March 19, 2018

Cycle Touring in New Zealand

New Zealand Cycle Touring Routes

This blog includes details of the cycle touring routes that I have ridden over the past few years.
The objective of this blog is to provide cycle tourers with information on the best cycle touring routes in New Zealand.

From my experience there are different types of cycle tourists. Some are keen on achieving goals such as riding from the North Cape to the Bluff while others may concentrate on seeing the best scenic parts of New Zealand. Which ever group you fit in this blog should provide you with valuable information to enable you to plan your route.

Part of the enjoyment of cycle touring is riding on roads that have adequate shoulders or have low traffic volumes and the blog includes strategies to avoid busy roads that have high traffic volumes and inadequate provision for cyclists,

In planning your cycling route it is important to have an idea of what to expect on the ride and based on the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words images of what you will see on the cycle routes have been included. The route descriptions are not intended to provide a turn by turn route description.

To give you a general idea of what to expect when cycling around New Zealand the links below show images and descriptions of some of the rides that I have done. I have included the Nevis and Molesworth rides in the South Island. These rides are on shingle roads and while the scenery is magnificent there are some significant climbs. You can stick to the tarmac and still see lots of great scenery.

Happy pedaling!

Flying with a Bike

There are some important things to remember when travelling by air with your bike.

  • The first thing you need to know is the policy of the airline you are travelling with in relation to the carriage of your bike and in particular to the weight maximum allowed per passenger. Their sporting goods carriage policy can usually be found on the airlines website.  Not all airlines have the same weight restrictions so check that the airline you are thinking of using has a reasonable maximum for each passenger before booking.
  • Airlines usually require bikes to be carried in a bike box while some airlines are not so strict and will allow bikes to be wrapped in plastic. This is good option when on the return journey as it may be difficult to source a bike box from a bike shop. While my wrapping does not look that good it has served its purpose well with the advantage that it less likely to be thrown as is the case with a bike box in my experience.
  •  It is very important to weight your bike and all your panniers and to know your exact combined weight before you get to the airport to ensure that you do not exceed the airline overall weight limit. If you exceed the weight restriction the charges on the excess will be very high. Of course if you take to much gear you will also have to carry all of your gear on your bike which is another strong incentive to take the minimum in gear on your bike tour.
  • You need to include all of your bike gear such as pumps and tools and cooking gear in the panniers and not in your carry on luggage. If they are in the carry on luggage they will almost certainly be confiscated by airport security. And of course you cannot carry cooking gas bottles or similar on aircraft at all. You need to research the availability of these items at the destination where you start your cycle tour.

Bike wrapped in plastic with panniers bag

December 15, 2017

The New Zealand Great Rides App

The New Zealand Cycle Trails project has resulted in the creation of dedicated off-road cycle trails in both the north and south islands. Originally the cycle trails project was intended to create a continuous cycleway from the North Cape to Bluff but this was not realistic given New Zealand's topography.

 What has been created are cycleways in the regions and these projects have had a significant impact on both the local and national economies and no more so than for the struggling rural regions faced with declining populations. The cycle trails are located in some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand with accommodation and cafes along the way catering for all types of riders.

The good news is that there is now an app for both Android and  Apple IOS devices that provides detailed information and maps on each of the New Zealand cycle trails.   This is a well-designed app that is easy to read which is important when you are on your bike. You can download only the rides that you want to and all of the information that you will need to do the ride can be found in one place and is available to you while on the ride. You can find out all the essential things you need to know about each ride with the minimum of effort.

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