Tour Aotearoa – Bikepacking New Zealand
We are excited to share JOhn Ramsden’s adventure across New Zealand by bike. Learn more as he prepares for this ride of a lifetime and follow along.
Tour Aotearoa is one of the world’s great bikepacking trips: stretching 3,000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff it follows a combination of cycle trails, tracks, paths and lanes connected by the most enjoyable country roads available.
I first heard about it from Anka Martin at TransProvence 2015. It was her intent to participate in the first event which occurred in February of 2016. The event is the brainchild of Jonathon Kennet who has patched together the collection of roads and trails that trace the entire length of New Zealand.
The event is a Brevet. There are a few rules. They can be essentially broken down to
- It is self-supported – no outside help
- You must complete the exact route in more than 10 days and less than 30.
- You must have 6 hours rest in the 24 hour period from 9am to 9am, and
- There are 30 photo control points where you must take a picture to prove you were there.
And that is essentially it.
I have had a fair amount of time to think about the event and the logistics involved. I have used the information I learned from bikepacking the Stagecoach 400 as well as reading many blogs from the original event in 2016 such as http://www.ankamartin.com/blog/2016/3/23/bw0vmhh3b905dydeblh1nlyaeht5lb
I will provide more on my choices in another blog.
You are required to carry a SPOT or similar tracker for the entire event. Follow us at www.maprogress.com under Tour Aotearoa 2018. There are 6 waves of 100 riders each. The first wave of which I am a part starts February 10, 2018 and the last wave starts February 28. I will be posting as I travel along.
Follow John as he rides here: https://share.garmin.com/JohnRamsden
Back in 1996 I was first introduced to Todd “Digger” Fiander on a bike ride on Mt. Fromme. At the time all the good trails were the secret ones and Todd rode them all. I was lucky enough to get the invite on a few of these rides and knew Todd was going to be a big part of the next revolution in mountain bike trail creation.
He was building trails and filming friends insane enough to ride his trails to make his famous North Shore Extreme Videos. Todd asking me to be in his first NSX video not only got my name into the video and out into the community but also gave publicity to my new bike shop – Steed Cycles. The timing was great and so was what Todd was up to.
The North Shore Trails are well known not only locally but by mountain bike enthusiast all over the world. This is all owed to the hard work and passion of one man – Digger. Because of Diggers work on and off the trails we were able to captialize on the growing mtb scene. People wanted bikes that would allow them to keep up with Todds work and to make sure that their bikes were North Shore worthy. This meant that bike manufacturers changed their suspension requirements, tire sizes and geometry to keep up with Todd’s trails.
Steed Cycles and myself personally owe a lot to Digger not only for his constant support of Steed but for making trails that I personally love to ride and get so much enjoyment from.
We have learned that Todd will be taking some time off from the trails later this Summer as he goes under the knife to replace both of his knees. He will potentially be taking 1 year off and the community has banded together to create a fundraising campaign for the man himself – Digger Kneeds Knees!
Please contribute what you can or share the story with those you feel could give back. We look forward to seeing Todd back on the trails in 2018 better than ever. The Shore wouldn’t be the incredible mountain biking haven it is without the passion and dedication of this man.
Thank you for everything Digger! Heal up!