Green is for go-go-go … sort of

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Green is the least threatening colour – Kermit the Frog, Jedi light sabres and easy ski runs. 

Hammy’s Track at Queenstown Bike Park is a reassuring shade of green on the large map at the top of the Skyline gondola. 

The other runs, the ones the colour of death, have scary names like Armageddon and Rock Garden. 

But Hammy’s is Grade 2 – “easy, mostly gentle slopes with some features.” 

I’m not sure whether this is a good thing – this is my first go downhill but I’d expected a little danger. 

There was a bloke up top with what could have been a broken arm but this sounds like a fairly tame sightseeing ride in the country. 

Off we go. I follow Vertigo Bikes guide Paul Angus down the track. It winds through the woods over uneven ground. 

While it’s not steep in a vertigo-inducing way, there’s enough of a gradient to have me pulling hard on the brakes – most of the time. It is, I must admit, slightly scary. 

Something I hadn’t expected were the ‘ups’ – the track frequently undulates so you pick up speed and then crest a small bump. It gives the whole thing an enjoyable rollercoaster feel. 

You could do little jumps. I’m tempted but decide: (a) I’ll take it easy first time down and (b) I’m a pussy. 

At the first stop, Paul tells me to let the bike come up to me as I career over stones, dips and bumps, allowing for more suspension. 

That’s your top tip for this column. 

Halfway down the first run and I can see why the sport is taking off – basically it’s thrilling. 

It’s that sensation of moving at speed again, like other adrenaline sports – even though I’m not really moving at speed, it’s all brake, brake, BRAKE. 

The track winds round hairpin bends, over rocks and dips. It is green but it’s not easy – as a wise frog almost once said. 

’Tis incredibly fun, though. 

Next week I promise to strap on a pair. 

For more information on downhill mountain biking and learning to ride, go to www.vertigobikes.co.nz/skills-classes