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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Road bike OK for New Zealand?

    I only own 1 bike. It is a high-quality touring bike that I normally run with 700x28 or 700x32 tires. It looks to me like touring on the South Island involves off-road trails. Will my usual tires handle these trails? If not, will a bit wider tires do the trick or do I have to bring a mountain bike?

    I'm planning to ride there in late February-early March.

    Thanks,

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I hear they don't have roads down there. Do you have a machete?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    The 700x32 should be able to handle the trails -- that's what I toured on when I was there. The Central Otago rail trail is one you won't want to miss.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  4. #4
    Bike touring webrarian
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    My wife doesn't ride at all, though she is physically fit. She wants to do some riding when we are in NZ (before my tour).

    Is the Central Otago rail trail suitable for her? Or, should I look elsewhere?

    Thanks,

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    My wife doesn't ride at all, though she is physically fit. She wants to do some riding when we are in NZ (before my tour).

    Is the Central Otago rail trail suitable for her? Or, should I look elsewhere?

    Thanks,

    Ray
    If she has the same bike as you do it should be OK. If she has an ultra-light weight racing bike with super skinny tyres, I'd look elsewhere.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Hi, yes, you can do plenty of trail riding but you can also cover the South Island without leaving tarseal roads. There's so much stunning scenery and quiet roads. If you wish to ride up the West Coast you'll need to be well prepared as there's no cellphone coverage and 100s of kms between towns - you can ride for an hour and not see a house. NZ Road Cyclist Magazine's latest issue has a good feature on the best South Island rides, you should be able to order a copy online, it has a website www.nzroadcyclist.co.nz
    A book 'Classic New Zealand Road Rides' has some great south island road rides too. Your bike will be fine. South Island roads are chip surface but not rough, cyclists ride the length of the country on 23c tyres. I live in the North island where the roads are worst, I've done 700kms since my last puncture.
    You'll have a fantastic time.

  7. #7
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    My wife doesn't ride at all, though she is physically fit. She wants to do some riding when we are in NZ (before my tour).

    Is the Central Otago rail trail suitable for her? Or, should I look elsewhere?

    Thanks,

    Ray
    The Central Otago Rail Trail wouldn't be too much of a problem if she is fit. Most of the grades are gentle as they were designed for trains. The bikes that they hire out in Middlemarch (one end of the rail trail) are basically 700c hybrids with a front suspension fork and a rear rack and wide tyres (32 - 40). You wife would need to be comfortable riding on gravel though.

    Having biked roughly along the route of the Rail-trail on a vintage cycle tour (the gravel rail trail is too rough for Penny Farthings) it is a spectacular and stunning ride. I did ride on the rail trail for part of the ride just so I could say I had. I was riding a single-speed c1915 bike with 28 x 1 tyres and it was fine for me.

    A nice diversion from the Rail Trail is to take a day trip to St Bathans.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    Fit new tyres before you come.
    25C or larger road tyres other than cheapies are hard to find and are always wire bead. You can find:

    Specialised Armadillo up to 28C, I think they are not supposed to be advertised online so you have to ask around.
    Vittoria Randonneurs up to 35C.
    Conti Gatorskins are supplied by Burkes in Wellington and dunno who else in 25 & 28C, wire bead only.

    What NZers do in practise for "weird" tyres is buy them from the UK or US. Wiggle doesn't charge postage for orders over about USD70.

  9. #9
    Studs Terkel Johnny_Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simonius View Post
    Fit new tyres before you come.
    This is a good point. For biosecurity reasons probably not a good idea to have used tyres on your bike when you arrive in NZ or Australia.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Monkey View Post
    .... For biosecurity reasons probably not a good idea to have used tyres on your bike when you arrive in NZ or Australia.
    Ah yes, our biosecurity folk are VERY fussy about anything which MIGHT have any trace of mud, seeds, insect eggs etc on it.

    Used camping gear freaks them right out. Items which can not be cleaned easily on the spot are put in a gas chamber overnight, at your expense. For cheaper items people often opt to have them incinerated, I think this is free.

    If you have a number of bags it is important to know exactly where the suspect stuff is, preferably all in one bag. The standard is quite high, you need to get shoes etc perfectly clean especially in the seams.

    If you move to NZ with a house lot of cartons and can't remember which one your hiking boots are in then you have to pay an inspection fee for every carton, and the whole lot gets held up until they are inspected!

  11. #11
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