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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tour Aotearoa - Dec 2014 Update

Tour Aotearoa - Dec 2014 Update

The holidays are almost upon us and I hope most of you have some good long rides planned. It’s a great time to gain some experience in the saddle and decide if you really want to ride the Tour Aotearoa. Here is a summary of the event for you to think about while out on your bike.

The Tour Aotearoa is a 3000km ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
It will start on the 23rd February 2016 (this times with a low tide and a full moon).
It is a brevet not a race. There will be no entry fee and no prizes.
Apart from the first day, you can stop and start whenever you like, and wherever you like, so long as you cycle the whole course.
You must complete the course in no less than 10 days (it’s not an exercise in sleep deprivation) and no more than 30 days (that would be an average of 100 km per day).
You are expected to offset the carbon emission from your travel (ie, flights) and donate $100 to one of two charities (yet to be confirmed).

The route has not yet been finalised. There are several places where sections of new off-road trail may yet be completed before the event, in which case, we will adjust the route to use them.
I will send out regular updates throughout 2015.

This is a low-key event. Don’t expect lots of publicity, or any marketing. We are trying to get away from that hyped-up kind of stuff.

This summer you should be doing some multi-day trips, and the shakedown opportunity in New Zealand is the Kiwi Brevet. For more information on that, check out http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.nz/

And if you would like to find out more about Tour Aotearoa, check out http://touraotearoa.blogspot.co.nz/

Have a great Christmas.
Pedal on!

Jonathan Kennett

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tour Aotearoa update - the route

No doubt many of you are keen to know what the 3000 km route of the Tour Aotearoa is. Well, we have spent a lot of time exploring the country and analyzing the many options. This researching is not over yet. I am going to spend the next two weeks on the road looking at more cycle paths/tracks/trails.
But right now we do have a route we can show you. This is provisional and should not go public. We will spend another year refining it.

Here is Google map of the route for you to look at: http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html

Here are some notes to consider while looking at this route.
1. From Cape Reinga to Auckland is fixed. 
2. Heading out of Auckland is not finalised yet and depends on what cycle paths are built by the end of next year. A lot of construction is underway.
3. The Hauraki Rail Trail may be extended both north and south, but if it's not, and if Te Awa River Trail is completed sooner than expected, we may opt to go through Hamilton instead. Watch this space.
4. We might allow shortcutting via the Historic Tractor in Pureora Forest - more details will follow if you need them. At the moment it looks like a crazy dog leg.
5. Track builders in National Park are working towards Horopito, and if they make it in time, we may go from National Park to Ohakune to Taihape. That is more direct, but I doubt they will finish their track in time.
6. DOC in Palmerston North may build a grade 3 track parallel to the Manawatu Gorge, and if that happens, we will definitely use it rather than going into Palmerston North. Also, the local council are extending the Manawatu River Trail from Ashhurst South, so we will add that in as it is built.
7. Wairarapa trail builders are working on two trails, either of which would be an improvement if ready in time, so from Masterton to Martinborough is also provisional for the moment.
8. In the South Island, there is an historic stock route being worked on between Picton and Havelock. It's slow progress, but possibly we will add a couple of short, fun sections.
9. Heading for Murchison, we will probably use the Braeburn Track, but not the Porika (the downhill is just too hard for most people to enjoy).
10. Heading for Springs Junction we will take a a quiet road (West Bank Road).
11. South of Reefton we are still considering offering an alternate route through Big River and Waiuta. It's longer, and rougher, but amazingly scenic. I'll get more feedback from KiwiBrevet Riders.
12. From Greymouth to Ross, the West Coast Wilderness Trail is still be constructed and three or four sections will go off-road before Tour Aoteara starts.
13. South of Ross will probably be mostly on the highway, but a trust is looking at building an off road trail, and whatever they get done before 2016, we will probably use. 
14. It's not marked on the map yet, but you will be expected to ride the fantastic trail into Fox Glacier.
15. We are still considering the best route from Albert Town to Wanaka. Maybe by that stage people would prefer the sealed cycle paths? But I know the Outlet Track is beautiful.
16. From Wanaka there are plans to build a cycle trail to Cardronna. I hope it happens in time, becuase that will be cool. It is supposed to finish just as the Tour Aotearoa kicks off.
17. If the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is finished then we will boat across Lake Wakatipu and ride down the Oreti Gorge (fantastic). If it's not finished then well head for the Nevis Valley and come out onto the Around the Mountains Trail at Garston. The new trail from Garston to Lumsden is being opened this weekend - I rode it last week and it is perfect for this stage of the tour.  
18. From Thompsons Bush in Invercargill we will actually jump onto a gravel cycle trail that goes out to the estuary. It is being extended south to Bluff and whatever is ready by 2016, we will use.
For those of you who haven't been riding in NZ yet, I appologise for such a long detailled description. In summary, the route is great, and it's getting better every month. 

