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Safety Advice

Keeping Safe on Tour Aotearoa

We hope your Tour Aotearoa journey will be the trip of a lifetime – for all the right reasons. There are serious risks in any adventure ride, so you need to prepare for a range of challenges, from foul weather to personal illness or bike failures.

It wouldn’t be a true bikepacking adventure if everything went to plan, right?

Be realistic

Know your fitness and skills

You need reasonable fitness and off-road biking skills to be able to complete Tour Aotearoa safely.

You will encounter some difficult single tracks in the first 1,000 km, and a loaded bike handles differently from a weekend recreation rig. Don’t expect to be able to ride the whole way ‒ accept you may need to get off and push up to 25 km in total of the 3000 km Tour Aotearoa. Walking a steep, slippery track is much faster than a trip to the hospital.

Plan to be flexible

An overambitious itinerary can lead to poor decision-making. Keep your plans flexible and add 1–2 days buffer in your schedule. Limit accommodation and boat bookings to a maximum of three days ahead, or you could find yourself unnecessarily pressured from unexpected hold-ups, such as bad weather or mechanicals.

Respect the environment

New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable and change quickly. Small streams and fords can rise rapidly and treacherously after heavy rain.
  • Ask locals for advice if the weather looks at all dodgy.
  • Never attempt a river crossing if you can’t see the bottom and a safe exit on the far side.
  • Always have your bike on the downstream side – if you slip over, you don’t want it washing onto you and pinning you down.
  • If in doubt, wait it out.

Respect the remoteness

There are some really remote areas along Tour Aotearoa – places in both the North and South Islands have no cell phone coverage.
  • You should carry an emergency personal locator beacon (PLB) or a personal satellite tracker (SPOT, InReach) on your person – it won’t help if you have it attached to your bike and you part ways during a serious crash. These devices can summon emergency services and share your location with friends.
  • Be prepared to navigate when you are out of cell phone coverage and choose a system that shows your location, quality maps, and has good battery life. GPX files are on our web site.
  • Travelling in small groups will reduce the risks. But it’s still a good idea for every rider to have first aid skills and carry a first aid kit.

Know your bike

To ride the self-supported Tour Aotearoa event, you must have the equipment and ability to fix a puncture, a broken chain, and a bent wheel at the very least.

Carry a spare derailleur hanger, spare brake pads, spare tubes, and cleat screws.

You must wear a helmet while riding – it’s the law in New Zealand.

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