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…so you & your family can SMILE when you ride

When YOU have the skills, knowledge, confidence & solutions you need, the choice of where you can go, what you can do & how often you will go – grows. How do you start?  get Safe, get Ready, get Better or get Inspired.
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Kids goUnders

New Zealand made fun and bright padded bike underwear by goRide.
Kids wear them under their everyday clothes when they ride. Their favourite pair of shorts or tights – they get to choose.
Make them comfortable on and off the bike and goRide more places, more often with a SMILE.
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The latest goRide stories

Kids Bike Pants – Do they need them?

February 24, 2017
When kids are doing something they love they can just keep at it forever.  My task orientated boy highlighted this during the recent summer holidays when he basically never got off his bike.  For 6 mornings in a row the first words out of his mouth were, ‘Can we do “Jaws” today?’ (Jaws is a super fun, flowing track in Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park, Tasman).  On would go his kids bike pants and off out the door to get his bike ready. Now this is great but boy, his poor wee body.  Spring time had bought with it a lot of wind and rain.  This meant we had spent hardly any time on the bikes and now here he was practically attached to it. What helped?  Well for all his bits down there, his bike pants. Do they need kids bike pants? Protection In my experience kids bike pants provide protection where it’s needed.  Yes they add an element of comfort but because children are so light weight they get less of a pain in their sit bones than adults.  What I’ve heard families talk about for both girls and boys is squashed bits (think soft tissue on a bike seat for a long time).  Also chaffing around the soft tissue area because of sweat and cotton underwear (see our story on Fabric for Activewear).  This is the main benefit of kids bike pants, and an important one.  It really influences the ability of your kids to enjoy longer distances and/or multiple days riding. Do they need kids bike pants? Places to go With the huge advances in bike technology over the past 15 years, kids can now ride bikes with gearing & suspension.  This allows them to go long distances and places they wouldn’t have been able to get to before. The infrastructure has changed dramatically with so many purpose built, safe, off road options to ride on.  Children are now regularly riding on trails or in areas like: one of the fantastic NZ Cycle Trail rides.  Read these stories about riding these trails with kids Alps to Ocean, WestCoast Wilderness Trail, Nelson to Kaiteriteri cycle pathways around your city or town mountain bike parks catering for beginners.  Read our Craters of the Moon, Taupo story for an example of families mountain biking together family biking holidays to cycle hubs e.g. Nelson/Kaiteri, Rotorua/Taupo, Queenstown Do they need kids bike pants? Being like Mum or Dad Like adults children enjoy wearing clothing that is designed for a specific task and if riding is their main sport or a big part of what you choose to do as a family padded riding pants should be considered.  It prepares them mentally for what’s about to come and makes them feel a part of the group.  They see adults wearing bike pants so want to be a part of that coummunity too.  The fun colours of goUnders also makes them smile…

How to Fix a Flat Tyre

February 23, 2017
Bike terms are a bit of a killer and when it comes to how to fix a flat tyre we have a really good example of confusing language being used.  Because, in most cases, it’s not actually a flat tyre but a flat tube you are dealing with – it’s the tube inside the tyre that holds the air.  You can get away with small holes/cuts in your tyre as long as the tube is not affected.  See Bike Parts – The Tyre for more info on this part of your bike. The exception to these statments are tubeless tyres which are more common on high end mountain and road bikes.  A tubeless tyre does not have a seperate inner tube so we will not be dealing with it here.     Women learning bike tools & bike parts So let’s choose to know what to do next time you look down and see a sad, squishy tyre.  Follow the steps below and if you need more information or a reminder about how to do a certain task, simply click the link, which will take you to the detailed story on that particular part of the process. 3 Easy Steps – How to fix a flat tyre   Hopefully that has given you some useful steps to make life with a bike easier. Choose to  know what to do so you can SMILE when you goRide.  

