Missing mower puzzles riders

A group of mountainbikers fear trails at Lake Mangamahoe will soon become overgrown, after a mower they kept hidden in the bushes went missing.

New Plymouth Mountain Bikers president Shane Wilson said the mower, a green self-propelled rotary flasher used to keep growth on the sides of the tracks under control, was discovered missing last Wednesday.

Without it, blackberry will boom, spread across the trails and get twisted up in bikers' pedals, he said.

Club members had gone to use the mower but could not find it where they had left it.

"We usually hide it in the bush, cover it with a few branches, we've been doing it for years and never had any problems, but someone's taken a liking to it."

The mower, which is valued at about $3000 is too big to transport easily and the club has nowhere at Lake Mangamahoe to secure it.

"It's not a little mower. It takes two or three guys to lift it and you'd need a trailer to get it out, it wouldn't fit in the back of the car."

Mr Wilson said club members familiar with the bush had scoured it for the mower and despite the machine's khaki paint job, were sure it wasn't just well camouflaged.

"We've looked everywhere and asked everyone that uses it."

However, it's not the first time the mower's gone rogue.

"Once before a good samaritan came across it and it ended up at the police station."

But it wasn't there this time.

It was possible someone had mischievously hidden the mower.

"It could be someone playing a prank," Mr Wilson said.

The club is in the process of applying for grant money to buy a combination mower/mulcher which will cost $7000, but in the meantime have to resort to good old-fashioned elbow grease to keep the tracks clear.

"The only way we could do it is to get some of the guys down there with scrub cutters and weed whackers."

Taranaki Daily News