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Thursday, October 5, 2017

September Tour Aotearoa update

Kia ora riders,

Less than five months to go now! Hopefully you’re sorting out your gear and starting to cover a few miles – even if you’re just doing some fun rides and commuting to work. Most important of all is to develop comfortable contact points for your hands, bum, and feet. 3000 kilometres really is a long way!

Reminder of the rules
The spirit of this event is laidback, self-supported, and respectful of yourself, others and the environment. It’s a low-key, but high satisfaction ride. This is reflected in the rules. If you haven’t looked at them yet, you may be surprised, so check them out here: http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/rules_27.html

Photo Control Points
Tour Aotearoa is a ‘dirt brevet’, and brevet’s have control points. Historically, they have been places that riders stop and sign in with officials, or text a message. On Tour Aotearoa, they are places where you take a photo. There are 30 photo control points, all described here: http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/photo-checkpoints.html

Note that the Giant Kiwi at Eketahuna has been moved 50 metres, across the road, to a safer site.

Also, Tane Mahuta, the massive Kauri in Northland is under threat of a disease called Kauri dieback. This disease can be spread by people – on your shoes or tyres. There is a boardwalk leading to Tane Mahuta, and you must not walk off this boardwalk.

Tracking and Trackers – a message from Shane at MAProgress
We at MAProgress are going to be extremely busy in February with almost 1,000 trackers out. To manage this demand we need to be organised early, and with changes to our pricing we encourage riders to register soon so everything is loaded and checked. Get in early to take advantage of the early bird pricing:

·  The tracking fee (which everyone pays) will increase from $45 to $60 on 1st December 2017. From 20th January 2018 this will increase further to $75.
·  MAProgress SPOT Gen 3 tracker hire will increase from $145 to $160 on 1st December 2017 too. This is definitely the easiest and best value option for you. You pick it up at Cape Reinga and drop it off at Invercargill, we look after the allocation, registration, batteries, updates, and everything else.

We've had a number of people confused with the hiring of trackers. You can hire your tracker from anyone – MAProgress, or SPOT NZ, or anyone else (of course, you can use your own or buy one too).

But there is also a tracking fee, which covers the cost of you actually being tracked on the website. If you are hiring a tracker from someone else (ie, SPOT NZ) then you’ll still need to pay the tracking fee to MAProgress. There is also an additional process in the MAProgress registration devices tab for you to follow:
1.       Click on "Enter details for a new device that I own/have rented"
2.       Give the device a name
3.       Select "SPOT Gen 3"
4.       Enter in the ESN  provided to you
5.       Tap the "Data source" box 5-times to enable via SPOT NZ / trackme.kiwi
6.       Select "via SPOT NZ / trackme.kiwi"
7.       Click on "Save Device"

Rider Numbers
The Tour is now full and entries are closed.
Start Date
10th February
118 riders
12th February
113 riders
14th February
115 riders
24th February
107 riders
26th February
111 riders
28th February
108 riders

Please check your entry details and let me know if there is anything missing. If you haven’t paid your donation to charity and done your carbon offset by the end of next week, then I will offer your place to someone on the reserve list.
We are a bit oversubscribed at the moment, but the numbers should drop before we all start in February.

If for any reason you have to pull out, please let me know. There are people on the reserve list who would really like to enter!

For more information…
There are also two Tour Aotearoa Facebook pages, and you can ask questions from other riders.
The TA Official guide: due to changes in the course currently under construction, we are delaying revising the 2018 edition of the guide until December. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.

The next update will be in late October, at which time the course will be very close to fixed.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tour Aotearoa Update – March 2017

Hi there,

By now you should have a good idea of what the Tour Aotearoa is, and if you really want to confirm your entry for the 2018 adventure. Just to summarise, it’s an amazing, self-supported, 3000 km brevet, from Cape Reinga to Bluff. A brevet is not a race. It is a ride following a set course, via 30 photo control points, which you must complete between 10 and 30 days – no more and no less. Riding conditions vary from smooth sealed roads to rough rocky tracks, and everything inbetween!

The starts:
There are six starts, with up to 100 people per start as follows
10th Feb: 100 riders – FULL
12th Feb: 100 riders – FULL
14th Feb: 100 riders – FULL
24th Feb: 100 riders – FULL
26th Feb: 100 riders – FULL
28th Feb: 100 riders – FULL

We have been revising the entry database, so please take a look and let me know if anything needs correcting: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1e2VTW2D5BcBY-zlNcgmESIR0uqX3-nhgbhYDD6E61m8/edit#gid=0

If you have not already done so, you will need to confirm your entry soon to be certain of getting a space in the Tour. There are only places available for the 28th February start. And just as a reminder of how to enter, I have pasted the relevant information at the bottom of this update.

As you know, there is no entry fee, but you do have to pay at least $100 to a charity and offset your carbon footprint. Once you’ve done that, you’re confirmed (obviously there will be no refunds if you pull out later).

The Charity
You can choose your own charity, but 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.

Please consider donating to The Friends of Waiuta charity so that the Waiuta Track, which is the toughest part of the Tour Aotearoa course, can be upgraded by clearing some big slips, building a boardwalk across an unrideable section, and, if there is enough money, build a narrow ‘flood bridge’ so that riders won’t be held up if Big River is in flood. This donation would make your ride more enjoyable, and could save a life!

Bank Account number: 02-0844-0114139-02
Account name: Friends of Waiuta Project Account

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 Ekos or  

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.

Dr Sean Weaver from Ekos has calculated the average emission for entrants from different parts of the world and set up a page especially for the Tour Aotearoa, so that you can offset very quickly:

Or you can do your own calculations at  http://calculators.enviro-mark.com/EmissionsCalc/tourismeditor.aspx and plug in 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. They will email you a receipt, which you should forward to me as proof you’ve paid.

Four Questions for You
Along with your two receipts to confirm entry, please also answer the following four questions.

  1. Where are you from?
  2. Do you own your own Spot Tracker or will you need to hire one?
  3. Do you have a strong preference for a start date, and what would your second choice be? 
  4. Have you attached your two receipts (donation and offsetting)? The only exception is that I don’t need a receipt for a Friends of Waiuta donation, as they will let me know who has donated.

The course
Millions of dollars are spent on cycling infrastructure every year in New Zealand, so the course will change as new trails are completed, and old ones upgraded. Any changes to the route will be:
·         posted on Facebook, and
·         included in a revised edition of the Official Tour Aotearoa Guide Books, and gpx files will be revised. 

I am happy to say there will be quite a number of improvements!
In the next update I will cover off the following:
  • Transport options to the start.
  • The exact start times from Cape Reinga.
  • Where to get Spot Trackers.
  • A realistic budget for food, accommodation and transport.
Until then, for more information go to:
And ask questions on the Tour Aotearoa facebook page!

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

P.S. We have just updated the Tour Aotearoa Official Guidebooks, but but we will revise them again in October this year for the 2018 Tour. Up to 10 percent of the course will change.