Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tour Aoteroa December 2015 Update


 Hi Folks,

Now that we have less than two months until take off, you’ll want to read this update carefully.

Updated December draft GPS files are now available for the TA route here: http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/files/
These files have had minor updates made since they were first released in November and will be updated again before the final version is sent out the week before the event (the gps tracks for the new sections of the Waikato River Trail and Around the Mountains Cycle Trail will be added).

The Tour Aotearoa course is described in full detail in the third edition of Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails, which is available from bike shops, book stores and online from us (www.kennett.co.nz) or Ground Effect (www.groundeffect.co.nz). I strongly recommend you get a copy as it has all the info you need to do the tour.

Stu Smith from Auckland has sent me some useful tips on the ride through the metropolis, which I’ve attached to this email update.

Erik Westra has put some draft cue sheets up on the Tour Aotearoa facebook page – check it out.

And Julie Williams has been phoning all the shops on the TA route to get opening hours, to add to the shops cue sheet that Bryan Prestidge has written. It will be out in the next update.

Open Homes
We now have open homes in Auckland, Owhango, Wellington and Albert Town. Details for these will be given the week before the event. Some will require texting in to check they are open, or to find the exact location (for security reasons).
If you are able to provide an open home, please let me know.

Mike the Scout
Mike Brien is heading off in a few days to scout the TA course for us. Keep an eye out for updates on the facebook page, and join him for part of the tour if you can. Follow his progress live on Maprogress.

Butt Care!
Jennie from Sweat Cheeks is offering a 100gm pot of Butt Butter plus free Super Balm and shipping to Tour Aotearoa riders. You’ll want to use some chamois cream every day, and this stuff is good. Go to http://www.sweetcheeksnz.co.nz/ 


Tracking – you all need to be tracked…

A message from Shane Davidson at Maprogress
Just a reminder that everyone needs to register their tracker at https://touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com/event/join whether you buy/hire your tracker from us or not, so that you appear on the website map, and your photos get logged too.


Kaipara Harbour Boat
The boat will cost $50 each (cash), takes 3 hours, and does not run to a regular timetable. This is because it is a massive harbour, full of sand bars, etc. The captain will be watching your spot trackers and will make two or three trips a day to collect you from Poutu. There is no jetty or wharf, so he has to nose the boat up onto the beach. This cannot be done during high tide.  The boat will carry up to 30 riders at a time.  Take the attitude that Poutu will be where you stop and have a good long rest. There is a large hall there with bunks, a kitchen and board games.


Whanganui River Boat
I have contacted the two main jet boat companies, and had one reply at this stage – from Whanganui River Adventures, based in Pipiriki. This company also provides accommodation, camping and some food at Pipiriki.
The standard price is $90 per person, and they generally do pickups from the landing at 1:30pm and 4pm.
They will offer a discount for groups of 8 or more, of $80 per person.
They have 3 boats and can carry up to 31 people per trip.

The other operator (Bridge to Nowhere Tours) will do an earlier pick up at 10am and a late pick up at 6:30pm if riders book in with him (contact details are on the web and in Classic NZ Cycle Trails).


That’s all for this update. I’ll be in touch again in January. Until then, happy training – there are only two months to go, so hopefully you are all comfortable riding 100 km in a day by now! We’ve been hearing of TA riders doing some awesome trips already.

Merry Xmas
Jonathan Kennett

P.S. If you have any questions, the next few weeks are a good time to ask. Also, there are two spare places available if any of you reserve riders would like to enter.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tour Aoteroa November 2015 Update

Hi Folks,

Now that we have less than three months until take off, you’ll want to read this update carefully.

Draft GPS files are now available for the TA route here: http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/files/
These files will be updated in the next ten weeks and a final version sent out the week before the event.

The Tour Aotearoa course is described in full detail in the third edition of Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails, which is available from bike shops, book stores and online from us (www.kennett.co.nz) or Ground Effect (www.groundeffect.co.nz). I strongly recommend you get a copy as it has all the info you need to do the tour. Please don’t ask me questions about the route that are in the book (I simply cannot answer any more emails than I already am).

Erik Westra (the man who has been doing a training ride every day this year!) is also working on a cue sheet which should be ready before the event, for those that want them. Thanks Erik. You’re crazy, in a good way.

Bryan Pretidge contacted me last week with a useful table of locations to get water, food and accommodation. It shows the distance between each of those services, which seems quite useful as well. I’m editing it now and will send it back to Bryan for a final check before sending it to you all. Thanks Bryan.

Open Homes
We now have open homes in Auckland, Owhango, Wellington and Albert Town. Details for these will be given the week before the event. Some will require texting in to check they are open, or to find the exact location (for security reasons).
If you are able to provide an open home, please let me know.

Mike the Scout
Mike Brien is going to scout the TA course for us and will be leaving on the 27th December (he is a school teacher and can’t start with the rest of us). Keep an eye out for updates on the facebook page, and join him for part of the tour if you can.

Tops
There are now four top for Tour Aotearoa! You will have seen two Good Rotations t-shirts advertised on the facebook page, and also Jessie Rawcliffe’s T-shirt.
Now there is another top! It is a very nice NZ made merino wool cycling top with ‘Tour Aotearoa’ on the front and ‘Cape Reinga to Bluff – 3000 km’ and a bike on the back. Go to http://www.soigneur.co.nz/category/120834 to see and order.

TA bike/helmet stickers
If you want stickers, then buy a book from us, or email me your postal address. 600 have gone out and we have 400 left.

Entries
The entries are full at 300, and we have a reserve list of 40 riders. So if you pull out for any reason, please let me know ASAP. You’ll make one of the reserve riders very happy.

Helpful Bike Shops
Mt Eden Cycles (MEC) is right on the route and is more than happy to help out all Tour Aotearoa riders as they ride through Auckland.  And if anyone needs a place to sleep you’re even welcome to sleep on the shop floor!