Don't forget to lock the KiwiBrevet into your riding summer. It is the best training ride you could do between now and the Tour Aotearoa. Here is the blog; http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.nz/
We will send out a revised map in a few months.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tour Aotearoa Update – August 2014

There have been a lot of question from a lot of riders!

First question – is a Brevet a French bow tie? Nope – for a full definition go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevet_%28cycling%29

No there will not be a KiwiBrevet in 2016. But there will be one in 2015, starting 31 January. We recommend it if you haven’t done one before. Keep an eye on http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.nz/ for updates.

The amount you donate should be according to your means. It is in lieu of an entry fee.  Most people will probably donate more than $100. It would be good if people also offset the carbon pollution from their travel to the event, which can be done at www.carbonzero.co.nz and will obviously be proportional to the distance travelled (from not much for Kiwis up to a few hundred dollars for Icelanders).

If you don’t ride the full 350 km in time for the last ferry then you will have to book a special sailing and this will cost a lot (approx. $400). Also, you probably won’t make it to Bluff. So please, train up enough to meet the booked ferries with everyone else.

Team entries are allowed.

The course will not be marked, but we will provide a run sheet and a very basic map.

You must ride all of the course. It’s fine to wander off the course at times, to go to shops and accommodation, but you must re-join the course where you left it.

You have to organise your own accommodation, and transport, to and from the event. We will need to co-ordinate a little from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga, and for the Kaipara Harbour Ferry, but otherwise it is up to you.

Camp and stay wherever you wish. You don’t need to use designated campsites. Some people will stop and sleep when and where their bodies tell them they need to. Others will stay in the best accommodation they can find. It’s up to you, your budget and your travel philosophy.

Sure, you can take longer than 30 days if you want, but you will be counted as a dnf.

We have decided not to organise separate North Island and South Island brevet options. There are more than enough people interested in just doing the full length of New Zealand tour.

Entries and rider profiles will be called for in August 2015. You have a full year to make up your mind – for most of us this will be the biggest ride of our lives.

There will not be recommended stopping points, but we will provide a list of campsites and accommodation along the way. You are free to stop when and where you like.

You are not expected to carry all the food for the whole trip! You can stock up at any stores along the way.

Training is up to you to work out. But we recommend you train for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, and do some cycle touring trips from 2-5 days in length.
There are various gear lists floating around on the net. We might provide one in due course, but once again, it is up to you to decide what you take.

No outside support. That means, no one follows you in a car with gear. As for staying at friends places along the way, well…that’s ok. There will be a few open homes along the way, which any rider can stop off at for a shower and a sleep.
Most GPS’s won’t do the job. You need a SPOT tracker, which will send your location up to a satellite every ten minutes – then spectators can watch your progress, and we know where to go if you get lost.

Yes, please do purchase your own SPOT tracker. However, we will also try to hire some from America for those that don’t have them.

Some people have asked for a facebook page so that they can meet up with other riders for training rides. We will probably do this.

Of those that expressed a preference for the starting date, two thirds were keen on Feb, so there you have it. Aim to start 23 Feb, and finish 10 to 30 days later.
Yes, it is going to be crazy! Especially with people like Paul Smith attempting it on a fixie!

How will the course be chosen? For those of you who don’t know us, we have been writing NZ cycling guide books for over 20 years – for mountain biking, road riding, and cycle trails. From the top of this country to the bottom, we will make up the best 3000 km course possible.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Welcome to Tour Aotearoa

In 2016 we will be running a one-of-a-kind event – a 3000 km brevet from Cape Reinga to Bluff. As you probably know, a brevet is not a race. There is no entry fee, and there are no prizes. It is an opportunity to tour the length of the country, travelling light and fast, with likeminded people. As with the KiwiBrevet, riders must complete the course under their own steam and follow the brevet rules (these are listed at the bottom of this introduction). Riders will be expected to ride with a gps tracker, and to make a donation to one of two charities (yet to be named).

The start of the event has been set to meet the following requirements: a low tide for 90-Mile Beach, out of public holiday times. There will also be a full moon.

Start time – we need to choose between two options: Saturday 23 January or Sunday 21 February 2016. In January, the days are longer, and possibly hotter. In February, there is 10% less traffic and more accommodation available. The 24hour World Champs will probably be held in Rotorua in the first two weeks of Feb. The Karapoti Classic is 5th March and varsity starts 7 March. In other words, we aren’t going to find a date that doesn’t clash with something.

Please email us your preference for the starting date.

We will have a briefing in Kaitaia the evening before the event.  Early on the morning of the event we will car pool, and take a charter bus, up to Cape Reinga. There will be plenty of time to take photos and look around at cape before the start.

Because of limited transport and accommodation options north of Auckland, the event will be limited to 100 riders (we don’t expect that many riders anyway).

The course route is a mix of sealed road, gravel road, 4WD tracks and several awesome cycle trails, which include sections of mountain biking. It will be quite similar to the Length of NZ ride detailed in Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails (see www.kennett.co.nz), except that we will not go over Waiheke Island.

