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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.

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!

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

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.