How to Get a Wheel Off & Back onto a Bike

February 9, 2017
How to get a wheel off a bike can be confusing and once you get it off, why won’t it go back on?  It simply won’t ‘fit’ – what’s happened here?!  I’m going to be honest, in the past I’ve sat looking at what is my very simple bike wheel in utter confusion. Why would you need to take your wheel off? when fixing a puncture you need access to your tube inside your tyre to transport your bike either to fit it inside a car or get it into a bike bag/box for airline travel to give your rear chain sprockets a really good clean – see Cleaning the Drive Train changing the tyre – see our How to Change a Bike Tyre story to fix or replace damage like buckling or broken spokes (when the wheel no longer spins in a straight line) So we should be in agreement that if you own a bike this is a handy skill to have mastered. To ‘get better’ at bike tasks you need to invest a little bit of time to understand a bike. This story is going to focus on how to get a wheel off & back onto your bike.   All these steps apply to a kids bike also. To follow is a step by step guide beginning with the front wheel then explaining the extra steps involved with the back wheel. Women Learning Bike Parts Step One Front Bike Wheel:  BRAKES Rim or Caliper brakes (pads on the rims of your wheel – see photo) will need to be released to allow your wheel room to move.  To open a brake you are either looking for a lever or button on a sidepull system (more common on road, commuter bikes).  Or to lift the cable on a v-brake (trail, mtn and kids bikes), see photo below.   Disc brakes don’t need to be touched as the rotor surface is flat allowing it to slide out of the space between the brake pads.  See disc brake photo above. Note: if you have disc brakes it is really important that while the wheel is off the bike that the brake lever is not touched.  Otherwise you will have to recalibrate the brakes…yeah you need to really understand how they work to do this so don’t touch the brake lever. Step Two Front Bike Wheel:  WHEEL AXEL To undo the wheel axel either open the quick release or unscrew the axel bolt in the middle of the wheel.  You will need a spanner/adjustable wrench to do this.  You will also need both hands to do this job.  Your spare hand will have to hold the bolt on the opposite side to the locking mechanism.  So depending on how long your arms are in relation to the size of the wheel you are working on – it may be easier to turn the bike upside down. Don’t unscrew it completely you are just creating space.  Watch out for springs, washers and/or bolts falling to the ground.   Step Three Front Bike Wheel:  DROPOUT The wheel will be moving out of what is known as the dropout (see photos below). 

Bike Tools – Puncture Repair Kit

December 8, 2016
Choose to know what to do with a puncture repair kit… Let’s gain some knowledge that will help when you are reaching for this particular bike tool under a little bit of time pressure and you need it to work the first time. All you want is for everything to go smoothly so you can get on your way, how hard could that be? To ‘get ready’ you need to invest a little bit of time to understand your bike tools. Choose to know what to do then you can goRide with a SMILE.   Women Learning Bike Tools – The Puncture Repair Kit What is it? A small tool kit design to be portable and have all you need in it to fix a puncture (hole) in your tube. This kit will have some or all of these things… patches (with glue if needed, otherwise they are self adhesing) a scraping tool and/or sandpaper small rubber tube to dry the area before the patch goes on small piece of chalk to mark where the hole is It doesn’t have to be a part of the basic tool kit you carry with you everytime you ride – you can choose to carry a spare tube and replace the tube if there is a problem.  However, a puncture repair kit is smaller than a spare tube so this may be a better choice for you.  Whatever you choose to do at some point you will need to fix the puncture so you can use the tube again… Why do you use it? To cover any holes in your tube that let air escape and therefore result in a flat or soft tyre.  Once these holes are correctly covered with the patch you can pump up the tube and use it again. How do you use it?   To find the hole, remove your wheel.  For help with this see ‘How to get a wheel off & back onto a bike’ (coming in the next few weeks). Then remove your tyre with tyre levers (learn how to do this here).  This gives you access to the tube.  If it’s obvious what’s caused the hole – glass, nail, gorse stuck in your tube this part is easy.  If not, this part can be tricky, you may need to pump some air into your tube and submerge it in water to find where the air is escaping.  Mark with chalk if you have some. Prepare the surface for the patch.  To get a good stick you need to roughen up the surface of the tube with your scraping tool and/or sandpaper.  Make sure the surface is dry – use the small rubber tube it you have one. Apply the patch either by using a little glue or pealing off the protective layer of a self adhesive patch.  The patch needs to be firmly pressed or held in place for about a minute.   Your tube is now ready to be used again…. Pump a small amount of air back into the tube – when it has some shape to it, it is

What to wear on a bike?

