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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.