NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

uad782
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NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Wed May 04, 2016 7:15 am

Hi,

I am planning to to a few rides such as Queen Charlotte Track, Old Ghost Road and maybe the Heaphy track in NZ. To maximise my time I plan to drive to the trailheads.

In OZ and OS whenever I tour MTB/rough fire trails I have always used panniers including front low riders as I have hated backpacks.

I am presently resurrecting my old (1994) Avanti rigid MTB for this trip and am after some advice. In the past I have always been slack at packing, carrying way too much gear. I always figure it keeps me fitter. For this trip I think I don't need a tent due to having to use huts so I am wondering if I could get away with using my front ortleibs on the back rack.

Any advice/comments would be appreciated.

I am also interested on peoples opinions of these tracks and whether there are any others I should consider.

Thanks

Dave

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Wed May 04, 2016 11:19 am

Hi Dave,

If you can fit your gear into front panniers then this should work for you. A possible issue is the width of some of the tracks but the front panniers should not be so wide as to cause a hindrance. And you would not want to be carrying too much weight on the more difficult rides such as the Old Ghost Road.

If the panniers don't provide enough carrying capacity you might want to consider bike packing bags. Have a read through this thread:

Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Are you aware of the Kennett Brothers Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails? The difficulty ratings for the various tracks are probably a reasonable guide as to how much you should carry.

You may encounter a conflict of timing - the Heaphy is only open to cyclists in winter, but I have read warnings about the possibility of bad weather on The Old Ghost Road in winter.

Also at certain times of the year the first section of the Queen Charlotte Track from Ship's Cove to Endeavour Inlet is not open to cyclists.

I would certain recommend you consider the Around the Mountains ride - the middle section is not yet complete so you will need to take to the road but the trip across the lake and along the Von Road to Mavora Lakes is stunning. And also sections 2,3 and 4 of the Alps2Ocean ride will take you through fantastic scenery on easy trails.

For a more MTB like route the St James Trail might be of interest, and if you are there in summer the Rainbow Road will be open and is a great ride in itself.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Wed May 04, 2016 10:07 pm

Thanks Ron

I am a dinosaur and don't like to bike packing idea. I am sure it is for some but I have carried a backpack once and I hated it. Likewise placing a roll under the handlebars Would make it tricky to steer in my opinion. I guess bike packing must be OK as lots of people are doing it

Also thanks for the advice regarding trails. I am aware about the conflict but thought late Sept might be ok as Heaphy is open still and wx could be ok for ghost trail. I looked at the round the mtns track and it too looks great.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Thu May 05, 2016 8:24 am

Yeah, if you go in September that would probably work for the Heaphy and the Old Ghost Road. There is still a possibility of light snow on the tops, as I have discovered even in October, so you will need gear for cold and wet weather.

I wouldn't want to carry a backpack myself, but a frame bag would give a bit of extra carrying capacity if the panniers are not enough.

It will all depend on how disciplined you can be with your packing. :D

But the panniers should be ok since you'll probably only need to carry cooking gear and food for a few days. You could put your sleeping bag and change of clothing in a drybag on top of the rack. I find a drybag with a harness such as the Alpkit Gourdon quite versatile as it can be used as a daypack as well.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Thu May 05, 2016 10:04 pm

Thanks Ron

I have ordered the book. Was just over on the north island and didn't see this edition.

Those dry bags look interesting but was thinking of getting an Ortlieb rack pack. Maybe the 31 litre one.

The only backpack I would carry is my camelbak.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby Meditator » Wed May 11, 2016 6:11 pm

Hi UAD, I have been reading a blog by a guy who spent a year cycling around new zealand. He does the Heaphy track and the Old Ghost road though he got a bit lost there.

Look for the blog on crazyguyonabike.com by Patrick Holahan. Its a lot better than most blogs because he does a lot more than most people, is not in a rush and is very upbeat. I haven't yet completed it. It might help you decide.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby Aushiker » Thu May 19, 2016 11:24 am

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"A New Zealand Bikepacking Journey" at Bikepackers Magazine.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby rifraf » Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:54 pm

uad782 wrote:Hi,

To maximise my time I plan to drive to the trailheads.

