July 06, 2017

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!

July 05, 2017

Mapping Bike Rides

BikeRoll - A new option for planning your Cycle Routes

BikeRoll Website

The most memorable bike trips are always preceded with thorough and careful planning. Obviously, any ad-hoc ride can be very enjoyable but a well-planned trip can lead to the best rides where you do not spend most of the time finding your way and then missing the best bits. And weekends are very precious.
In this post, I would like to present an alternative to all the other route apps that are available to plan your next cycling trip:

Plan your route with BikeRoll

This planning tool can help you to plan tour bike routes. It does not provide a rocket science solution. Rather it has one job and one job only, i.e., make bike route planning easy and simple.

Why use BikeRoll? The main goal of BikeRoll is to make bike route planning as simple as possible. It has a clean and intuitive user interface with no unnecessary buttons and never used features. Nevertheless is it free, there are no premium plans (not even user registration), every feature is available to everybody.

The most distinctive feature of BikeRoll is its color-coded elevation profile. The disadvantage of ordinary altitude maps is that they do not give you enough information about the real difficulty of a particular ascent. The hardness of any slope depends on the length of the route and it is just too much processing for the human brain to figure out the power and stamina needed. Just by taking a quick look on the BikeRoll’s elevation profile, one can have a pretty accurate overview (based on the colours) about the difficulty of the route, e.g., blue is easy, yellow is a bit harder, and red is getting tough. It requires a bit of practising (biking the planned routes) but trust me, it is worth the time.

A non-distinctive, yet very useful, the feature is that the planned routes can be saved and accessed later. What makes BikeRoll unique is that all the saved routes can be listed and accessed easily and fast. Even though BikeRoll has no user registration, a Facebook or Google login is required to authenticate the author of the routes.

When biking any route, especially in the forest, it is easy to get lost. BikeRoll offers real-time tracking directly in the browser on your smartphone. No app install is needed, your actual position is always updated on the map and you can see instantly if you are off the track.
Note that BikeRoll will not record the track its goal is just to keep you on the road. The planned route can be downloaded in GPX format so its data can be used on a smartwatch tracker.

Every bike trip can be ruined by bad weather. We all know how extreme heat, cold, or rain can result in painful cycling. To prevent such unpleasant events, an instant five-day weather forecast is always displayed in the area where the route is planned. Even if such a rough (daily) weather report may not be sufficient, it gives you a general overview that can be very helpful.

BikeRoll is available in multiple languages. The importance of this feature may not be appreciated by native English speaker but for anyone who does not speak English, this can make the difference. At this point, it supports eleven languages and new ones are always added when volunteers are found to do the translations.
Note that this post is not meant to be a thorough presentation of BikeRoll, it rather gives you at a glance why you should give it a try. For a more detailed tutorial please visit:

Plan your route with BikeRoll

BikeRoll Website

December 15, 2016

New Zealand Cycle Touring - Route Planning Maps

As I cycle around New Zealand I have designed cycle touring routes that avoid busy roads and include towns with camp sites. These maps are included below for the benefit of other cyclists. If you want some advice on the best routes for cyclists for the places you wish to visit just send me a message on the contact form bellow.

North Island - Te Awamutu to Taihape
I caught the bus from Auckland to Te Awamutu and then rode to Taihape on the following route.
Route from Te Awamutu to Taihape

This route goes from Te Awamutu to Taihape and goes via Mangakino, Tauramanui and Ohakune all towns that have camping facilities and are not on state highway one.

Cycle Touring in New Zealand - Recommended Northland Route - Northland - Wellsford to Whangarei

This route has been designed with the objectives of staying of State Highway one wherever possible and also so that the route includes most of the attractions that the north has to offer. To get to Wellsford from Auckland you ride from Auckland Central out on the north western bikeway and then up the west coast

The route goes up to Wellsford and then goes up the east coast to Mangawhai and Laings beach which is a spectacular coastline to ride up. The route then takes you across to Dargaville on the west coast using back roads.

Laings Beach

This route was designed by Kit O'halloran based on a ride that he did. He has included a short ride up the 90 mile beach but this can be left out by travelling on the road.
Make sure that you visit the Matakohe Timber museum which is interesting. He can advise further on accommodation and changes to the route if it is too long.

Matauri Bay

Cycling North from Auckland
When riding north from Auckland one of the main considerations is that the State Highway is a very busy narrow road and in places with minimal shoulders for cyclists.
The best strategy is to keep away from main highway one by going up the west coast. However there is one section,from Wellsford to state highway 12, which is a distance of 28 kilometres which is unavoidable.
When you travel this section make sure it is not a public holiday or a school holiday.

The recommended Northern route set out above involves taking a longer route up the East coast to Waipu Cove rather than riding on State Highway One for 28 kilometres.

Cycling South from the Coromandel to Tauranga

The State highway one from Waihi to Tauranga is a very busy stretch of road and you need to ride this section very carefully.
The map below sets out a route that does not go on the state highway 2 for the first part of the ride.

On state highway 2 into Katikati there is a shoulder which you can cycle on but great care must be taken as the road is used by a large number of trucks.

The road after Katikati into Tauranga is also very busy and there are three bridges that do not have a shoulder to cycle on. The strategy here is to wait until the road is clear of traffic before crossing these short bridges. We stayed in Katikati overnight and we were told that a large number of residents work in Tauranga so the road is always busy first thing in the morning which it was.

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