And in Nelson, B-rad Cycles has taken an interest in the Tour and will be ready to do emergency repairs. See http://www.b-rad.co.nz/contact.html


Tracking – you all need to be tracked…

A message from Shane Davidson at Maprogress
Just a reminder that everyone needs to register their tracker at https://touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com/event/join whether you buy/hire your tracker from us or not, so that you appear on the website map, and your photos get logged too.

We have had some queries recently about how to attach your tracker. The design of the SPOT Gen 3 makes it quite easy just with thin cord. Have a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwNHkRwzaQk around the 50 second mark to see how we do it.

Kind Regards
Shane
Chief Adventurer at maprogress.com
Real-time online satellite tracking for all outdoor sport events


A message from Tony Glentworth from SPOTNZ
SPOTNZ are clearing out their 2nd hand stock of G2 Spot Messengers to make room for 250 brand new G3 units that have arrived in time for Tour Riders.
G2 Units are disconnected and require an annual connection to SPOT USA costing $164.99 USD. There are only 16 left and when they are gone there will be no more at this price ($90 inc GST + P&P).
For the budget conscious we still have the new G3 units to hire at $190 for the whole tour, and the Buy option at $539 including connection to the USA SPOT Basic service.
All bookings need to be paid for by Christmas. Check these deals at http://booking.spotnz.com or book a device from the menu at www.spotnz.com
We look forward to seeing you all at the start line, and all G3 hires come with a purpose made pouch exclusive to SPOTNZ.
Tony
Director
+64 (27) 251 0928
tony@spotnz.com
www.spotnz.com


Kaipara Harbour Boat
The boat will cost $50 each (cash), takes 3 hours, and does not run to a regular timetable. This is because it is a massive harbour, full of sand bars, etc. The captain will be watching your spot trackers and will make two or three trips a day to collect you from Poutu. There is no jetty or wharf, so he has to nose the boat up onto the beach. This cannot be done during high tide.  The boat will carry up to 30 riders at a time.  Take the attitude that Poutu will be where you stop and have a good long rest. There is a large hall there with bunks, a kitchen and board games.


Whanganui River Boat
I have contacted the two main jet boat companies, and had one reply at this stage – from Whanganui River Adventures, based in Pipiriki. This company also provides accommodation, camping and some food at Pipiriki.
The standard price is $90 per person, and they generally do pickups from the landing at 1:30pm and 4pm.
They will offer a discount for groups of 8 or more, of $80 per person.
They have 3 boats and can carry up to 31 people per trip.

I will see if the other operator (Bridge to Nowhere Tours) will do an early pick up at 10am and a late pick up at 7pm.

One tip about these boat operators. They are awesome, salt of the earth people, who have spent all their lives on these remote stretches of water. But they haven’t done a Kiwi Host course and aren’t going to react well to impatient riders trying to give them a hurry along. When you meet them, remember ‘It’s not a race’.

Northern Food Shops
I will contact all the shops north of Auckland asking them to stock up on supplies of bananas, chocolate milk, muesli bars and pies.


That’s all for this update. I’ll be in touch again in late December. Until then, happy training – there are only three months to go!

Pedal on

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tour Aoteroa Update October 2015 Update


Hi Folks,

The TA route is now sorted and things are looking great. We’ve described the full route, section by section, in the Tour Aotearoa edition of Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails, which is hot off the press right now. Everything useful that we could think of is included – trail surface conditions, elevation profiles, maps, campsites, accommodation, important contacts, hot tips, etc.

Pick up a copy from us (www.kennett.co.nz) or Ground Effect (www.groundeffect.co.nz), or your local bike shop or book store.




We have also just revised the online route map, which you can look at here: www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html

We’ll have KML and GPX files (in segments of less than 10,000 points) of the route available for you in the next few weeks. These will be reissued in February, as there are three areas where trail building is still happening (we'll GPS the new bits in Jan/Feb). The three areas are:

  •     Arapuni to Jones Landing on the Waikato River Trail
  •     Around Hokitika on the West Coast Wilderness Trail
  •     Oreti Gorge to Mossburn on the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail.

Next month we will do a special ebook version for TA riders.

Shane from MaProgress will also put the gpx file up on his website, and it has the advantage that you can switch from a Google Maps background to NZ Topomaps, which provides far superior detail in remote areas.

Rider Profiles
A few people have been asking about rider profiles for Tour Aotearoa, and Shane has now got this sorted. Now just go directly to https://touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com/event/join and enter your profile and anything else required.
If you have any queries feel free to contact Shane at shane@maprogress.com

Book your SPOT
Don’t forget to hire or buy a SPOT tracker soon. This must be done by the end of November to ensure that there are enough in the country!
For a SPOT tracker, contact Tony Glentworth at tony@spotnz.com to buy one soon, or Shane at MaProgress (see above). If you have already got a spot from SpotNZ, then you don’t need to register again.

Fundraising Riders
There is now a page on the website that provides links to the dedicated sites of riders who will be raising funds during their 3000 km journey: http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/fundraising-riders.html

They include, among others, Anka Martin, Andrew Smith and Ginny Wood. Take a look at their cool missions and give them some support.

Future updates and meetings
There is now a tonne of information on the website and the two Facebook pages.
Paul ‘the fixie’ Smith is also doing a neat series of articles – read them here: http://www.inspiring-riding.com/journey/journey-tour-aotearoa

Simon and I will be giving a talk about the Tour Divide and Tour Aotearoa at Taupo next month.
Where: Top Gear Cycles, 19 Tamamutu Street, Taupo
When: 8:30pm, 27 November
Why: Peter Goodman asked us too… and it’ll be a good opportunity for some questions and answers about the TA.

In Auckland, Mount Eden Cycles will also be hosting a TA gathering.  This shop is right into it, because they have several riders doing the tour!

