For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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The 1200km Great Southern Brevet was run again on the South Island in January. Those with a competitive streak may be interested in entering the event next time it is run. However for back roads tourists the route offers an excellent opportunity to ride parts not usually seen by visitors, and to enjoy the stunning scenery (and some challenging trails).
I travelled parts of the 2012 route on my Gone Fishin' tour, however this year's course has several new sections. Bad weather deterred me from taking one of the more isolated stages travelling solo so I'd like to return and do the full route at some time.
Course map here.
Here's an interesting rider journal about the event.
Last edited by RonK on Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
On my Gone Fishin' tour I rode legs 11 and 12, crossing both the Danseys and Hakataramea Passes and riding through some stunning scenery. I returned to the sealed road to cover what would have been legs 1 and 2, and had planned to ride legs 3 and 4, but the weather forecast was for southerly gales and snow. I was a little worried about crossing the tops under such conditions riding alone and took to the highway again. But such is the flexibilty of this route - you cover some wild and rugged country, but there is nearly always an alternative and (touring fully loaded) you are never more that two days away from a resupply point.
Later I rode leg 6, turning west to Te Anau instead of Mossburn, and on this leg the bad weather did finally catch me out and I rode through snow showers for much of the first day through to Mavora Lakes - it was cold and a little unnerving to someone inexperienced in alpine weather but ultimately no real problem.
And a look at the lakes and rivers on map will tell you why I took my fishing rod. Unfortunately I've never fished for trout before and didn't catch anything...
Here's a crazyguy journal about the event. I've already cycled a few of the easier sections of the route. Would like to attempt the brevet but think it would be difficult to finish within the time limit. An MTB with the bare minimum of gear should make it easier than a loaded touring bike, but jeez I dunno.
Discovered there's also a brevet around the top of the South Island that looks just as interesting. Here's a link to the Kiwi Brevet.
And in 2016 the Tour Aotearoa will be run for the first time. Start preparing now!
Lots of information on bikepacking.net.
Question OT a bit ... just wondering if you think NZ is becoming more and more popular as a cycling destination? . Especially with the ever expanding north south cycling trail opening up.
Why am I asking ... well been offered the job of managing a company / group of shops over there that deal in touring / rentals / guiding etc . It is a big move to make ( again! ) and been starting to research the subject a bit.
NZ has long appealed to self-supported tourers such as myself, these brevets are attracting more and visitors, and there are opportunities for roadies as Chistopher Jones discovered on his Tour of New Zealand. Then there's the Taupo Challenge, Le Race or the inaugural Pedal the Plateau ride, which is being marketed exclusively in Australia, to name just a few. There's also a huge network of MTB trails and MTB events.
It's the Great Trails that probably have the most potential - they're just coming on line now and haven't yet been promoted much, but we know how good the Kiwis are at that. And it seems likely there will be plenty of opportunities to develop services to trail riders. I think these trails will appeal to riders who are reticent about riding on the roads. On my last visit I cycled part of the Otago Rail Trail and was astonished by the popularity of the trail and the availability and quality of services available. Adding to the appeal is the diversity of activities that can be combined into single visit, and of course, stunning landscapes. Hey, the people are friendly and the beer and the wine is (mostly) great.
Could I make a guess that the organisation is Outside?
And you are an expat kiwi, aren't you TLL? You'll be right at home...
Yep I'm a kiwi ... 25 years since I left though, would be a shock to the system going back, but less so after living 6 years in a small French village .
No it's not Outside, actually haven't found them online before, do you have a link?... google is a bit vague on that word.
It would be a reasonably secure position... but would be a tough choice for my wife to leave Interpol over here!. Still it sounds like a fun job and a lot of research ( on the bike ) would be needed over there . At the moment it is just an idea after someone offered me the position, but these ideas have a habit of growing.
My Mum sends me lots of news stuff over quite often about cycling, probably because my home town is Cambridge which has basically become the centre for endurance cycling sports in NZ with the opening of the new Velodrome last month etc. Nice and close to Rotorua as well. But the trail networks opening up over there are quite impressive, especially like you say for people who don't want to ride on the road to often.
Thanks for the links, I also recalled there is a race and/or ride starting at both ends and meeting up in Wellington which looks like it is growing. Plus have been on a few facebook pages of people over there and they are always off doing events.
Although this job would be split between Auckland and Christchurch.
Got to admit I didn't overly enjoy the feeling on the road while riding there at Xmas ... similar problems to Oz with the media etc, only one out right aggresive moment, but I haven't had one of those in 6 years here.
It's Outside Sports. I hired MTB's from them to ride the Queenstown Trail last year, and again in Wanaka. They have a huge outdoors shop in Queenstown and another in Wanaka, plus a bike rental shop in Queenstown and a bike shop in Wanaka.
Saw Prince William opening the Cambridge velodrome. Very impressive facility. I suppose given the NZ winter weather indoors cycling would be popular, there's a very nice velodrome at Invercargill too.
NZ drivers do get bad press, they say the North Island is bad but I've never been bothered on my visits to the South Island. But my visits have all been in spring before the holidays start and the tourists arrive, or in the autumn. Nonetheless, a visit or two to the North Island is on the cards for me (once I've finished the South Island).
The NZ economy seems to be going gangbusters at the moment, and the currency is almost on par with the $AUD. But I've also heard that real estate in Auckland is very expensive.
OK that outside place is more a sports store, think I went into one last time in NZ.
"My place" is more a cycling tour company with shops.
Anyway it will be quite a while till I need to decide, suppose we will see .
Last I looked at the Aus. statistics, 680,000 Kiwis in Aus.
They are here for a reason and its not just the weather.
Pay and working conditions don't generally compare well, particularly for blue collar workers.
The housing on average is appalling by comparison (though without Aussie's terrible levels of asbestos.
And about that weather.......
I liked NZ when it was 2.5 million population but its now around the 4.5 million and that doesn't account the emmigration exodus in search of work, decent wages and conditions.
No its not welfare as Kiwis don't qualify for the dole here without citizenship.
Surly Ogre, Carry Freedom Y-frame Trailer, Extrawheel trailer.
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