Salmon run trail, Queenstown, Photo: Tim Bardsley
As a teenager he explored the hills behind Wakefield on his steel Avanti Montari. He was the reason why no one in class could be late as he commuted to Nelson each day from Spring Grove. As a young person he loved the freedom and independence gained from mountain biking which became a vehicle to explore the local environment.
He founded the Lincoln University Mountain Bike club and opting for the Port Hills versus ‘Bobs’ (the student pub) spent many hours exploring the Banks Peninsula. He attempted racing but really wasn’t cut out for it and had a lot more fun riding with his mates.
Riding and work became merged when he designed and built the first public pump track in New Zealand. He later designed and built adjacent dirt jumps with Kelly McGarry and a number of community helpers.
This became known as the ‘Fire Pit Dirt Park’ in Ngatimoti, Tasman. This park became a centre point for many fun hours encouraging young riders to develop their skills including Damian’s own children Zack and Rosa.
The support he receives from his sponsors makes this possible and he is proud to have developed a strong connection with the Santa Cruz bicycles (Hyperformance Hardware) community in New Zealand and to be supported by the iconic mountain bike clothing company, Ground Effect Clothing. Other sponsors such as Shimano NZ, Lazer Helmets, Sea to Summit Yakima bike racks, Clif Bar, Avanti Plus Richmond, Osprey Packs, Absolute Wilderness, Night lightning and Jetboil NZ help bring these adventures to fruition and provides inspiration to others to get out and shred their local trails.
3 adventurers, a film-maker and a photographer set off on a 6 day, 300km unsupported journey. By combining new bike-packing and pack-rafting technology, they link together white-water rivers and backcountry tracks through some of NZ’s under appreciated wilderness areas. To add to the drama, only months before a massive earthquake changes their plans and reveals opportunities to explore new landscapes.
Old Ghost Road, The Grand Loop Film. Photo: Damian Stones
The top of the South Island of New Zealand has rapidly become a destination for backcountry cyclists. Like all good ideas, this one, to ride the Old Ghost Road and Heaphy Track in one grand loop, was thrown about over a few beers in a bike shop in Richmond, Nelson. Two riders, Damian Stones and Erik Hall completed this 6-day adventure in mid-winter on gravel bikes. Recent snowfalls, and a first bike packing trip for Erik, made this journey all the more challenging.
Rude rock trail, Queenstown, Photo: Tim Bardsley
Heaphy Track, Golden bay, Photo: Grant Stirling
Queenstown, Photo: Tim Bardsley
Old Ghost Road, Photo: Grant Stirling