Touring - anybody ridden in new zealand?
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07-22-09, 07:00 PM
wonderin how the roads are. more for riding than touring, but they usually go hand in hand, minus the extreme distances from bed of course.
07-22-09, 08:11 PM
Yup, I toured there for about 2 months a few years ago. I think there're some actual New Zealander's on this forum, so correct me if I goof any of this up.
North Island is more populated, lots of traffic, very hilly.
South Island is more mountainous but less hilly (i know, that's weird, but it is) and much less populated - away from the bigger cities the traffic volume is low. But it's only actually flat in the Canterbury Plains around Christchurch.
Both islands have very clean chipseal pavement and no shoulder to speak of for the most part. I've heard lots of complaints about the drivers there, but generally found them to be more polite than in the USA.
It's windy as hell, and the wind direction changes on a daily basis.
I'd go back, it was great!
07-22-09, 10:26 PM
Here's our take on the roads:
There's some good, some bad and some glorious. Bring wide tyres and hit the dirt roads for the best cycling, in our opinion.
They used to have a lot of gravel roads, which could be avoided, but you sure didn't want to do any real mileage on those roads. The north island is sort of like starting in San Francisco and riding north to Oregon. The south island is like starting in Portland and riding to Sitka Alaska. The islands are surrounded by ocean, so there are no deserts. It is just mountains and greenery on every side. This is with only 3 million people in the whole place. The worst part of NZ is the food. I remember when my bicycle coach, Bryce Beaston, visited the US he said "blimey, you yanks have gourmet restaurants by the roadside every where you look!".I asked which restaurants he was referring to, he said "Denny's!".
07-23-09, 02:12 AM
I've toured on both Islands, and loved it. I'd go back, well, according to Maori Legend I WILL be back to revisit one particular hill in 2015, but that's another thread.
Personally I didn't have any problems with drivers over there, except perhaps in Auckland. Overall I found New Zealand drivers much better behaved (on both islands) than what I'm used to dealing with everyday in this part of the world. There is definitely a higher volume of traffic on the North Island, but it's also easier to avoid the major highways on the North, while on the South, the major highways are often the only route between two places. I second the comment on the wind, but for the most part it seems to get stronger as you go further south, and from my experience, the strongest winds come from the west.
Pat from CA
07-23-09, 08:40 AM
Ride the East Cape on the North Island....unbelievably beautiful and not crowded.
As valygrl said, the roads are chipseal, so they're not the most smooth for cycling. The grades on the hills tended to be steeper than in North America. I found the drivers to be terrible, but outside of Aukland there weren't a lot of them, so it wasn't too bad.
07-23-09, 12:00 PM
ride the east cape on the north island....unbelievably beautiful and not crowded.
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