Mt Eden Cycles (MEC) Invites all Tour Aotearoa riders to an In Store Info Sharing evening.
When:  Tuesday 10th Nov at 6.30pm
Who:  Everyone doing the Tour Aotearoa Brevet who can make it in
What:  A chance to discuss your preparation with others - including 2 x 15 minute presentations from two entrants who have down plenty of previous Brevets
We will even provide you with a free Beer!
Hope to see you there.

PLUS:
Mt Eden Cycles (MEC) is more than happy to help out all Tour Aotearoa riders as they ride through AKL.  The route includes a trip up Mt Eden itself which is just a minute from the MEC shop.
If anyone needs help with their bike or supplies just pop on in and we will be ready and keen to help.
If anyone needs a place to sleep your even welcome to sleep on the MEC shop floor overnight!

cheers
Mark
MEC (and Tour Aotearoa rider)


That’s all for this update. I’ll be in touch again in November. Until then, happy training – there is only four months to go!

Pedal on
Jonathan

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tour Aotearoa update - September 2015

Hi Folks,

Sorry, not much time for an update this month as we have a book going to the printer shortly and are burning the oil.

Here is a US article on Tour Aotearoa just published today:
(Sorry about spelling your name wrong Oliver)

TA T-Shirts
Matt at Good Rotations in Wanaka has designed a couple of cool T-shirts, which you can check out here:http://goodrotations.co/product-category/apparel/t-shirts/

Jessie Rawcliffe has also made up a cool T-shirt and has advertised that on the Facebook pages. I’ll be making up some large posters of her artwork. If anyone is interested, let me know by the 10 October.

Training Plan
For those of us who lead busy lives, here is a very simple training plan to get you started.


Tour Aotearoa route
I’ve been doing more research trips and there will be 20 changes to the route as a result. I’m writing those up for Classic NZ Cycle Trails now, which will be launched in the first week of November. It details the full route and we will do an e-book version for Tour Aotearoa riders. We will also update the GPX files.
Just to give you an idea of the final changes, here are my notes.
Last changes to Tour Aotearoa (from JKs Sept-Oct 2015 research)

  1. Broadwood to Kohukohu via Popango Road (quiet, narrow, scenic, gravel)
  2. Ahikiwi Road, Settlement Road and Opanake Road to Dargaville (quiet, narrow, gravel alternative to highway).
  3. Tidy up of alignment through Dargaville.
  4. Mangere Bridge to Kirkbridge Road via signed route (hooking onto NZCT).
  5. Te Aroha walking track to sports ground to exit town off main road.
  6. Quiet way out of town from Matamata i-SITE.
  7. From Ashhurst to go around edge of Ashhurst Domain and along northern section of Manawatu River Pathway (avoids highway).
  8. New option through Eketahuna – more cycle-logic.
  9. New option through Masterton on limesand paths (avoids blackspot).
  10. Alternative option to Bluebridge ferry (for those that want it)
  11. Alternative Option to do Porika for keen beans.
  12. Now show section of new trail to Kumara (off highway).
  13. New route from Hoki to Ross, being opened end of October (West Coast Wilderness Trail).
  14. New track just built into Franz Josef. Need to get down there and research it.
  15. Fox Glacier – take direct route back to highway.
  16. Queenstown Trail, reroute on high route above Kawarau River – just in case the existing slip is not fixed
  17. New section on Around the Mountains which will be opened Dec 2015.
  18. Mossburn to Winton via Avondale Road – more interesting route.
  19. New bit into Winton and back out via Winton Trail – likely to be last stock up point for many before final push to Bluff.
  20. New way into Invercargill from McKayla – new direct route to stay off the highway altogether, and because people will be gunning it for Bluff by this stage.

Tracking information from Shane Davidson
MAProgress now have the tracking pages up ready to go, one for the main eventanother for anyone else not lucky enough to make the start list, links at http://touraotearoa.maprogress.com/.  Every individual or team (each tracker) needs to join the MAProgress tracking page to add photos and show up on the Tour Aotearoa map, and it's best to do this sooner rather than later, by following these steps:
1.      Create a new account at https://maprogress.com/account/register  
2.      If you have your own tracker, enter the details at https://maprogress.com/devices/create
3.      Go to the join page for the main event at https://touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com/event/join, or https://touraotearoa201516.maprogress.com/event/join if you're not one of the lucky 300.
4.      Enter the main details for display on the map
5.      Select the device you're going to be using:
o Click "Remove device" to add your own later or
o Select a SPOT Gen 3, or SPOT Trace to hire or
o Select a SPOT Gen 3, or SPOT Trace to BUY or
o Select "Tracking from SpotNZ" to avoid being charged twice for the tracking
6.      Once you've joined, go to the map page, you should see your name in the grid to the left (refresh the map in a few seconds if it's not there yet).
7.      To get a sneak preview of the friends you'll make along the way, click on the Filter/group button on the left, select "Split by estimated days", you should now see those who will be biking at a similar speed
You can come back to the join page at any time in the future (even during your ride) to update your details and/or pay for the tracking/device. You can also change the length of time your device(s) will display on the map in case you finish early and want to head off on other adventures, or you enjoy it so much that you bike back to Cape Reinga

Your planning will be kicking in now, so I thought I'd give you some tips on the trackers. 
· The most important thing to know with a SPOT tracker is that it needs a clear view of the sky, partly to get a GPS fix, but more importantly to send the position and time up to a satellite overhead. SPOT trackers function fine through fabric, but in our experience less than 5% of the time through forest canopy. SOS messages should be better as it is a constant signal, and you're probably not moving.
· SPOT trackers connect through the Globalstar network, these satellites orbit every 2 hours, down to 52 degrees south so you have a similar number in the northern sky as the southern. Each tracker needs to be able to see a Globalstar satellite, but that satellite also has to be in view of an earth station. The closest earth station for New Zealand users is in Dubbo, Australia. In practice this means that any satellite roughly east of the date line will not transfer your position, so most of the time it is satellites to the west of you that transfer your position to the MAProgress map.
· The signal on a SPOT tracker gets sent upwards from the top of the device, if it's hanging down it will only see half the sky, if that is east it will hardly signal at all. 
So: Ensure the SPOT tracker sits facing UP, it's OK at the top of a bag as long as you're not sitting on it. If you're tossing up between left and right choose right - you're heading south, and if you're planning on falling off try doing so in an open area with the tracker looking up to the sky! 