Everyone must use public transport where it is required (ie, ferry trips across Hokianga Harbour, Kaipara Harbour and Cook Strait). Using helicopters to nip across harbours won’t be allowed.

Day 1
Neutralised start. 170km into the ride you have to take a ferry trip across the Hokianga Harbour. The last ferry at night is 8pm and the first ferry the next day is 7:15am.  So we are suggesting that no-one rides past Kohekohe on the first day. Whoever makes it that far can hop on the first ferry the following day. Kohekohe is a small harbour side town with food and accommodation.

Day 2-3
Almost 180 km past the Hokianga ferry trip is a second ferry trip (Kaipara Harbour) that takes 2-3 hours. We will arrange one crossing on the evening of Day 2, two crossings on Day 3, and one final crossing at midday on Day 4.

You must be able to ride 350 km in the first three days, or you will be stuck on the north side of Kaipara Harbour.

South of Kaipara Harbour the brevet reverts to normal. Ride as fast, or as slow, as you like (aiming for Bluff within 10 and 30 days).

The exact route from Auckland south depends on the construction of various cycle paths and trails. What we can tell you now is this:

  •        Auckland Transport and NZ Transport Agency are building routes through Auckland, and we will use some of them if finished in time.
  •       We will not go across Waiheke Island. It is a great place, but we feel two more ferry trips is just too much time on the water.
  •       The route will use part, or all of the following Great Rides: Hauraki Rail Trail, Waikato River Trail, The Timber Trail, The Mountains to Sea (if it is upgraded) and the Rimutaka Cycle Trail. 
  •        From Picton the route will follow the KiwiBrevet course to Reefton, then head for the West Coast Wilderness Trail (it should be finished by then), down the coast taking a few diversions, then over Haast Pass, into Wanaka over to Queenstown and down the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail (assuming it is finished by then), then back roads to Invercargill and hook into a trail that is currently being built down to Bluff.

More about the route closer to the time. In November 2015, we will finalise the route and publish it both online and in the 3rd edition of Classic NZ Cycle Trails (with an updated list of shops, including phone numbers and opening and closing times).

Bikes? Several people have asked us what type of bike they should take. That is a tricky question. A road bike would not survive the course. Most people will ride mountain bikes and cycle touring bikes with fat tyres. To get more of an idea, take a look at the bikes used on the Tour Divide and the KiwiBrevet. In the Brevet spirit, you must use the same bike throughout the tour. Buy new tyres along the way if you must, but no bike swapping.

The next email update will consist of answers to the questions you send in now! And remember, for information you can always check http://touraotearoa.blogspot.co.nz/

If you know of anyone who is interested in the Tour Aotearoa, pass this on and ask them to email:  info(at)kennett(dot)co.nz

Pedal on!
The Kennett Bros

Rules for Tour Aotearoa 2016
  • 1. Do it all yourself, under your own steam.
  • 2. Riders must carry all their own gear (i.e. no domestiques, unless you are part of a team).
  • 3. No outside support (deliveries only to public addresses, no support from friends along the way, no support vehicles of any kind meeting you along the way).
  • 4. Follow 100% of the course (side trips are fine, of course).
  • 5. It is recommended that riders carry a personal locator beacon, and agree to cover the cost of rescue in
  • the event they need to be evacuated.
  • 6. Riders must not complete the course in less than 10 days (This event is not about finding the fastest rider).
  • 7. Riders must finish in under 30 days (that’s 100 km per day).
  • 8. Between 9am one day and 9am the next, every rider must spend at least one block of at least six hours not travelling. That is, the maximum time any rider may spend travelling along the course will be 18 hours (between each 9am-to-9am period)."
  • 9. When on public roads, follow the NZ Road Code.
  • 10. Text-ins are to be made from designated towns along the route until you either finish or abandon the brevet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2016 Tour Aotearoa - A 3000km brevet the length of New Zealand

In Feb-March 2016, Jonathan Kennett will be running Tour Aotearoa - a 3000 km brevet from Cape Reinga to Bluff. It will follow a similar route to the one described at the back of Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails. The route will be updated at the end of 2015 to include several sections of new cycle trails that are currently being constructed.

This length-of-New-Zealand brevet will be organised along the same lines as the Kiwi Brevet, and will probably be a one-off event (who would be crazy enough to do this ride twice?). No entry fees, no prizes, just an unforgettable ride that will take from 15 to 30 days.

Tour Aotearoa will also have two brevette options: the North Island section and the South Island section (both around 1500 km long).

Its early days yet, but people wanting more information can contact Jonathan Kennett .

More Brevet news :
When's the next Kiwi Brevet? Well, Scott and Jo have volunteered to run it (and the Brevette) in the future - yee haa! They're going to run it in the first week of February 2015 (starting on the 31st of Jan). To fit in with that timing, the Tawhio o Whanganui will (if run again) most likely be moved to late 2014.