November 24, 2016
    What to wear on a bike?  Seems like a fairly simple question but why do so many people ride in lycra? Lycra was designed for professional road riding athletes in the 1970’s to keep their chamois (padding) in place, to be aerodynamic and for printing vibrancy (sponsorship).  Do you really need to be aerodynamically skin tight & branded when riding on a cycle trail or to the library? Let’s get our style on and get comfortable at the same time.  You do not have to wear lycra when you are riding a bike.  Let’s look at what the alternatives to riding in lycra are… Alternatives to Riding in Lycra – Allow Movement Clothing will need a bit of stretch or a bit of ease/space to allow movement.  Let’s consider what’s moving – your legs (hips & knees) so if you choose to enclose them in pants, leggings or shorts these garments must give you room to move or stretch as you move.  My daughter, like a lot of girls out there, prefers to ride in leggings – see the photo to the right where she is wearing her favourite casual leggings.  Leggings and capri style pants are both great options if they contain lycra or elastane for stretch. Skirts are slightly different as they give you space with the exception of tube skirts and mini skirts.  You also need to think about the length of the skirt, it will ‘ride’ up your legs if it is fitted.  Ideally go for a knee length with a flare or A-line to allow movement.  In windy conditions you may have to hold it down. If your activity level is low your fabric choice is wide.  Please be aware that cotton is not a good choice for medium to high level exercising (See Women’s Riding Clothing – Fabric Choice). If you like a sporty look your choice of clothing is huge and it doesn’t have to be skin tight & shiny.  Exercise gear is booming – along with traditional sportswear companies many designers have jumped on the sport wear wagon so you have a good choice of styles and fabrics in everyday wear.  Some of the technological enhancements to look for include breathability, wicking & odour resistance (See Women’s Riding Clothing – Fabric Choice).   Alternatives to Riding in Lycra – Be Comfortable We have covered your ease of movement now what about your comfort on the bike at your 3 points of contact.  In particular, as we are talking about clothing lets talk about cushioning for your bottom.  If you want to have a chamois (padding) protecting your contact point with the seat (See Why Wear Padded Riding Shorts) but don’t want to wear lycra, what can you do? We suggest padded cycling underwear… Yes, you read that right, but not just normal underwear, underwear with a minimal flat chamois (padded bit).  Designed to be discreet, keep you happy while walking around off the bike and give you unlimited riding clothing choices.  This garment can be worn under anything you choose to ride in.

Women’s Riding Clothing – Fabric Choice

November 10, 2016
Yet again, as we are discovering with so many riding related things, there is so much choice… women’s riding clothing, specifically designed for moderate to high intensity exercise, can come in all sorts of options which is great if you know what you’re looking for. Come with me on a journey that will take a look at fabric choice for exercise so you can better understand what you should be looking for and why it’s a good choice.  If you’re riding is easy or low intensity, there is no need for special clothes.  Just allow movement and be comfortable…see What to wear on a bike?   What Should the Fabric in Womens Riding Clothing do? Control Moisture. You are dealing with two elements here 1. Sweat/heat being trapped creates condensation on the inside of your clothing so allow this mositure to get out so that it is not absorbed  2. Rain – stopping moisture from getting in and being absorbed. Why do you need to control moisture? Once your clothing is wet, in warm conditions, it will lead to chaffing, and in cold conditions, it will lead to hypothermia. The combination of wet clothing & wind is dangerous and riding creates a draft without any help from the actual weather conditions. Allow Movement. Clothing should stretch and be non restricting. Places that this movement is needed are generally joints so across your shoulders, elbows, hips, butt, knees… Terms you will come across… Wicking – allows moisture to move through the fabric weave, pulling it off your skin onto the surface of the fabric to evaporate which is cooling. These types of fabrics have a direction of pull so don’t wear them inside out! Breathable – a bit of a contradiction as it prevents water from entering while allowing moisture usually in the form of body heat out. Lycra – lycra is a brand name for the generic term spandex and can also be called elastane. Weaved into a fabric it allows stretch and holding of shape. Our Women’s Padded Bike Pants Buying Guide will help you see the range of choices. Fast drying – as the name suggests dries at a rapid rate, usually found in base layer garments. Nike coined the term “Dri-fit” Anti-microbial – also called odour resistant, this is a treatment applied to the fabric to prevent the build up of bacteria that leads to smell Water resistant – repells water to a certain degree Waterproof – does not allow water to pass through the fabric   Fibre Choices in Women’s Riding Clothing Expect blends – manufacturers create exceptional fabrics by choosing two or more fibres for their performance benefits… So as much as you can match your level of exertion to the fabric features.         Tips for Cleaning Women’s Riding Clothing some of these fabrics are water repelling so not easy to clean which leads to smelly exercise gear…pre-soaking is the answer. Either with a anti-microbial detergent or 1 cup of vinegar in a bucket or wash tub of water