Thanks Shane.

Cheers

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tour Aotearoa update - August 2015

Hi riders,

Here is a quick update on the tour. Make sure you read the sections on spot trackers and t-shirts carefully so you don't miss out! Also, check out Ginny's givealittle page to sponsor her a few kilometres/trees.

Training
With spring just around the corner, most people are starting to think about training and we’ve been asked a few questions. For those who’ve never done a long tour before, it is important that you do several multi-day trips to test yourself, and your gear. For the next couple of months, focus on LSD – Long Slow Distance rides. Build up strength and speed later on.

You may wish to use an event to motivate you. I’ll be doing the Lake Taupo Challenge ride at the end of November, on my brevet bike of course.

Spot trackers and Tracking
So that we know where you are during the 3000 km journey, you must have a spot tracker. It’s a condition of entry.

You can buy trackers from Tony Glentworth at tony@spotnz.com and if you are a frugal bugger then you’ll want to contact him right now and pick up one of the old Gen2 models for a song (he has 8 at $75 each). They only spot your location once every twenty minutes though.

The tracking website that will show where you are has been developed by Shane Davidson (shane@maprogress.com) who will be following the tour. It’s been used for a number of brevets now. To connect to this service will cost $45. Shane is also developing additional features for TA, such as an ability to manage the 30 control point photos that you’ll take. Here is an update from Shane:


  • If you have already paid SpotNZ, then we will provide the tracking for free, and rental if you've paid for that too. Let us know if you have already paid SpotNZ, and provide proof of purchase please
  • Unfortunately with the USD exchange rate we would be losing money at $485. Instead, you can purchase a SPOT Gen 3 for $259 (RRP) from us, and you get the Tour Aotearoa tracking thrown in for free. You still need an annual service plan with basic 10 minute tracking for Tour Aotearoa (164.99 USD, see http://au.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=103). 
  • Hire and tracking cost remain the same i.e. SPOT Trace $175, SPOT Gen 3 $190, and tracking only $45
  • Note that if you own an inReach you can connect that to Maprogress just the same as a SPOT for $45
  • We should be able to accept payments online within a month, if you would like it sooner, please contact us and we can provide details for a bank transfer
  • We want Tour Aotearoa to be the flagship event showing how tracking should be done, with stories, photos etc., on the map, all in real-time. We hope to have our iPhone/Android app. ready by November to help record your stories and photos, this will be included free with the tracking above. You will also be able to upload your stories and photos online along the way, or when you get home. 
  • I will be at Cape Reinga to hand out the trackers and explain how to use them. I'm really keen for any feedback you might have, so as you head down through the North Island I'll be trying to ride with you for short sections where I can. If there are any problems or changes needed, I can help and/or update the website along the way



TA T-Shirts
Matt at Good Rotations in Wanaka has designed a couple of cool T-shirts, which you can check out here: http://goodrotations.co/product-category/apparel/t-shirts/

There is a pre-order cut-off date of 5 September – only two weeks away. Order now!
If there is more interest later on then Matt will do another print run.

Matt is riding the tour and is offering a German made power and lighting system tailored for the event. Even better, he’s offering a 15% discount to registered Tour Aotearoa riders. It looks pretty hot: http://goodrotations.co/shop/bikepacking-adventure/mobile-power/supernova-power-light-system/\


Charity Riders
Ginny Wood from Nelson is raising money for 3000 trees – one tree for each kilometre of the journey. You can check it out on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/3000-for-3000/1624965387789126?fref=ts) and donate at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/3000for3000/donations
Mondo Kopua from Blenheim will be riding for the Mental Health Foundation.
Katie Underwood from Wellington is fundraising for the Heart Foundation.
Mckayla Holloway is riding for Foundation of Youth Development Southland.
Jimmy Griffiths will be riding for, and towing, a Shelter Box: http://www.shelterbox.org/ which seem both crazy and amazing! Hopefully he doesn’t come across any TA riders needing its contents.


Tour Aotearoa route
The route will be finalised in October after I’ve done a few more research trips.
Do you live in Southland? Could you provide some advice on the backroad options between Mossburn and Winton before I head down there in three weeks?

Until October, you can check the July draft here:
http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html


  • We will provide the final route as a GPX file in November.
  • Also tour rider Erik Westra is making up a cue sheet for the event.
  • And Paul and I will publish a special TA edition of Classic NZ Cycle Trails in November, which will have detailed guide book information about the route, including shops, accommodation, elevation charts and maps.


91 Significant Climbs
New Zealand is a hillier country than most people realise. Here is a table of significant climbs. Note that there are many more climbs under 100 metres.

Several people have asked me the distance of various types of terrain – gravel versus seal versus rough single track. Paul has created this pie chart to show the types of terrain by time – time is obviously more important than distance. We have estimated that people will travel between 5kph (on route single track) and 20kph (sealed road average).


 More information
You can find the start times for each wave on the Tour Aotearoa blog and the facebook page.
All past updates are posted on the blog at http://www.touraotearoa.nz

Until then, happy planning.
Pedal on

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – July 2015

Hi tour riders,

Does anyone know when New Zealand last had an event like Tour Aotearoa? You know, with hundreds of riders gathering in a remote part of the country, all kitted up with strange gear, to ride 3000 km from tip to toe. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like it. It’s a conundrum. A mystery. And it’s going to be absolutely crazy, so you might as well prepare for the unpredictable, because in a ride like this, truth will be stranger than fiction. Here are a few updates to help with your planning.

