For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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Have just booked a holiday to do the otago rail trail in NZ after reading about it in cycling australia.
Just wondering if others have done the trail and have some advice.
Giant Defy 1
I've not done it but know two that have (both over 60). Don't think there's much advice other than enjoy yourself, as far as I can tell they did Being a rail trail all the gradients will be virtually non existent (trains aren't big climbers) so it should just be a good fun ride.
"...for many people your life is not worth the effort it takes to pay attention or the extra few seconds they may need to wait before they can safely get around you."-BikeSnobNYC
Haven't done it but keen to do so when I can get over there. I'd be keen to hear some feedback from you about your experience, and any pics of the trail you can get would be great too.
We did it in 2 days from Alexandra to Naseby to Pukerangi. I've heard really good things from people who have done this ride recently. We did it in 2003 and there wasn't much in the way of places to eat along the way. As we there was a drought when we there we had to make do with ginger beer as we couldn't get water.
We stayed at a nice hotel in Naseby but it's a 10km gradual uphill ride to get there after leaving the rail path.
If you have an aluminium pannier rack it might break. We saw 2 cyclists with broken blackburn racks at the pukerangi station that had to catch the bus to get there.
Hope you have a great time.
We found cycle surgery in Dunedin to be a really helpful bike shop when we were in need of some repairs. (we had the bolt a jockey wheel in the r der fall out and the derailleur jammed breaking spokes on both sides of the rear wheel)
V17L - would love to hear how you go, I am very keen to head to NZ to do the trail.
I checked out the trail on utube and there is some great footage of the trail including a version of "getaway's" cover of the trail.
Would love to hear about hotels as well as how you go getting the bike across to NZ.
First read about the rail trail in Cycling Australia, and then read about it on the net from the link Kavika mentions. The company we booked thru will hire bikes to us, eithe rmountain or hybrids. Been toying with talking my own seat though. We will also be walking the Milford Track. Will post when we get back at the end of January.
Giant Defy 1
The GLW, GLD and I all rode the Otago Rail Trail. The trail basically is a 150km horsehoe route, with the top of the horseshoe being 618m above sealevel, at the north end of the route. The trail is packed gravel, easy to ride. The slope is no more than 1:50 (limit of the steam train that used the line) and in most places much less than this. We started by catching the bus from Dunedin to Clyde, where we were fitted out with the bikes. All Giant, and ours were very new. All bikes are replaced annually. We also hired panniers for our lunches and rain gear. We set off and rode to Alexandra, basically flat, running ourselves in. From there the trail starts to gently climb up, as we cycle along the valley. We stayed at the Omakau pub, great friendly atmosphere, a fire, good beer and a really great evening meal. Price $25ish. More than enough food for any hungry biker. The accommodation also included breakfast. We had packed vegemite and cheese, and made sandwiches for lunch. We set off and continued along the valley climbing on the eastern side of the valley. We went thru two tunnels, the first being the longest, with the daylight completely disappearing, but the far end of the tunnel opening up graually as you travelled further into the tunnel. This brought you out into another valley, but now on the western side. Great views and very relaxing. All along there had been a gentle tail wind, from the south. The trail descended into the valley and then started climbing again until the highest point of 618m. The last 4km descended into Wedderburn, really great fun going fast down hill. It started to rain a little, but soon cleared up. We stayed at the wedderburn cottages, very new and spectacular open views from the cottages windows. We had dinner at the Wedderburn pub, great food, same price, servings again more than enough for the hungry biker. Really great atmosphere, very easy to talk to the locals. The cottages had breakfast as part of the accommodation, as well as plunger coffee. Off the next morning into a head wind, but down hill, down the valley towards Ranfurly. Started getting really cold and the rain started a few kilometres after leaving Ranfurly. We went thru the hills and travelled thru the prettiest valley into Hyde, raining all the way. Tired and wet, we stayed at the Pub, where the meal was $35 for a buffet, with more than enough to eat, including pudd. The open fire had around 20 pairs of running shoes all tryning to dry out. Breakfast again was included in the cost. The next day saw the rain clear but had us head into a terrible headwind, along the flats into Middlemarch. We travelled back on the train into Dunedin.
We all agreed the trail should be called "the friendly trail" as the people were very helpful and nice along the trail. The GLW and GLD loved the night times talking to the people who were also travelling the rail trail. Some were travelling form the other direction and gave great details of what we were to expect. The locals have embrassed the trail and this shows. I spend about an hour chatting to a farmer on the second day, just finding out about the district. The trail has brought tourism into the district. The trail has great views as it travels by the sheep farms scattered thru the valleys.
We found the Rail Trail organisation excellent and helpful. They had organised the journey from and to Dundedin. Our bags were dropped off each day at the next place we were staying. For our first bike journey we could not have wanted more. I would recommend the trail to anyone. The amount of training the GLW and GLD had done was minimal, but just taking your time made the journey doable. The only complaint was the bike seats for those who are not use to bike seats. Perhaps a gell pad on top of the seat ould have helps. Knicks helped out with the sore clacker syndrome.
Giant Defy 1
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