Alps to Ocean: The Vercoe Family’s Inspiring Story

October 27, 2016
We Did It!  The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail over 4 days & 3 nights – October (Springtime) 2016! Rhea, 11yrs & Isaac, 8yrs rode sections on the first 2 days with me.  We choose the alternative start point in Tekapo.  See our story Alps to Ocean:  Planning & Preparation for all the details.  Read on for the highlights and our comments about our trip…   Spring time is a fantastic time of year to ride this trail….snow capped mountains reflected in canals and lakes…just breath taking.  The down side to this is slightly unstable weather, we had rain overnight on two of our three nights camping and I endured a southerly weather change going into Oamaru making me cold and wet for the end of my ride. MY HIGHLIGHTS: Day One:  Tekapo to Lake Pukaki:  Riding with the kids, canals and the colour of the water, Mt Cook and surrounding snow capped Southern Alps, just awesome.  Also the great little cycle track along Lake Pukaki shore. Day Two:  Lake Pukaki to Lake Ohau to Omarama:  Riding with Rhea to Twizel with stunning views of Mt Cook behind us and the MacKenzie countryside opening up in front of us.  The majestic Ben Ohau & stunning views over Lake Ohau from Tarnbrae Track. Day Three:  Omarama to Otematata to Lake Aviemore Dam: Lovely ride along the shore of Lake Benmore to Sailors Cutting – this would be great for kids. Riding over Benmore Dam and peaceful ride along shores of Lake Aviemore. Day Four: Kurow to Duntroon to Oamaru: Great little section through a working vineyard, fun little climb & downhill after Elephant rocks & these amazing rock formations, surprisingly pretty street that is Winsor, Oamaru gardens is stunning and finally the streets and shop fronts of the Oamaru old town – Wow!  It just puts a smile on your face when you see the ocean.   MY COMMENTS: I don’t recommend doing this entire trail over 4 days, it’s meant to be ridden in 6 to 8 for a reason.  Instead of spending most of the day on the bike you can rest up and explore the area you have stopped at and enjoy your surroundings in a more relaxed manner than I managed. Sections of this track have not been designed with young families or people towing trailers in mind. Some of it would be really challenging in terms of track widths and surfaces for bikes towing trailers.  Every section of track seemed to have multiple gate/vehicle stop barriers – see photo to right.  I imagine you would need to unhitch your trailer at all these barriers – depending on its height. Towing any kind of trailer for gear or for your toddler would be difficult from Ohau over the Tarnbrae Track and there are several gravel road sections that are sluggish and hard going on a bike without the added weight of towing something. Bike tyres can clear patheways but trailer wheels sit wide and don’t follow these lines so would get stuck in gravel & shingle.  The river crossings

Alps to Ocean: Preparation & Planning

October 13, 2016
The Vercoe Family planned and prepared for an adventurous ride, bike touring the Alps to Ocean over 4 days and 3 nights in October 2016!  This was mainly a ride for me, Annette, with my two children Rhea, aged 11 and Isaac, aged 8 joining me for child friendly sections of the ride.  We decided to do the ride this way because of time restrictions – we only had 4 days to complete the trail.  This means I will be riding multiple sections in the same day – distances which are too far for the children to enjoy.  If you too are restricted by time but don’t want to ride large distances take the advice of the Kennett brothers… “If you don’t have time to do the whole trail, cherry pick stages 2, 3 & 4 – they have the best scenery, the least traffic and lots of purpose built cycle path.  The other sections are largly on road.”   Get Ready to goRide – The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail – Tekapo to Oamaru.  PLAN the destination.  We chose to ride 267km of the 300km Alps to Ocean Trail, riding from Tekapo to Oamaru, missing an on road section heading into Kurow (18km).  Note: Tekapo is becoming the preferred start point (15km shorter).  Mount Cook is the official starting point of this track.  Starting at Mt Cook means you will have to take a helicoptor ride over the braided, wide, glacial Tasman River. The helicoptors only fly in good weather and a minimum of 6 people is required.  See HeliWorks 0800 666 668 or Helicoptor Line 0800 650 651 for information.     Books that include good descriptions of the trail:  The New Zealand Cycle Trails. Nga Haerenga  by Jonathan Kennett or Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails by The Kennett Brothers.  These books also contain other New Zealand cycle trails so are good value for money if you plan on doing more than one trail. or the official NZ Cycleways website www.alps2ocean.com has great maps of individual sections which I found really helpful with planning which sections the children would enjoy riding with me. Packaged Tours & Accomodation Options:  www.alps2ocean.com/packaged-tours The MacKenzie Country, where the majority of the Alps2Ocean ride is located, is sparsely populated.  Tekapo has approximately 370 residents but enjoys a steady flow of tourists.  It has a small supermarket, cafes, restaurants, petrol station and several different accommodation options.  The biggest town along the trail is Twizel. Oamaru at the end of the ride is substantial compared to these villages, it has 21,000 people.  This area is extremely popular with tourists and the two Highways you are riding by, or on, are major truck routes in and out of the central South Island.     What did The Vercoe Family Alps to Ocean trip look like? We chose to do this trail supported by my Mum & Dad.  Who have already biked the trail so have a bit of local knowledge and a self contained caravan which means we are camping in Spring! Day One: Tekapo to Lake Pukaki 43km We set off from the Tekapo start around 10.30am.  This is opposite the town

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