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Providing Some R&R: Lublow's Leap

Heading down the remote Baton Valley Road in Motueka, you will come across farmland, rural accommodation, and a cyclist rest stop operated by Richard and Fiona Lublow. Their farm, Baton Run, has a long history dating back to 1906, when Richard’s grandfather, Gustav Lublow, acquired 400 hectares of land, operating a small-scale farm. Gustav’s son Norm, Richard’s father, helped to develop it, and today, it continues to be a commercial sheep and beef farm.

Third-generation farmer Richard Lublow, runs the property alongside his wife Fiona, after purchasing the property from Richard’s family estate in 2005. Since then, they have been expanding to include on-farm accommodation and granted an easement over the land for a bike trail. The pair have been spending their time creating a museum and rest stop for people to learn about the history of Baton Valley and provide cyclists riding the Great Taste Trail with rest and comfort.

They purchased a Strongbuilt shed through Goldpine as it was exactly what they were looking for. “Steve Hendren was the builder who Goldpine put us in touch with. He is a local guy, super efficient, and everything went together with the shed perfectly. It’s a solid Kiwi build using good materials, and it was the right size. We thought we might have spent too much for what we wanted to achieve, but as it turned out, the quality speaks for itself, and we got something pretty special. It’s got a lot of positive feedback, and it really was worth spending that extra money on getting a solid Kiwi product,” Richard said.

“I’m very happy that the roller doors worked really well, because I’m very little. And all I need is a little pole, and they come up and down really easily. The whole shed is working really well for what we wanted it for. The idea of the shed is to provide a stop for the cyclists; they can jump on the Wi-Fi, as this is the most remote part of the trail and there’s no mobile coverage. They can also fill up their water bottles, buy ice cream, and read about the history of the area,” Fiona added.

The museum and rest stop are filled with local refreshments, a vintage tractor, visual and written history about the area, and information on places to charge your e-bike and mobile phone; a perfect place to cater to cyclists coming through on the Great Taste Trail that starts in Nelson and stretches out over 200km. This loop is a popular attraction in the area, with Richard and Fiona emphasising the large number of people coming through their farmland and stopping at their Lublow’s Leap shop.

“We were lobbying to get the bike trail through here and thought we weren’t going to be successful as there might have been better options. It’s been amazing to see the number of people who have taken the opportunity to cycle through the valley. It’s such a remote area, but now it’s becoming more known,” Richard said.

The Lublow’s Leap Bridge is now two years old and connects the Wangapeka side to Baton Valley, the name represents the family connection to the area since 1906. Richard and Fiona lived on opposite sides of the river, yet Richard crossed the river frequently to spend time with Fiona, inspiring the artwork seen on the bridge.

“When it came to the idea that Richard had about providing a rest stop for the cyclists in this isolated spot, the costs were starting to mount up, and we knew that we weren’t going to retrieve all our costs from selling ice cream and drinks, but we still wanted to do the museum. Creating the visual museum panels with a professional writer were going to cost another $10,000 on top of the cost of the shed. Our neighbour suggested getting some sponsorships from local businesses. I tried that, and even though it was going to be difficult, six different businesses came on board really easily and helped us with the cost of the boards,” Fiona said.

Richard is also an avid cyclist himself, with it being one of his favourite recreational activities. He felt as though he could identify with the people that would use the bridge, and it was a familiar association when it came to providing a rest stop for them on their journey too. If you’re in the area, make sure you check out the Great Taste Trail and Lublow’s Leap shop for great hospitality and local treats.