometimes they join other adventure bikers for organised rides, sometimes they look at maps and plan their own routes, and sometimes they pick a ride from Mike Hyde’s Twisting Throttle New Zealand which documents the 50 most interesting back road trips. ‘We’ve been working our way through them. We must have done at least half of them.’

The Krispie Knights have travelled the length of New Zealand on adventure bikes, a style of motorbike made for on and off-road use.
Left to right: Pete, Jay, Laurie, Clarkie, Dave

Dave says there’s a huge interest in adventure bikes among the 40-upwards age group. ‘We’re all reliving our youth,’ he says. ‘Now that our generation has got older and got more time, there’s a resurgence of older guys getting back into it. You can put money on it that when someone pulls up next to you and takes their helmet off they’ve got grey hair like you.’

Riding together creates a strong connection. ‘You’ve got to trust each other. When you’re riding in a formation with a bunch of bikes you’re putting a lot of faith in your mates.’ From Kaitaia to Bluff, the Krispie Knights have met great people and experienced wonderful sights. ‘We’re going to places you’d never see from the main road. Everyone’s just going up and down the highway. Well, we’re not.’

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Cover of "Capital 49"