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Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

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Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

In Dec/Jan I will be visiting NZ for a month, within that time I am cycling North to South in 20 days. At the moment a lot of my route involves riding on the SH1, will this be ok? I am going to be on a full carbon road bike and travelling as light as poss (hostels not camping mainly). Any other hints and tips would be great? Thanks Rob

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1. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

Welcome to TA. It is hard for me to say whether this is OK without knowing how fit you are & how far you can ride in one day.

Akl to Wellington is under 700 Km so lets say 7 days@ 100 kpday (without including Northland - 420 Km to Cape Reinga).

Picton to Invercargill is nearer to 900 km, so there's 9 days - however this assumes that you are camping at exacty the 100 km mark each day. Esp in the SI there are not towns every 100km so you might need to stop after 70 or ride 150 (eg Picton to Kaikoura is 157 km).

You cannot ride on the Auckland motorway, so you'd have to ride down the Great South Road, which would not be pleasant. I don't know what the status of the Waikato Expressway is for bikes.

Unless you are doing this for a serious challenge, I would say scrap the SH1 idea & follow some of the newly developed off-road cycle trails such as Alps-to-Ocean or if your bike is not up to that, take some of the minor highways such as SH8 through the inland SI (McKenzie Country).

Edited: 03 August 2014, 22:05
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2. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

Thanks for the info.

I am riding from Cape Reinga to Wellington in 11 days, and Picton to Bluff in 9 days. The average is a little over 70 miles a day. I have done a similar tour and milage before. I think it will obviously be a challenge but should finish riding late afternoon most days, giving a little time to explore on route.

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3. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

Bear in mind what I said about not being able to cycle on the AKL motorway, which includes the Harbour Bridge, and the fact that much of SH 1 is single lane with soft shoulders. When you work out an itinerary post it here so we can confirm whether there is accommodation, esp on the SI.

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4. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

Have you seen this website:

cycletour.org.nz/places-to-visit-north.html

It has a different premise - ie finding the most scenic routes & is based on camping, but times & distances might help you as long as you can find accommodation.

Nelson-Tasman...
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5. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

NZ roads are narrow and from experience I can say you will be taking your life in your own riding hands. My husband has a head injury from being hit by a car who turned into him, If you can ride the excellent off road track systems I suggest you look into those, and drive between towns. Seriously.

On many of our rural roads there is just enough room for two cars. Use the wonderful cycle tracks that are being developed.

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6. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

I have already booked 95% of my accommodation so, no going back now!!

My stops each day are as follows;

Kaitaia. Paihia. Mangawhai. Auckland. Hamilton. Rotorua. Taupo. Napier. Dannervirke. Otaki. Wellington. Blemheim. Kiakoura. Waipara. Christchurch. Timaru. Palmerston. Balclutha. Invergill.

Hopefully I can/have found good enough riding roads between each place. Needs to be fairly "route 1" given the KM's to be riden. Thanks for advice

Nelson-Tasman...
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7. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

A google search will show the high number of cyclist deaths in nz. I think there have been 3 or 4 this year in christchurch alone. so be aware. As a regular cyclist I stick to the excellent off road cycle ways and paths. its too bad you will have head down, but up and miss the great places off SH1.

The new off road cycle ways such as tasman trail, west coast wilderness, otago rail trail, mountains to sea, great lakes, old ghost road, timber trail and many many others. for more info check this site http://www.nzcycletrail.com/

the trails are designed for cyclists, many of our roads arent.

Edited: 04 August 2014, 20:11
Nelson-Tasman...
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8. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

I think you are missing the best scenery and places along your route. but you will see a lot of road! Last December was wet and the predominant southerly could make some long days. Since you have already set your trip My only other suggestion is to take good massage creme.

Edited: 04 August 2014, 20:16
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9. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

Thanks for the positivity lol.

I will look at those trails you listed, maybe some are ok for a full road bike set-up? Cheers :)

I'm a positive person so I won't get a puncture, neither will it rain or I will get taken out!! ;)

Maybe some roads that run along side the main "SH's" will be doable, but don't wanna get lost.

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10. Re: Cycling the Length of New Zealand.

your first part of the ride is not highway 1 kaitia to Pahia is highway 10 and is not to the same standard as highway 1. Paihia to kawakawa is also narrow, windy and hilly. mangawhai is out of the way, nice spot though. As advised above, you will need ride via helensville as you cannot ride the motorway, through Auckland, but you could ride to devnoport (Auckland) then take a ferry across the harbour to Auckland City itself.

Some points to consider. Stay well left at all times and where possible maintain the fog line (the solid white line on the left of the road) to your right hand side. where high viz clothing and your rear light should be well lit and easy to see. In NZ you must wear a cycle helmet at all times. Riding a carbon road bike there is no room to carry any equipment, so a small back pack will have to carry all your supplies. A carbon fibre road bike is not the ideal cycle unless you you have a support vehicle. remember that NZ is not flat along the majority of the roads so your 120 kilomtres a day may not always be as easy as you are used to. Best of luck and be safe