Spot trackers
Don’t forget, you all need a spot tracker so that we know where you in case you get lost. Tony at SpotNZ is offering a great deal for TA riders of $485 for the latest Gen3.
It is recommended for your remote training missions (for emergencies and so your friends and family know where you are). Contact Tony Glentworth at tony@spotnz.com to buy one soon.

Special Bike Bags
Mike at Stealth Bike Bags has made a special Tour Aotearoa Stem Pouch. The logo for it was designed by tour rider Matt Dewes. Thanks Mike and Matt – it looks great. Check it out at:


Late Entry
Please don’t forget that there are people super keen to start on the 21st. If you are able to move to the 23rd or 24th start date, please let me know. Also, there are still a few spare places left in the third wave, so if you are on the reserve list or you know someone who would hate to miss out, then contact me asap. The places will soon be gone.

Facebook and Blog
You can find the start times for each wave on the Tour Aotearoa blog and the facebook page.
Sean has developed a Notes section on the left hand side of the Facebook page. Thanks Sean.
And Jeff has added a Stuff Happens list of all the things that broke in previous Kiwi Brevets, so you get an idea of what can go wrong. See the bottom of http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/resources.html

Paul has updated the Tour Aotearoa route, simplifying the file so that it can be downloaded once finalised. We have also made three changes.
  1. We are going down Tararua Road because it is a beautiful gravel road, and it’s a shortcut, heading towards Pahiatua.
  2. The route from Pahiatua to Masterton has changed completely, because we think it is better to go via Eketahuna, for more quiet gravel roads, a bunch of shops and a giant kiwi (yep, it will be one of the photo control points).
  3. As the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail is now well into constructing trail between Mavora Lakes and Mossburn, we are going to go via Queenstown, rather than the Nevis Valley. If the trail is not finished, we will just have to take some old 4WD tracks for a few kilometres.

The route is not final – but it is getting close. You can check the July draft out here: http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html


Charity Riders
If you have a plan to raise funds for a charity on your ride, please let me know and I’ll profile you in the update next month.

Transport from Auckland north
If you need transport from Auckland for the start on the 23rd or the 24th, then you’ll be happy to hear that Ted from Tread Routes is organising a bus: book in advance by emailing treadroutes@gmail.com

Until then, happy planning.

Pedal on

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – June 2015

Only eight months to go! I know a lot of planning is in play, including buying new bikes. Here is some more information to help.

Facebook
Tour Aotearoa now has a community Facebook page – thanks to Sean Duggan for setting that up. Find it by going onto Facebook and searching for Tour Aotearoa. Easy. Now you can share advice and make plans together.

TA riding gear
There are a few talented people working on a logo and a t-shirt/riding jersey. Thanks for making that happen. Hopefully we’ll have designs ready for the next update.

Spot trackers
Don’t forget, you all need a spot tracker so that we know where you in case you get lost. Tony at SpotNZ is offering a great deal for TA riders of $485 for the latest Gen3.
It is recommended for wild training missions (not only for emergency rescues, but also so your friends and family know where you are). They are awesome!

Contact Tony Glentworth at tony@spotnz.com to buy one now.

Entrants
Please don’t forget that there are people keen to enter, and to start on the 21st. If you have to pull out – that’s a bummer, but please let me know.

We have decided to add a smaller third wave of riders, who will start on Wednesday and catch one of two boats on Friday. So here are the start times:



Start Time
Low tide  on beach
Kaipara Boats
First Wave 100 riders
12 noon, Sunday
21 Feb 2016
3:37pm
Hard sand 1:30-5:30pm
Aim to get boats on Mon and Tuesday
Second Wave 100 riders
2pm, Tuesday
23 Feb 2016

4.55pm
Hard sand 3-7pm
Aim to get boats on late Wed and Thur
Third Wave 60 riders
2:30pm, Wednesday
24 Feb 2016
5:30pm
Hard sand 3:30-7:30pm
Aim to get boats on Friday

It will take you about one hour to ride from the Cape to the top of 90 Mile Beach, and you should have good, hard sand conditions for about 4 hours during low tide. The beach section is 80 km long.

The first goal is the ferry across Hokianga Harbour to Rawene. It runs seven days a week, every 30 to 60 minutes, from 7am to 8pm and costs $2 (take cash).

The next boat is across the Kaipara Harbour, which is 348km from Cape Reinga.
This boat is not a regular ferry. It is chartered specifically for Tour Aotearoa, and will run twice daily from Monday to Friday.
The captain will be watching your spot trackers online and will know if there is anyone to pick up. The trip takes three hours one way and will cost $50 each (again, take cash).
He cannot load during high tide, because the front of the boat has to sit on the beach. If lots of riders arrive at Poutu at the same time the captain will try to do three trips in one day.

Accommodation in Kaitaia
Heads up! A lot of riders are booking in to the Orana Motor Inn in Kaitaia. They are offering a good deal to groups of TA riders. Contact Peter if you would like to make a booking (mail@orana.co.nz).

Briefing
Some riders will be staying at the campground near Cape Reinga the night before the event. Great idea – you will love it up there! The ride briefing will be emailed to everyone two days before the event, so that you have time to think about it and ask any questions.
There will also be some paper copies of the briefing at the start line.

Ride rules
We were prompted by the death of the Oregon Outback brevet to add another rule to Tour Aotearoa; one that is really obvious. Leave No Trace.

History shows that sometimes great riders, are not great people. But this is a brevet and it is not enough for us just to ride the length of the country as fast as we can. We must do it with respect. Respect for ourselves and others. And respect for the land.

