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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