Thanks

Dave


Please expand :)
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby rifraf » Sun Jun 12, 2016 2:04 pm

Meditator wrote:Hi UAD, I have been reading a blog by a guy who spent a year cycling around new zealand. He does the Heaphy track and the Old Ghost road though he got a bit lost there.

Look for the blog on crazyguyonabike.com by Patrick Holahan. Its a lot better than most blogs because he does a lot more than most people, is not in a rush and is very upbeat. I haven't yet completed it. It might help you decide.


https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o= ... 3480&v=2A3
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:42 pm

Hi Rifraf

Plan is to hire a small car and park at trailhead rather than cycle. Then would get a lift back from one of the services advertised in great trail websites. That was the plan but reading the latest Kennett Bros book maybe you can cycle back to start. I realise I am paying car hire to park it for a few days but it maximises my limited time cycling and not bussing etc.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby rifraf » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:11 pm

uad782 wrote:Hi Rifraf

Plan is to hire a small car and park at trailhead rather than cycle. Then would get a lift back from one of the services advertised in great trail websites. That was the plan but reading the latest Kennett Bros book maybe you can cycle back to start. I realise I am paying car hire to park it for a few days but it maximises my limited time cycling and not bussing etc.


Leaving a vehicle anywhere in NZ for days at a time is not something I would contemplate personally but its something everyone has to make up their own mind about.
If you do go in this direction, I suggest you pour though the insurance fine print with a tooth comb.
People on social welfare in NZ suffer what could be charitably described as a punitive approach by the social services and a few peruses of NZ forums will suggest the widening gap between the haves and have nots.
NZ has the second highest incarceration rate of the western world second only to the USA if that has any baring on the situation.
Its gone from a fairly egalitarian and semi socialist society to something very different and it no longer referred to as the Jewel of The Pacific.
Lots of recent headlines about the amount of people living in cars and under bridges.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:13 pm

I certainly would not leave a rental vehicle unattended at Lyell. It right next to the highway and there is nobody around for miles.

Pretty sure some of the accommodation houses in Westport or Seddonville offer secure carparking and you could get a shuttle or even a heli to Lyell.

Old Ghost Road

If you were planning to ride the Heaphy Track (only open to bikes in winter) first you could organise a shuttle from Collingwood or even Nelson.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:45 am

I am considering using my new Marrakesh for the Old Ghost Rd and Heaphy Trail. Looking at pictures of these trails they are pretty smooth and wide. They are not like the single track of an MTB trail. It appears the main problem with panniers would be using the narrow suspension bridges.

I am considering going for a hybrid setup with my front panniers on the rear, maybe a bag on the rear as well. On the front I am considering a revelate handlebar bag (Sweetroll).

Any comments appreciated. Also would be interested in comments on the sweetroll.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:37 pm

Gwyn Williams did just that last month. Have a read through his crazyguy blog.

You may want to tackle the Maungatapu Track as well.

Another Great Ride that seems popular is the West Coast Wildeness Trail.

Did you get the Kennett brothers guide book? It's definitely worth having.

Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails

Quite like the idea of tackling the Old Ghost Road, even though the start is kilometres from anywhere (I rode past it last tour). But I don't know if with bad knees I could manhandle a loaded bike down the steps.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:35 pm

Thanks Ron. Yes I bought the guidebook so thanks for advising about that. I will read the blog but I think that is the way to go. I won't have a long leave pass from the family so will probably just do those two this trip.

Thinking of starting in Collingwood and riding the Heaphy. Then not sure whether to ride the old ghost from Sneddonville south of ride around to Lyell and do it the more popular way. The guidebook talks about a link ride but I don't like the idea of having to ford the Mackay River. I even more hate the thought of having to wait if it is in flood. I am into cycling not swimming.

Thanks for the link to CGOAB - it makes me more enthused than ever. From the photos, the track doesn't look very rough. Main issue would be panniers bouncing off which doesn't happen with ortleibs. The rack would need to be well bolted.

I am thinking of camping rather than using the huts.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:36 pm

Well, they say the grade is much easier from Lyell. It all depends how much time you have really.

How long will the Heaphy take - 4 days? 5 days? Then two days to get down the coast and around to Lyell, another 4 days for the Old Ghost Road.

How will you get there and back - fly in and out of Nelson perhaps.

