Meet a Burner: Martin Young
Having made a good head start with the Ayr Burners Cycling, we sent one of our founders out to conquer the new world and open up the Auckland Burners section. Martin Young is well known in local cycling circles for being a respected (and generous) photographer, a passionate local cycling advocate, and a local event sponsor through his former web business Digital My Way. As an Ayr Burner, Marty is best known as an adventurer and we were expecting pictures of wild journeys, with rugged effort and broken bikes. Instead we’ve seen an awful lot of pictures of sandy beaches and barbecues.
Where are you and what are you doing?
At this very second I’m sat on the couch watching tv. If we pretend it’s still the weekend, I’m sat on a beautiful white sand beach in Ruakaka drinking beer with some friends from work.
Why did you abandon us?
The very lovely Carola came into my life a couple of years ago (at the Tour de France in Yorkshire no less) and when work moved her to New Zealand I just had to go too. The promise of awesome offroad adventures and a new life in relative warmth and sunshine was the icing on the cake.
How are you settling into Auckland and the NZ life?
I’ve settled in pretty well very quickly. I have work, have made friends and we’re exploring the country at every opportunity. We’ve been to most of the regional parks in the area and are ticking off the many beaches one by one. I only really wear shoes and trousers to work, no longer require a jacket and have more mosquito bites than I can count – they’ve almost turned me kiwi already!
As far as cycling goes it’s very different. In a city of 1.5 million million people there are only two cycling Cycling NZ clubs, although there are a few local community groups starting to pop up. It’s not a surprise though, as the roads in Auckland are wide, fast and full of terrible drivers. The council is starting to invest in good quality cycling infrastructure in the CBD but it’ll be a long time before it feels as safe on the road here as it did in Ayrshire, Glasgow or even London.
All the training and experience passed on by Burners members will definitely come in handy when my bikes eventually arrive.
What, if anything, are you missing from home?
I’m missing family, crisp winter days in the Ayrshire sunshine, Scottish cyclocross, my bikes and all my awesome days on them with the Burners!
Tell us about your local trails?
Because I don’t have my bikes yet I can only really tell you about the ones I’ve researched or walked on. Unlike in Scotland there are very strict laws here about where you can ride a bike off road, so most of the local trails are purpose built in parks and forests around the edges of the city. Duder Regional Park has the best trails I’ve seen here so far, with spectacular views across the Hauraki Gulf that you might not notice when you’re crawling up the 15% gradient from the beach. Further afield there are some amazing looking national cycle trails – everyone should check out the Alps 2 Ocean route (www.alps2ocean.com).
To the north west and south east of the city are the Waitakere and Hunua ranges, which are full of great tar and gravel roads in the hills. You’ll often see some of the local pros, such as Mike Northey and Emily Collins training on these roads at the weekend. Not quite the Ayrshire Alps (they’re covered in rainforest) but I can’t wait to explore.
On South Island, where Carola’s mum lives, there are more amazing gravel roads than you can shake a stick at. If any Burners fancy an adventure holiday then I’ve planned almost entirely off-tarmac routes ranging from 1-12 days. Come on over!
How old are you and what do you do?
I’m a thirty-year-old web developer and project consultant who does a wee bit of cycling photography.
How long have you been cycling?
Long enough to have forgotten when it all started!
How did you start?
My earliest memories are of riding the quiet back roads between Girvan and Straiton with my mum as a kid. When I got a wee bit older I’d go for little adventures in the hills with friends.
What has been your best moment on a bike?
Probably the Inverclyde Water Roads adventure ride with the Burners, beautiful weather on new and exciting trails with good friends. Riding doesn’t get better than that!
What would be your dream ride?
I really fancy the Arran end-to-end off road ride, but the one I’m most likely to do soon is a loop from Picton on New Zealand’s South Island, around two weeks of almost entirely tarmac free riding over remote mountain passes and around beautiful coastal cliffs.
What would be your dream bike?
A Shand Tumshie with Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff hub gears.
Who would be your dream guest at a Burners’ dinner?
Alistair Humphreys and Emma Pooley
You run a cycle photography site – and were known as one of the best snappers on the Scottish CX circuit. What advice have you for capturing good cycling pics?
Research. If it’s a road race or TT, Google Streetview is your friend. Look at maps, get a feel for the parcours and use Streetview to figure out where the best views are. For crits and ‘cross get there early and walk the course. You sometimes get funny looks snapping people on their practise laps but it gives you a great idea of the lines people will be riding in the race and how the light / weather will change the views as the race goes on.
You led us on some great adventures – what ride would tempt you back to Ayrshire?
Other than a lottery win it wouldn’t be hard! Ayrshire has some of the best roads and trails in the world and I’d love to explore them more.
Thanks, and all the best to Martin and Carola as they build a new life in a far-far-away place with sandy beaches, barbecues and wine tours…