Respect for yourself is largely about finishing in good mental and physical condition. Simon has written a useful blogpost about that here: http://www.kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/looking-after-yourself.html

Respect for others is about treating people well – both fellow riders, and the locals you meet en route. When you’re dog tired, this can be a challenge. Consider it a test of character.

Respect for the land means leaving nothing behind you, except your tyre tracks.  

We now have a Mission Critical page http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/mission-critical-info.html as well as all previous updates.

Pedal on!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update - May 2015

Fellow tour riders,

The length of New Zealand dirt brevet is less than 9 months away, and many of you have already bought specific bikes and started training. You’re months ahead of me! I aim to stop organising, and start training on the 1st of Spring. But for now, here are three updates to keep your planning cogs turning.

Entry Numbers
There are 240 confirmed entrants – 120 for each start. That is the limit. Based on previous events, 20% will pull out before the start, leaving 100 riders per wave – just right for transport across Kaipara Harbour.

If you do pull out in the next six months, please let us know, as there are now 50 Reserve Riders. If you are a reserve rider and want to move up the reserve list, then you could pay your donation and carbon offset now (no refunds of course).

Also, if you are down to start on the 21st Feb, but could possibly shift to the 23rd, that would be great. There are several riders that are super keen to get a start on the 21st and you would be doing them a big favour.

Transport to the event
By now, some of you will have worked out that if a dozen cyclists book the same plane or bus to get up to the event, there won’t be room to take all the bikes.

Some people are considering alternatives, such as taking a holiday north with family, or chartering a shuttle or bus. If you are organising transport and would like to share with other riders, I can pass out a message.

The revised route
Based on further research and new tracks being built, Paul and I have made several major changes to the route, and some minor ones. Here is a link to the revised provisional route –  http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html

It will change again before being finalised in November. Here is a summary of the major changes.

Auckland Traverse: thanks to several Aucklanders showing me around their metropolis, I think we now have the best brevet route. It will go right into the top of Queen Street on a cycleway, then past three bike shops (on busy roads). One of the bikes shops is Mt Eden Cycles. They have several riders in the tour, and will look after you. Then you’ll nip up Mt Eden, an extinct volcano, which will be one of the 30 photo control points. Finally, after riding the bridle track through Totara Park on the edge of the city, you will be given a choice, either below the Hunua Ranges, or above. Going around the top doesn’t take much longer and is more scenic, but also pretty busy with traffic in the weekends. You can decide when you get there.

Waikato River Trail: They are currently rerouting a section just south of Arapuni. I will research it and get a gps file soon.

Pohangina Valley: Because you’ll all have fat tyres, we will go down the west side of the scenic Pohangina Valley, to Ashhurst. You will be more likely to meet sheep than cars on the gravel road.

Pathway Link: I took a look at the new path between Picton and Havelock yesterday. The diggers were working away, and it looks great. We will use the downhill from The Wedge to Ngakuta Bay if it is finished by November.

Tadmor Valley in – Porika out: this is a big change. I think all the Kiwi Brevet riders enjoyed Tadmor Valley this year, so much so that I’ve moved the route from Wakefield to Tapawera to Murchison. This means Porika would be a dogleg, so we’ve dropped it, in favour of a much nastier dogleg further south.

Big River: yep, I know this is mean, but DOC have done some upgrading work, and it’s such an adventure with fantastic scenery. So we are going via Big River. If the weather is totally horrendous on the day I will allow an alternate via the highway, because Big River would be too dangerous to cross.

West Coast Wilderness Trail: There are two more good reroutes likely on this trail. I’ll travel there in a couple of weeks and check it out.

Wanaka Outlet Track: Just confirming that we will take the Outlet Track into Wanaka. The scenery is too good to miss.

Arrowtown to Lumsden: Fish & Game have opposed the construction of Around the Mountains Cycle Trail down the Oreti Gorge. This means it won’t be finished this year. So we have a choice: either go to Queenstown, take the boat across Lake Wakatipu and then cycle gravel roads to Mavora Lakes and Mossburn, OR, we go to Gibbston, and take four climbs via Coalpit Saddle to the Nevis Valley, and head over to Gibbston, then down the cycle trail to Lumsden.

Obviously some people would be keen to go to Queenstown even though it is frantic in early March, and take the Steamship Earnslaw across the lake. The route via the Nevis Valley would be much hillier and very remote.

Do you have an opinion? What do you think you would prefer, having already ridden 2500 km? Perhaps this should be another alternate?

Invercargill to Bluff Trail: another 7.5 km of this off road trail was opened last month and will be part of the Tour Aotearoa route.

Cliff Clermont is going to produce a highly detailed file for gps and put it on ridewithgps.com
Thanks Cliff.

Remember, this is a community. If you can contribute something to the tour, please do. Perhaps someone could design a classy helmet sticker or t-shirt?

Have you got your Spot Tracker sorted yet? Don’t forget that you can buy a Spot Gen3 with new lithium batteries from tony@spotnz.com for only $485. It could save your life.

And finally, Ollie has a cool article about the tour in the latest Spoke mag. Check it out.

Until next month,
Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett and the brevet team

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – April 2015

Hello riders,
There are now 220 of you confirmed for the 3000 km Tour Aotearoa. People are drawing up training programmes, buying new bikes, and planning their journey already. It’s going to be awesome!

Your allocated start date can be found on the Start List (see http://www.touraotearoa.nz/ )

Unfortunately not everyone could get into the 21st Feb start. There simply isn’t enough room on the Kaipara Harbour boat, and accommodation is going to be difficult as well. The first couple of days will be a bit crazy. We’ll just have to go with it.

If you are listed as a Reserve Rider then now is your chance to confirm your entry. There is space for another 20 right now. Your entry can be confirmed by following the steps outlined in the previous update, which is posted on the blog.

And if you really, Really, REALLY need to start on the 21st, let me know why and I’ll see if one of the 21st riders is willing to swap places with you.