I dunno about camping - at the time of year when the Heaphy is open for cycling, it may well be like this on the tops along the OGR. I think you may be glad to use a hut with a heating stove.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:34 pm

Gwyn has updated his blog. Day two on the OGR: Ghost Lake to Specimen Point.

This why you don't want to start from Seddonville. Skyline Steps - all 302 of 'em. Carrying the bike up would be hard work - then a second trip for the panniers...phew!

And sounds like you will need those mudhuggers. :lol:

So he got it done in three days.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:59 pm

I have bitten the bullet the bullet and booked into do the old ghost road. I currently have Schwable Marathon Mondials 1.75" tyres on the bike.

I am wondering what would be a better tyre to ride this track and the heaphy. Are they really boggy. My memory of the great walking tracks is they are not. The trails look quite rocky so maybe the mondials are the way to go?

I am planning to take the Salsa Marrakesh ...I assume is should be ok.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:44 pm

The Mondials are great touring tyres and would probably be OK on the OGR too. I suspect the Heaphy will be a bit more muddy so perhaps a slightly lugged tyre would be a better choice.

I'm going to use Vittoria Mezcal on the Fargo but that will be for riding mostly gravel roads, not muddy trails.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby KBike » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:34 pm

I have found 90% of the time when on NZ tours I am on tar. I have a VWR and use Marathon 35s. These have been fine on Rimutapu, Clutha river trails and the odd bit of dirt you get anyway. But I recently did the Maungatapa track and its so steep and rough it is, for most of the 5-km climb, a walk-up-hill track anyway. But coming down I'd have been more confident on Smart Sam 1.75". I am starting to think the wider Mondials are way too heavy and sluggish plus the knobs on the Smart Sams are better for faster cornering.

Regarding bike packing, I can easily fit Smart Sam 1.75" tyres on my VWR (and leave the mudguards off) so why not do this small mod on a good tourer for off-road trails? I get its bulletproof quality, hydraulic brakes plus the light system etc. I have my luggage over the rear wheel and out of my way.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:02 pm

KBike wrote:Regarding bike packing, I can easily fit Smart Sam 1.75" tyres on my VWR (and leave the mudguards off) so why not do this small mod on a good tourer for off-road trails?


Yes, something like the Smart Sam is what I was thinking of as a slightly lugged tyre. There are plenty of choices.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby uad782 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:38 pm

Thanks. I am not a great fan of the Schwable MTB line up of tyres. I have had Racing Ralph's and another type and I would continuously get flats. Riding the same trails with Panaracer Comet hard pack tyres and I have had minimal trouble. I suspect the Schwable MTB tyres are made for racing and are not that tough. They are pretty light.

I am thinking very hard about putting Schwable Marathon MTB tyres. This is not one of the Schwable MTB lineup but a touring bike tyre. I have one on my dually and it have had no flats on hard core rocky fire roads. The Marrakesh is supposed only able to handle 2" tyres while the Marathon is 2.1". I will see how my 2.1 comet fits. It is very heavy though. Most of the cycling I am planning will be on single track that most likely will be rocky or boggy.

I also like the Mezcals Ron and am contemplating them as well.

I hate changing tyres with panniers on.

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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:07 pm

uad782 wrote:I am thinking very hard about putting Schwable Marathon MTB tyres.

I also like the Mezcals Ron and am contemplating them as well.


Yes, I didn't make any suggestions initially as I though you would probably have you own preference in MTB tyres, but thought a tyre similar to the Smart Sam would do it.

Forget the Marathon Plus MTB - they weight 1270g each. Crazy.
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby cancan64 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:34 am

Just read that DOC will now/soon permit MTB on the Heaphy Track from May to November (from May to September)
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Re: NZ Cycling Great Rides with panniers or bikepacking

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:19 pm

cancan64 wrote:Just read that DOC will now/soon permit MTB on the Heaphy Track from May to November (from May to September)

A decision on the proposed Kahurangi National Park Management Plan amendment is expected in February.

This will be great thing, particularly for those who want to ride a circuit which includes both the Heaphy and the Old Ghost Road (which may be subject to severe weather conditions in winter).

No doubt local business operators will be strongly supporting this amendment, so approval seems highly likely.
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