(c) photo: Rebecca Ryan

7 cycle tips from professional NZ travel writers

We asked professional NZ travel writers Sarah Bennet and Lee Slater if they would like to share their best NZ cycle tips. So happy they made time and shared their experiences with us. Thanks guys!

Sarah and Lee are known for their enthusiasm for the NZ Cycle trails, they are keen mountain bikers and have ridden almost every rideable section of trail in the Great Rides network.

The tips; use it to your advantage and enjoy!

1. Travel slowly, you’ll see more!
The 22 Great Rides aren’t a race and while you can finish some in one day, you’ll see and experience a lot more of the local attractions, history and environment if you split the rides up into sections and stay overnight. There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget and shuttles to transport you, your bikes and belongings along most of the rides.

2. Think about guiding
Guiding can add another satisfying element to your cycle trail adventure. Guiding companies, especially those that are official supporters / sponsors of the trails, can relay fascinating stories about the local environment and history, as well as sort out all the logistics for bike hire, transport, accommodation and food.

3. Are you short on time?
If you’re short on time but not cash ;) , heli-tours are available for many of the backcountry trails. It’s also an amazing way of seeing the landscapes from above that you’re going to ride through (or have just ridden through).

4. Mobile phone coverage
Some of the New Zealand Cycle Trails are very remote and rugged with little or no mobile phone coverage (examples include the Old Ghost Road and Mountains To Sea). At least one rider in your group should take a New Zealand-appropriate personal locator beacon (PLB) for emergencies, and know how and when to use it. More info is available from the NZ Mountain Safety Council Website, including where to hire and buy PLBs around New Zealand.

Note: only 406MHz models should be used in New Zealand.

5. Check your mechanical skills
At least one rider should have bike mechanical skills on remote trails. The NZ Cycle Trail and Mountain Safety Council websites have some good information on trail safety.

6. Have a day-ride
Riders don’t have to complete all of the trails; most trails can be spliced and diced into shorter, but no less enjoyable, day-rides.

7. What’s your Level of fitness?
Riders should choose their rides according to level of fitness, bike skills and interests. Detailed trail descriptions are available on the NZ Cycle Trail website. You can also snoop around our website to have a look at our online magazines to get an impression of the trials.

Want to know more about Sarah and Lee?
Check them out on their website or follow them on Instagram: @teambenter.