Spot Trackers
I would like every individual and every couple to have a spot tracker. Teams of three or more need to have two or more spot trackers (because over 3000km it is highly likely your team will split up). There are several advantages to having the spot trackers. Safety is the obvious one. But it also means we can be sure riders follow the course. It’s also the best way for friends and family to spectate. And it means the Kaipara boat captain will know how many riders are waiting for a trip across the harbour.
For those that don’t have their own Spot Tracker, you can hire or buy one from Tony (tony@spotnz.com) at SpotNZ. He has offered Tour Aotearoa riders the following special deal:

  • Hire of Gen3 set at 10 min tracking for up to 5 weeks: $190 and will include 2 sets of fresh batteries.
  • Hire of Spot Trace unit set at 10min tracking only: $175 and will include 2 sets of fresh batteries. (Only suggested for riders also carrying PLB)
  • Sale of Spot Gen 3 inc first 12 months of unlimited coverage: $485.00 including new lithium batteries.
  • Connection of rider supplied GPS tracker to race site and inclusion in SPOTNZ safety plan and race supervision: $45.00 (free with G3 sale above)

Tony will negotiate with Shane from Followmyspot to supply the website and also improve the functionality to simplify the watching experience. In all honesty, Shane would rather be riding the tour than watching our dots wiggle their way down the country. But his wife has entered, so she will be one of the dots.

Go to http://booking.spotnz.com/ to arrange what you need and if you have any technical questions, contact Tony. Just to prove how dedicated he is, Tony will be in Cape Reinga for the start for the start of the tour. Thanks Tony.

Good money
So far, over twenty-two thousand dollars has been raised for a raft of charities, including track building trusts, rescue services, and cancer treatment. That is a great start to the event. Well done everyone!

Some people will also be raising money during the ride, including Jimmy and Richard who will be towing a trailer with a Shelter Box. These boxes are sent to disaster zones and supply the victims with shelter and vital supplies. I look forward to meeting Jimmy and Richard on the tour. 

Open Homes
As you know, one of the rules of the brevet is that you can’t accept outside support. This is tough for those of you that live near the course, myself included! So we’ve decided that if you’re willing to open your home to riders during the event, you can stay there. If you are happy to do that, please send an invite to the tour riders. I’ll go first.

Open Home Invite: 21 Hewett Way in Ngaio, Wellington, only 1.5 km off the course, and 10 minutes ride from the ferry terminal. There is plenty of floor space, hot showers, and a bike shed with tools. You are welcome to stay there during the tour. Phone 04 479 3173 the day before you arrive to make sure someone is home. You’re also welcome to post gear there and pick it up on your way through.

The Course
The exact route is still being worked out. It won’t be finalised until November. We will supply gpx files to all riders and will detail the route description in the 3rd edition of Classic NZ Cycle Trails, which will be launched in November. We will list all the useful food, accommodation and transport businesses along the route. We will supply the 30 photo monitoring points along the way at the same time as the gpx file. You can buy maps yourself and mark the information from either the book or the gpx file on them.

I am not going to supply a cue sheet as well, but if someone thinks that is important, and is willing to do it, then please volunteer (I’ll help). For that matter, if any of you feel the event would benefit from something extra, please volunteer.

And finally, if I’ve missed an email from you, I’m sorry. A couple went straight to my spam folder for some reason. Please try emailing again.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett
www.kennett.co.nz

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – March 2015

You’re not easily put off are you?! That’s just as well, because 3000 km really is a long way, but I wish you all the best of luck and have arranged for extra boats across the Kaipara Harbour, so now, we have room for 200 riders.

The Kaipara is a massive and treacherous harbour. There is only one sea captain with enough experience and guts to do this job. He’s even crazier than you! His father first let him take the tiller at the age of 9 and at the age of 60-something he appears the perfect hybrid of Spike Milligan and Captain Haddock. The boat can take up to 30 riders a time and will sail with every high tide from the 22nd of Feb to the 26th Feb.

To avoid a calamitous bottleneck we will start in two waves. I will start with 100 riders from Cape Reinga at noon on the 21st Feb, and Scotti D Andrews will start with up to 100 riders at 2pm on the 23rd. I’ve plotted two standard deviation curves – one for each bunch – with average speeds between 10 and 30 kph and it might just work out perfectly, but probably not. No matter – Poutu is a lovely place to be stuck at, waiting for the next sailing (I’ll send tide times to you later).

So who misses out on entry?
No one! 230 people are on the list, but I expect at least 40 will pull out before we start. So, at this stage it looks like everyone who is keen will get a place in Tour Aotearoa. We just need to offload the tyre kickers. To do that, I’m going to give everyone on the list two weeks from today to confirm their entry. As you know, there is no entry fee, but in lieu of an entry fee we all must pay at least $100 to a charity and offset our carbon footprint for the event. Once you’ve done that, you’re confirmed.
Obviously there will be no refunds if you pull out later. Not for any reason. The charities will benefit no matter what.

The Charity
Everyone can choose their own registered charity. It must be registered – all the bonafide charitable organisations are. Pay $100, or more, to that charity in lieu of an entry fee, and send me a copy of the receipt. Simple.
If you can’t think of a charity and would like to help fund a cycle trail bridge, then you might consider donating to Project Rameka (see https://www.facebook.com/ProjectRameka). That’s where I donated.

Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting is just what needs to be done to pay for your travel pollution now rather than deferring the cost to future generations, which isn't fair. I believe most northern hemisphere riders will have their heads around this concept already. Some airlines already offer offsetting as a service, but I'd like you to use carboNZero as this calculator has been set up by Landcare Research, so it’s got serious credibility.

