One of the things I have loved about blogging about our adventures is sharing cycling tales with people all around New Zealand and the world. Not only does it inspire me to explore different places but through reading about other peoples adventures I have learned a few things along the way.
One of the mad keen cyclists I have meet it Cycle Coach – Janet Stark and together we have teamed up to ask some of the cyclists we follow for their favourite tips to get you on your bike and exploring all of the awesome cycling New Zealand has to offer.
Cycle Coach Janet Stark
Lots of my clients worry that they are not good enough to come on a group ride or are embarrassed by their cycling skills when they attend a coaching session. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are. What counts is your starting point and how you can improve from there. If you don’t get on your bike and try something new you are never going to find out if you can do it or not – Just get on your bike and ride and seek help if need be. Never be embarrassed from trying – be proud of your achievement instead.
Jonny Martin from Paihia Mountain Bike Rentals and Shuttles
Make sure you always carry at least a couple of tools, a chain breaker and a pump – even just a basic multi-tool (and know how to use it). Sounds like a broken record but you might carry it around for 1 year and never use it, but the day you need it- you will be glad you did. Oh, and always have fun!
Belinda from Nduro Events Rotorua
When going downhill, remember heels down and elbows bent, look aggressive but safely get down the decent. Heels down should prevent you from tipping over the handle bars.
Ben from 3xplorenz
Vision: one of the biggest things about driving any form of vehicle is vision and this does not differ to cycling. Look ahead, let your peripheral vision fill in the blanks and ride to your line. Force yourself to never look at your handlebars and look ahead.
Ride under lights: One of the biggest improvements you can make to your riding reiterating the above is to ride off-road under lights at night. This will hone your trail skills, lines, and amazingly your balance. Your mind then, naturally, has less information to distract you.
Be flexible: Strangely this can be taken both physically and metaphorically. Stretching and doing core strength exercises will help you massively on any ride and allow you to control the bike more freely and relaxed. Metaphorically be flexible with where, how and what you ride, change is good!
Julia Founder of Cranksistas & Ambassador for FourForty MTB Park & LIV Giant
Always make sure someone knows where you’re going and make sure your cellphone is fully charged before you go. You never when you might need to call someone, or you’re out a bit later than you planned and you need the torch on your phone
Cycling in New Zealand
Cycling in New Zealand is an amazing way to see the country. It’s slower than by car, but faster than walking! It gets you to beautiful remote places with stunning nature and wildlife. But always check out the grade of the trails. For example on the website of NZ Cycle Trail. Or on the trail websites. The grades go from very easy to expert. Beware! Sometimes a trail consists of different grades.
For example the Motu Trails. You start with an easy, flat 10 km ride on the Dunes Trail (Grade 2), the next 67 km on the Motu Road Trail is Grade 3 (intermediate), and the last part on the Pakihi Track is only for advanced mountain bikers. So read the description of the trails carefully, and make sure everybody in your group is capable to ride the particular trail. It makes it so much more fun!
Tip: you don’t have to cycle the whole trail. Pick the part which matches your skills and arrange a pick up by one of the many tour operators on the New Zealand Cycle Trails.
Nadia from Riding Flow Rotorua
Bring out your inner child and play on your bike. Try rolling over curbs, roots and logs and getting either or both wheels off the ground (on purpose!). Zooming down trails with manic grins is a status to be proud of no matter what age!
Brett Thom – ebike commuter Auckland
Commuting with an electric bike – it’s a cross between cycling and motorcycling except unlike a motorbike you’re silent, which means you are more vulnerable to not being seen. You can be on top of someone faster on an electric bike which, if it’s like mine, can do 40kph without too much effort, means you have to factor this in when riding.
Space, distance from anything that moves is much more important at 40kph compared to 25-30kph. Lane splitting is often safer on a fast-electric bike than, safer than using the bike lane when the traffic is stationary or near too it, it removes or greatly lessens the likelihood of having a car pull into or out of a driveway which happens all the time.