The carbon offsetting for your travel emissions depends on how far you are travelling to get to the start of the event and back home again. It will be approximately:
Londoners = 8 tonnes = $258
Australians = 2 tonnes = $56
New Zealanders = 0.5 tonne = $28

 Go to http://www.carbonzero.co.nz/EmissionsCalc/tourismeditor.aspx and enter all the travel (return) that you estimate you’ll need, then click on “OFFSET” at the bottom. The calculator will offer you a few choices on how you want to offset. I chose forest restoration.

This isn’t hard and if you can’t figure it out, you probably don’t have the nous to survive a 3000 km brevet. Sorry, but a brevet requires sustained intelligence. You can do it!

carboNZero will email you a receipt, which you should forward to me as proof you’ve done the good deed.

Send an email, with attached receipts and the answers to the questionaire below, with the subject line TA to:




A little questionnaire
Along with your two receipts to confirm entry, please also answer the following four questions.


Do you own a Spot Track?
Yes/No
Will you attempt to ride 30kph for 12 hours to catch the first boat?
We need 10 to 30 people on each sailing.
Yes/No
Do you have a strong preference for starting on the 21st Feb or the 23rd Feb?

What is your phone number and address?



 So far, I have definite entries from the riders listed below. This list will be revised in two weeks’ time, so please confirm your place by sending Charity and CarbonZero receipts by the end of Wednesday the 8 April. After the 8 April I will place everyone who hasn’t confirmed on a new Reserve List, and allow new entries.

But before you decide, here is a copy of the rules again, just in case you’re not sure what a Brevet is (also remember that half the time on Tour Aotearoa will be riding off sealed roads).

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 or open homes. 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.
11. There are 30 photo monitoring points where you must get a photo of yourself.
The course
I’ll put out a revised course in a couple of months. Construction is going well on a few new cycle trails, and the course will be improved every month between now and the end of the year. I’ll spend a couple of days in Auckland next month looking for the best way through the metropolis. There are a surprising number of cycle paths in Auckland now. At least, I was surprisedJ

Tour Aotearoa Riders (yet to be confirmed)
Go to http://www.touraotearoa.nz/ and click on the Start List link on the right.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett
www.kennett.co.nz

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – Feb 2015

The 2015 KiwiBrevet finished earlier this month and it was one of the best rides of my life. Long days in the saddle, good company and great scenery combined. It also gave me a few ideas for next year’s big tour.
First of all, this is a beautiful country, so I’m introducing 30 Photo Control Points where you will have to stop and take a photo. They will be at iconic places like Cape Reinga (see below) and Bluff.

A list of all 30 control points will be announced the day before the event starts.
Secondly, some tyre advice. Be fat! Those with narrow tyres (less than 2 inches) on the KiwiBrevet all regretted it. Narrow tyres are just too harsh over rocky ground, so I strongly recommend 2 to 2.4 inch tyres. If you have good off-road skills then you’ll be trying to get away with something minimal and super-fast rolling, like Stans Ravens. That’s my choice anyway.
The fattest and thinnest tyres on the 2015 KiwiBrevet
And thirdly, there were quite a few riders surprised by how tough the KiwiBrevet was. This was exacerbated by: bikes unsuitable for off-road riding, carrying too much gear (or too little), and riding so fast that nothing was left in reserve. Also being unprepared bad weather, and really hot weather. So I’ll do my best to develop a range of realistic expectations for Tour Aotearoa.
Entries and Expectations
Tour Aotearoa starts in exactly one year. As you know, entries will be limited to 100. There are now over 200 riders on the mailing list. So I need to do some negative marketing before calling for final entries (see below).
The TourAotearoa is 3000 km long, and that is a looooong way ( I ditched the idea of North and South Island options ages ago – so it’s all or nothing!). You will ride through horrible storms, develop festering boils, crash and hurt yourself and suffer mindboggling mechanicals. At times you’ll be tired and miserable and may wish you had never been born. What else? Oh yeah, homesickness, mental fatigue, aggressive drivers, navigational errors, etc, etc. And this tour isn’t a race, so no one but your mother will congratulate you for riding really fast. There will be no prize money, and no sag wagon or support teams – you’re to be self-supported remember? If, like one rider at the KiwiBrevet this year, you get a puncture and push the panic button on your Spot Tracker, I will disqualify you (Mwah ha haa). HONESTLY, I wouldn’t enter if I was you. It sounds horrible.
Entry and confirmation
OK, so if despite the above advice, you contact me and say you’ve gone to the effort of booking your leave and/or travel, I will now count you as entered. Your entry will be confirmed later in the year when you donate to one of two designated charities and offset your carbon emissions for the event (boo hoo to you climate change deniers – another reason not to enter ).
So far we have 100 definite entrants and 80 people in reserve. The very final confirmation will be when you have donated to the official charity and paid for your offsetting carbon emissions. More on this shortly. Carbon emissions will be calculated using www.carbonzero.co.nz/EmissionsCalc/tourismeditor.aspx
The course
I’ll put out a revised course in autumn but it won’t be final until the end of the year. There are still several cycle trails/paths under construction and their progress will decide exactly where we go. We will use as many of the best cycle trails as we can but still follow a reasonably logical route.
As soon as it is finalised, the Kennett Bros will write up the route and put it into a special edition of Classic NZ Cycle Trails, which will be published in late November.

Recent question: what are the riding conditions like?
Here is an approximate breakdown by distance, and, more importantly, by estimated time (working from averages of 20kph on seal, 10 kph on gravel, 5 kph on single track). You will also spend about 8 hours travelling on boats/ferries.
Surface


Kilometres Estimated time Overall percentage (by time)
Beach 80 8 hours 3%
Cycle trail/path 693 139 hours 50%
Gravel Road 415 42 hours 15%
Sealed Road 1813 91 hours 32%
Total 3000 280


As usual, if you have any questions, fire away. I’ll send out another update next month, with an updated list of Definitely Entered riders. Until then, I hope you’re taking advantage of summer and getting some great riding done.
Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett