Front vs Rear Kids Bike Seats – What should YOU choose?

Front vs Rear Kids Bike Seats – What should YOU choose?

A short story to clear up a few issues and help with the decision making around kids bike seats.  Especially when you are buying for a young child around the age of one. So read on for advice on front vs rear kids bike seats and what we know…

Mini Nexxt & Sleep - multiple kids attached to the bike

What will influence your decision…

PRICE – there is not really much difference.  The range being from least expensive front option at $219 to most expensive rear option at $299.  So for the extra investment of $80 you could get the perfect set up that will work for years. There is a difference in return compare the Front (Mini) 1-3yrs to the Rear (Maxi) 1-6yrs.

WHERE YOU RIDE – stopping lots or in traffic, commuting to work while doing a childcare drop off a rear seat just seems to work for families. Compared to quiet roads, cycleways, bike paths or bike trails where a front seat is just awesome to have your child between your arms and so easy to interact with.

TYPE OF BIKE –  you may not have a choice between front & rear depending on the type of bike you ride.  Are you willing to buy a new bike for the specific job of riding with your child?  Rear seats do not work with rear suspension or carbon frames.  Also bigger bike frames are better (medium and up).  Front seats are designed for upright step through frames & urban commuting bikes – adult in an upright position.  Attaching a front seat to any other kind of bike means you will be sacrificing something in the way of your comfort while riding.  Usually that is space between your chest & the seat or space to dismount off the front of your seat when you stop.

Thule rear seat & toddler helmet combo.goRide

Rear seats are a great in traffic, commuting, bike path choice.

Bobike Maxi & Mini One. Yellow.goRide

Step through bike frames are a great match to front seats, they give you space.  Even on a small frame you should be able to come off the front of your saddle/seat to stop.

Yepp Mini attached via A-head adaptor. goRide

Sport or mountain style bikes may place a front seat in a reclined position taking more of your space.

RIDING WITH ADDED WEIGHT

Rear seats add weight that is high at the back of your bike so you need to be aware of the tipping effect where your front wheel can lift off the ground if there is too much weight in the back of your bike.  This does not tend to happen with bike frames that are medium or larger.

Front seats are placed on your handlebar stem so it will take a couple of rides to get used to the change in the feel of your handlebars.

HOW YOU STOP & START

Rear seats prevent you from swinging your leg over your rear wheel to dismount from your bike.  To stop you must come off the front of your seat and and then manoeuvre your leg somehow.  This is super easy with a step through (no top tube) frame.  Not so easy or elegant with a high top tube.

Front seats may prevent you from coming off the front of your saddle/seat to stop.  This is more likely with a sport/trail or mountain style bike that puts the kids front seat in a slightly reclined position.  It will definitely happen with all small/x-small bike frames.  Some people are happy to get around this by lowering their seat so they can touch the ground and remain seated when coming to a stop. (Again a problem for x-small/small bike frames ridden by shorter people – how will you know see around the seat).  If you have a seat dropper you can adjust your seat as you approach a stop so your feet can reach the ground.  If you don’t lower your seat in some way the only alternative is to completely dismount with every stop – leg over rear wheel to come to standing next to the bike.

ATTACHMENT OPTIONS

Rear seats have two ways to place the seat on the bike.  The most common is straight onto a rear carrier.  The second way is directly onto your bike frame at the seat post tube (tube under your seat) meaning you do not need a rear carrier on your bike.  This second way can only be used with frames medium or larger.  Both methods are not compatible with E-Bike batteries placed on or over the rear carrier.

Front seats are attached by a clamp placed on your handlebar stem.  Not all handlebar stems are the same – some have lots of space (town, urban, commute style bikes) some have very little space.  How much space you have here will effect which brand of front seat you can use.  The only seat on the market that offers an option for not much space (5-8mm) is the Yepp Mini now made by Thule.  To understand more about your handlebar stem see our story… Will a Mini fit on your bike?

2nd Adaptor

Thule Nexxt front seat & adaptor for attachment

2nd Apator Yepp Mini

Thule Yepp front seat & adaptor for attachment

Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi. Carrier Mount, Aqua. goRide

The rear Thule Nexxt screws directly onto a carrier

Adaptor for Yepp maxi

Thule Yepp rear seat & frame adaptor for attachment

get Inspired and goRide –  Front vs Rear Kids Bike Seats – What should you choose?

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Kids bike seats – What are the options?

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The Remutaka Cycle Trail, NZ – a ‘great’ family multi day ride

The Remutaka Cycle Trail, NZ – a ‘great’ family multi day ride

When we make the effort and take the time to go on a family biking adventure like riding The Remutaka Cycle Trail, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great’ multi-day biking adventure it comes down to planning and preparation.

In this story I am going to introduce you to the John family (Mum, Dad, 14 year old boy and 12 year old girl) and their experience of riding a variation of the Remutaka Cycle Trail.  Maymorn (Upper Hutt) to Eastbourne via the Remutaka (Rimutaka) Incline in January 2020.

The Remutaka Cycle Trail is part of the NZ Cycle Trail Network making up one of the 22 great rides. It is located in the lower North Island starting in Petone and finishing in Oronogorongo.  It is graded from easy to advanced by the NZ Cycle Trail. We did a variation on this ride:

We traveled from Central Wellington to Maymorn on the train (located just past Upper Hutt). Biked from Maymorn over the Rimutaka Incline to the Waiarapa and down to the south coast (Ocean Beach). Along the coast (wild coast ride) and around to Days Bay where we caught the ferry back to Central Wellington. This trip is approximately 100km and we completed it over 2 days.

Is it doable?

How far is the biking journey? Approximately 98km.  We choose to do this ride over 2 days, staying a night near Lake Waiarapa. To complete this journey your family needs to be able to ride between 40-60km per day. Given the variable weather conditions that you can encounter in this part of New Zealand if you have any doubts then I suggest you either;

  1. Finish at Oronogorongo (there are shuttle pick ups available) or
  2. Stay an additional night at Orongorongo (Riverstone Cottage) making this a 3 day journey
DAY ONE – Maymorn to Ocean Beach = 58 km – is it doable?

Section 1: Maymorn to Cross Creek – 25km… it is 17km to the summit of the Rimutaka Incline

The day starts with you making your way along a gravel and sealed road to the start of the Rimutaka Incline. Once on the incline it is a nice gradual climb on compacted gravel up to the summit. This very family friendly section has lots of points of interest and fun to keep all the family inspired and smiling.

  • The regular information posts make for a lot of interest and nice regular breaks as well as regular opportunity for the family to regather.
  • The are 3 tunnels to enjoy on your journey up the Remutaka Incline: Mangaroa Tunnel, Pakuratahi Tunnel and Summit Tunnel… so carry a torch!
  • We found a spot under one of the bridges for a refreshing dip in Pukuratahi River.

Section 2 : Cross Creek to Ocean Beach 33km. (The South Coast of the North Island)

This section is traveling towards the coast on a sealed rural road – Western Lake Road down to Ocean Beach.

Where to stay:

The best place to stay if choosing this 2 day itinerary is Te Rakau Birding that has a couple of converted railway cabins (located near Ocean Beach)

If choosing to do the ride over three days then Karaka Cottage on Waiorongomai Station located 13km along Western Lake Road from Cross Creek offer a better balanced ride for km/day. Karaka Cottage also offer catering options. Combine this with staying at Riverstone Cottage at Orongorongo or you can finish up here.

If you have the ability to carry gear then camping at the basic DOC campground at Corner Creek just beyond Ocean Beach on the south coast may be an option.

Maymourn station

Off the train at Maymorn Station and ready to start the trail

gates on Rimutaka Incline goRide

These gates are at regular intervals on the Rimutaka Incline… please consider ease to get through them if using a kids bike seat or trailer

Information board Rimutaka Cycle Trail goRide

Infromartion posts that provide interesting history at regular intervals along the Rimutaka Incline

DAY TWO – Ocean Beach to Days Bay = 39 km – is it doable?

Section 1: Ocean Beach to Orongorongo 17km

This section along the Wild Coast is exposed and rugged. You are riding on course sand which can provide challenges for traction and also gravel and rock sections. There are a few places along the way that require you to walk your bike to get over the rock. See photos.

Don’t be put off though, 90-95% along here was ride-able for our family and getting off didn’t cause any issues at all.  The key is to allow time as this on/off type riding and the terrain means that the distance you can travel is a lot slower.

Section 2: Orongorongo to Days Bay 21km

From Orongorongo you need to bike approximately 2km up the valley on the sealed road to a bridge so you can cross the Wainuiomata River. Once across the bridge you have a bit of a steep climb up the sealed/gravel road – up and over Baring Head and then down – back to the coast. Turn right and continue to make your way around the coast continuing past Pencarrow Lighthouse. Yes, its worth a stop.  It can be busy with day trippers so carrying a lightweight lock to lock the bikes together so you know they will be safe as you do the short walk up to the old lighthouse.

Continue to ride the coast to Eastbourne along the Eastbourne Esplanade to Days Bay…where you can catch the ferry to Wellington (bikes travel free).

Ocean Beach goRide

Reached Ocean Beach

Rocky sections Rimutaka Cycle trail goRide

An example of the rocky sections of the trail that require you to dismount your bike and walk

South Coast Rimutaka Cycle trail sandy track goRide

Beautiful views along the south coast on the Remutaka Cycle Trail

What skills will you need to do this ride? This track is graded as an easy to intermediate track. The track is a combination of sealed road, compacted gravel, course sand and rock (which will require you to dismount your bike and walk across). The technical riding comes from being comfortable riding on sand and small rocks and being comfortable getting on and off your bike.

What level of fitness will you need to do this ride? You will need moderate levels of fitness. The Rimutaka Incline is well graded trail but at other times along the way you will need to do some short climbs. You will need endurance to complete the ride – although there are many options and variations of the number of days and your start and finish points. Simply, you can tailor the ride to suit your families capabilities.

How could the weather effect the success of your journey?  The location of the track, in the Wellington region, and being a very exposed track means that weather can play a large part in the success of your journey. This is a challenge to manage as a family as you obviously cannot control the weather. Some things to help – keep your days shorter (so maybe complete over 3 days).  Have some flexibility on the days you can choose to ride.

Is this ride possible with kids attached or towed? The ruggedness of this ride as well as the daily distance means it is not an ideal ride for kids attached. We carried a  Tow Whee tow rope  with us and we used it.  It is easy and light to carry and it assisted my 12 year old girl at the end of day 2 when struggling against a very good Wellington wind.  Also up and over Baring Head.

Tow Rope Rimutaka Cycle Trail goRide

Towards the end of day 2 – a tired Hollie and a good Wellington head wind – required the tow rope we were carrying to be attached and we continued our journey with SMILES still on the kids faces.

South Coast Rimutaka Cycle trail goRide

We were blessed with a beautiful day… but the weather can certainly be more rugged on this exposed part of the trail.

Feeling Comfortable

To have an enjoyable experience riding the Remutaka Cycle Trail you need to make sure you are comfortable in the weather conditions while riding your bike.  You also need to be comfortable carrying gear. The gear you carry will depend on the support you choose (where you stay, self catering versus catered) at minimum you will need to at least carry gear for the day – additional clothing as well as food and water.

Comfortable in the weather conditions

You will be riding for a number of hours each day so clothing choice needs to not restrict any movement. It also needs to protect and regulate temperature. The Remutaka Cycle Ride is an exposed trail so you need to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.  The gear required will vary a little depending on the time of year doing the trail.

Comfortable on the bike

The right type of bike.  You are going to be riding on varied terrain but the rocky sections along the coast mean that mountain bikes are ideal. Though a gravel bike can be an option.

Comfortable at the contact points on the bike.  You are on the bike for a number of hours each day, for 2 plus consecutive days.  The surface is bumpy, being comfortable on the bike is a MUST.

  1. Your bottom on the seat.  A comfortable saddle – a women’s specific saddle that is set up correctly. Bike seat adjustment.   Shop Padded Bike Pants and Women’s Bike Saddles.
  2. Hands on the handlebars.  Bike gloves and  bike brake levers set up correctly.  Shop bike gloves
  3. Feet on the pedals.  Merino socks and footwear for on and off the bike.

We will be working on riding in a relaxed and efficient riding position. Chi Riding (Chi Riding – Tip 1 – Riding Position, Tip 2 – Core control, Tip 4- Breathing).

Comfortable carrying gear

You are riding in a reasonably remote area – you need to be comfortable carrying gear – first aid kit,  wet weather/warm clothing  as well as food and water for the day.

To help with balance and control of our bikes on the terrain, we carried our gear within the confines of the bike in a small backpack, frame bags, handle bar bags, seat bags, and a rear carrier with a dry bag.

Access to water & food…We need to carry food and water for each day of riding. There are some water options along the way. On the Rimutaka Incline and also Cross Creek Campground.

Being Safe

There is a lot of crossover between feeling comfortable and being safe – being comfortable will also support your safety. The main thing is we need you to consider both comfort and safety.

Your bike and safety

Clean and prepare the bike and the chain. Do you need to do any maintenance work? Change the brake pads? Check the tyres for tread and any wear. Our family carries tools, split between us, to help ensure that we can fix most problems or challenges along the way.

What tools will you need to take and carry? Check out our tool kit suggestions for a multi day mountain bike ride.

Before you head out on the trail each day you will need to do a pre-ride bike safety check – is it safe?  A checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order, and then you can prevent and/or solve any issues before you start the day.

You and safety

You are in the backcountry so you need to tell someone when and where you are going, how long you are going for and when you expect to be back. Carrying a cellphone is always a good idea but there any many areas of the New Zealand backcountry that do not have cell phone coverage. If you are in a remote area it is suggested that you carry a personal locator beacon. PLB.

You have checked your bike now we need to know that YOU are safe. See Am I safe to Bike Tour? A checklist to complete that ensures you are safe to goRide.

Safety in the environment

Carry a Map – Over the Rimutaka Incline the track is very well signposted at every kilometre so it is very hard to go wrong. Once leaving the Incline it is important to understand your route. A map is useful to know exactly where you are and how much further you need to go etc. The kids often enjoy this understanding and enjoy helping with planning and motivation along the way.

Carry a First Aid Kit – Accidents can and will happen. We are prepared with a compact first aid kit for mountain bikers to help us deal with minor injuries  See First Aid Kit for Bike Touring.

Carry a personal locator beacon. Make sure the whole family know who is carrying it and where it is located.

Having Fun

Riding the Rimutaka Cycle Ride and experiencing this part of New Zealand on a bike is very rewarding. There is great variation over the ride…lots for all ages of the family to enjoy. The Rimutaka Incline has great history and the information boards are full of interesting information.  The tunnels, and the Siberia Swing Bridge… fun fun fun. On the southern coast there is wildlife to enjoy… we saw a large pod of dolphins and there is a seal colony at Turakirae Head. The Pencarrow Lighthouse makes for another destination to get to along the way.  Finishing in Eastbourne/Days Bay which has plenty of cafes to enjoy and if the weather allows a dip in the sea before you head back to Wellington on the ferry. 

For our family holiday we decided to link up the Timber Trail with a trip to Rotorua to enjoy its cultural diversity as well as spending time on the mountain biking trails.

Tunnel Rimutaka Incline goRide

Bring a torch…there are tunnels to go through and the summit tunnel incline is long

new bridge Rimutaka Incline goRide

Siberia swing bridge…super fun to ride…maybe we went back for a second go. It can get windy here so a little caution if it is blowing

Does it fit?

If you are keen to experience a multi-day, 100km, bike ride starting with a train ride and finishing with a boat ride then this track is a good option for your family. Just make sure you are prepared for what the weather may throw at you!

get Inspired and goRide – The Remutaka Cycle Trail NZ (variation of)

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

How to have a great multi-day mountain bike adventure

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Christchurch Adventure Park with Kids

Christchurch Adventure Park with Kids

When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride at a fun destination, like Christchurch Adventure Park with kids, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great day’ on the bike with kids there are simple things to think about, plan and do.

In this story we are riding in the Christchurch Adventure Park in Christchurch on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Isaac 11yrs old – new to riding an adult size full suspension mountain bike and learning to jump.   

Christchurch Adventure Park 

Where is it?  Located on the Port Hills in Christchurch at 225 Worsleys Road

Opening Hours:  Summer weekdays 10am to 8pm, weekends 9am to 8pm

What can you do or get?  

  • 25 downhill bike trails accessed via a Gondola that takes mountain bikes
  • 1 climbing track
  • bike hire
  • workshop
  • coaching/lessons/holiday clinics
  • pump track & trampoline
  • zip lining
  • sightseeing (gondala and walking trail)
  • great cafe

Cost:  There is a cost to ride in the park.  There are a huge range of ticketing options depending on what you need.  Anything from a single lift pass to an annual membership.

We rode on a Family Day Pass, $150 for 2 adults, 2 kids, unlimited lifts for the day of the pass.  (Price quoted is for Jan 2020).

Please note that child seats attached to or being towed by an adult bike are not permitted in the park.

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Gear You Need

First things first….to be allowed on the Gondola at the Adventure Park you need to be over 1 metre tall and able to self load your bike

BIKE: A full suspension mountain bike is recommended for use in the park.  At a minimum a trail style full suspension bike will allow you to ride the beginner and some intermediate tracks in comfort.  Anything above this level is best ridden on a downhill full suspension.  Bikes are available for hire.

PROTECTION: A performance level helmet that matches the type of riding you are about to do.  Many riders chose a full face helmet (helmet with chin bar covering the entire face).  It is compulsory to have closed in shoes.  Gloves, knee and elbow pads are recommended.  Gear is available to hire.

SKILLS: These types of riding days, where you get assistance to the top – by gondola or shuttle are all about the downhill.  To enjoy your day you need to be confident up off your seat in a balanced yet relaxed riding position.  You need to be used to braking and cornering.  Jumping is not an essential skill but the majority of the tracks give you the ability to execute this technique.  On some tracks jumping skills are a must as there will be gaps in the trail and no easy route or “out” option – please be aware of where you chose to ride!

An extra layer of clothing is recommended for the gondola ride, which can be cold especially if you are sweating from previous rides.

Top of Gondola. ChCh Adventure Park.goRide

Full suspension mountain bikes are recommended for the park

IMG_4914

Match your helmet to the level of riding you are doing

Choosing the Tracks to Ride

To have a good day prepare by getting familiar with the map, park layout and where you want to ride.  The park has been well designed for progression in riding.  There are trails from beginner mountain biking to pro line expert.

Be aware of the colour coding on the trails and always follow the signs.
  • Green – beginner
  • Blue – intermediate
  • Black single diamond – advanced
  • Black double diamond – expert
  • Red triangle – pro line

The park has done a huge amount of work on their signs and information about tracks to keep you as safe as possible.  Keep water intake up and be aware of anyone in your group getting tired.  It may be downhill riding but it is still really physically challenging.  Take a break for food and check your child’s energy levels – when they are tired or not concentrating the mistakes can happen.

Tracks We Rode

Whenever you ride in a new environment it is really important to warm up and get used to what you are doing with your first run.  Take it slowly and be prepared for obstacles.

Track selection is totally up to you and the people you are riding with.  You can chose to ride the same track over and over again to learn it and get the most fun out of it.  Depending on the ability of the child you are riding with, this may be the best way to start.

WARM UP – BEGINNER TRACKS – As you exit the gondola, still facing up the hill, the beginner tracks are found to your left.  Duncans Donuts is the name you are initially looking for.  This leads into Active Rest and Non-Compliant with an option to include SnakeObs which is a more technical beginner track – fine for any child who has experience mountain biking down switchbacks.

The beginners tracks are all wide, open, dry loose gravel/rock tracks.  They have an easy steady descending gradient and lots of switchbacks.  This is a great way to start the day to get used to your bike and get your confidence up.

INTERMEDIATE RUN 1 – Heading this time to the right or as you exit the Gondola pass the map board and head down into Summit Connection.  This track takes you along the hill top to the second half of Flying Nun which is a speedy flowing track.  After Flying Nun you will connect up with Choir Boy – a wide cross hill track that leads you to all the interesting stuff.  We paused for a rest then looked for the intermediate ‘flow’ tracks.  Name This Trail, track #15 was the first one we tried. Around 2.5km of machine built single track through pine forest.  This was Isaac’s favourite track – one he choose to return to and ride again later in the day because of the jumping.  It was at a really manageable level for someone new and practising this skill.

INTERMEDIATE RUN 2 – Taking the same route to end up on Choir Boy we followed this track all the way to its end point.  Here you take Loess Rider down 2.6km of great flowing fun.  This is my track of the day.

The Adventure Park website holds a lot of information and videos of some of its tracks.  A great page to check out is the Track Preview Page.

To be safe make sure someone in your group carries a basic biking first aid kit.  The emergency number for assistance is 0508727572.  When riding with kids it is always good to be prepared especially if it is a new environment.

YouAm I safe to Mountain Bike Ride? A checklist to complete that ensures YOU are safe to goRide.
Bike – goRide pre-ride bike safety check – is it safe? A simple checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order.

Christchurch Adventure Park Map. goRide

Map of Christchurch Adventure Park

Warming up on ‘Active Rest’, beginner track

Does it fit?

The location of the Christchurch Adventure Park makes it very easy to get to.  So you can be enjoying a mountain bike experience with the kids that doesn’t put you in a remote location.  The network of tracks gives you lots of options.  It does however take time to complete a run.  The Gondola ride is around 10 mins and depending on how fast you can ride with your child and how fit they are or tired they are…a downhill can take over 20mins.  Add into this rest breaks, food, toilet stops or any bike repairs needed and your day disappears pretty quickly.

Christchurch Adventure Park with Kids

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Craters of the Moon – Taupo

Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park with Kids

Codgers Mountain Bike Park – Nelson

goRide helps you find your riding SMILE.  Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.

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What to Wear Over a Pair of goUnders?

What to Wear Over a Pair of goUnders?

goUnders are a brief style of underwear, with padding, to be worn when cycling.  They are designed to be worn under everyday clothes instead of your normal underwear so you can benefit from the protection & comfort that padding offers. The Italian made padding is slim & minimal yet dense so provides cushioning without bulk.  Ideal for shorter rides (less than 2 hours) and comfortable for walking around when off the bike. What to wear over a pair of goUnders?  You have a huge choice and are only restricted by what is safe and practical to wear on a bike.

womens orange goUnders

A pair of Womens goUnders

Choose the correct chamois

Riding around town wearing Womens goUnders

goUnders are a unique riding product in their ability to be worn with a wide range of everyday clothing.  You wear them instead of ordinary underwear – that’s right – they replace your underwear.  Great for people new to the idea of wearing padded cycling pants against their skin

Being able to wear everyday clothes, recreation clothes or work style clothing with the padded underwear gives you the ability to ride in comfort to a huge variety of places.  The very idea for this product came about because we didn’t want to turn up to places in our sweaty riding lycra.  Even though this kept us comfortable on the bike it was at times socially uncomfortable to be off the bike at our destination in short tight black pants!!  We also felt a bit over prepared going for simple rides around town or riding with our young kids in a lycra outfit.

Clothing Ideas to Wear with goUnders:

Dresses/Skirts
goUnders bike in a dress goRide

Perfect because:

full or flowing style dresses and skirts allow for unrestricted leg movement which is perfect on the bike.  It will keep you cool in summer as it allows air flow

Places you can go:

town riding, commuting to work, an outing with friends, visiting a cafe, going to an event

Safety:

Watch the length of these items.  Always tuck the skirt under your bottom so that you are sitting on the back part of the skirt.  This stops it from draping over your back wheel and getting caught up or just dirty!

Casual Pants & Top
goUnders goRide in comfortable pants

Perfect because:

this combination allows for some fashion while being very functional.  A good option in cooler weather.

Places you can go:

town riding, commuting to work, an outing with friends, visiting a cafe, going to an event, riding with kids, commuting to school

Safety:

Make sure your pants have some fullness over the hip & knee area or some stretch in the fabric.

Shorts & T-Shirt
Around town summer riding clothing

Perfect because:

whether it is a sporty look or a bit more dressed up, these 2 items allow for great movement, keeping you relaxed & comfortable in a range of situations.  Great for summer riding.

Places you can go:

bike paths, trails, mountain bike parks, riding around town, riding with the kids, to the river/pool/sea, for a picnic.

Safety:

Watch that your t-shirt is long enough to cover your back that way you don’t risk sunburn or any unwanted exposure of skin.  Does the style and fabric in your shorts allow for good movement?

Tights & Sports Top
Fabric choice. Women's riding clothing. goRide

Perfect because:

tights with stretch – whatever length – are great for riding as they allow freedom of movement.  When combined with wicking fabrics they will control your temperature and keep you comfortable for long periods of time on the bike.

Places you can go:

bike paths, trails, mountain bike parks, riding with the kids, long commutes.

Safety:

Watch that your t-shirt is long enough to cover your back that way you don’t risk sunburn or any unwanted exposure of skin.

Being comfortable & safe on your bike is hugely important.  Without these 2 factors working well for you, you are unlikely to spend very much time on your bike.  A big part of comfort & safety is the clothing that you choose to wear while riding.  Being able to wear clothes that you feel good in helps you to ride more as well.  But there are a few things to think about to keep you safe and moving freely while on the bike

  1. Don’t wear anything too tight unless it has a good amount of stretch in the fabric.  You need to be able to move your body, particularly your legs
  2. Think about things that could get caught up in moving parts of your bike.  This includes long flowing skirts, trousers that are flared, anything with cords or tassels that could hang down
get Inspired and goRide –  What to wear over a pair of goUnders?

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Riding Clothing – Fabric Choice

goRide helps you find your riding SMILE.  Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.

Other resources to help make you SMILE when you goRide

Women and families learning
Types of Riding
Riding gear
Ride more places
A ‘great’ family multi day ride – The Timber Trail NZ

A ‘great’ family multi day ride – The Timber Trail NZ

When we make the effort and take the time to go on a family biking adventure, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great’ multi-day biking adventure it comes down to planning and preparation.

In this story I am going to introduce you to the planning and preparation that the John family Mum/ Dad and 13 year old boy and 11year old girl did to ride the 85km Timber Trail April 2019.

The Timber Trail is part of the NZ Cycle Trail Network making up one of the 22 great rides. It is located in the central North Island within the Pureora Forest Park and runs between the 2 small rural towns of Pureora and Ongarue. An even smaller settlement (if you can call it that) – Piropiro is located around halfway along the trail. The trail is well signposted and supported with shuttles/ tours bike hire (including electric bike options) but make sure you have booked in advance as the start and end of the track is quite isolated. Check out this link for all the different companies supporting the Timber Trail 

The Timber Trail is close to a number of larger towns making access to the trail from larger cities like Taupo, Rotorua, Hamilton on the day you start and finish the ride possible.

This trail takes you through spectacular forest and amazing gorges with numerous swing bridges. Its flowing trail is certainly achievable and will be enjoyed by the whole family. It is 82km over 2 days so a good level of fitness and endurance is essential for the family to successfully ride the Timber Trail.

Is it doable?

How far is the biking journey? 82km. It is suggested that you complete this over 2 days with a night in Piropiro… so your family needs to be able to ride 40km plus in one day to comfortably complete the ride. If time is limited or 2 days feels like a little much for your family – then there are day ride options that can be organised with the shuttle companies.

The topography suggests you ride the Timber Trail in a north to south direction starting at Pureora and finishing in Ongarue –  this is definitely recommended for families.

DAY ONE – Pureora to Piropiro = 40 km is it doable?

Graded by the NZ cycle trail as easy/intermediate.

The day starts with a gradual uphill ride winding your way around the side of Mt Pueora to the tracks high point of 971m, located about 11km into the first day. From there it is mainly down hill as you gradually descend through flowing trails to PiroPiro. Allow between 5-7 hours to complete this section for a family.

Piropiro is remote. The accommodation options to consider are:

1. Timber Trail Lodge.  Meals and accommodation provided (no child rates are available)

2. Black Fern Lodge (this lodge is located 6-7km off the trail – it is well signposted at about the 35km mark. You will need to consider whether adding in additional kms to your journey is ideal for your family. This Lodge offers a variety of meals/ shuttles as well as self catering.

3. Camp Epic offer the option of staying in a designated campground and can provide varied levels of support. Ranging from them supplying tents and all your equipment to you providing your own tent and equipment and Epic will shuttle your gear. A great family option.

4. DOC campground at Piropiro is free – the facilities here are very basic – running water and a couple of toilets. This campground is widely used by a large number of hunters.  You will need to be able to carry or have all your own gear shuttled into this area. Not all shuttles go into Piropiro so you will need to determine if this is a possible option for your family.

DAY TWO – Piro Piro to Ongarue track end = 42 km – is it doable?

What skills will you need to do this ride? This track is graded as a beginner/intermediate track. It is well graded and the technical skills involved come from negotiating flowing winding single track.

What level of fitness will you need to do this ride? You will need moderate levels of fitness. The gradual climb of 500m sidling around Mt Pureora as well as the daily distance you need to cover approximately 40km per day means a good level of fitness is required.

How could the weather effect the success of your journey?  The track is quite remote there no services along the trail (except for the accommodation providers) so once you are on this trail there is very little option for any pulling out.

Is this ride possible with kids attached or towed? The remoteness of this ride as well as the daily distance means it is not an ideal ride for kids attached. If kids are riding independently a Tow Whee tow rope would be highly recommended. Easy and light  to carry you can help assist them up hills or over the long distance of the day.

Sam on Timbr trail track resized

Sam on the trail, enjoying the well graded surface

Hollie Timber Trail swing bridge resized

Hollie crossing one of the 11 swing bridges on the trail

Feeling Comfortable

To have an enjoyable experience riding the Timber Trail Track you need to make sure you are comfortable in the weather conditions while riding your bike.  You also need to be comfortable carrying gear. The gear you carry will depend on the support you choose (where you stay, self catering versus catered) at minimum you will need to at least carry gear for the day – additional clothing as well as food and water.

Comfortable in the weather conditions

You will be riding for a number of hours for each of the two days so clothing choice needs to not restrict any movement. It also needs to protect and regulate temperature. The Timber Trail is a remote track so you need to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.  The gear required will vary a little depending on the time of year doing the trail.

Comfortable on the bike

The right type of bike.  You are going to be riding on single graded but flowing winding trail with some obstacles, so mountain bikes are ideal.

Comfortable at the contact points on the bike.  You are on the bike for a number of hours each day, for 2 consecutive days.  The surface is bumpy, being comfortable on the bike is a MUST.

  1. Your bottom on the seat.  A comfortable saddle – a women’s specific saddle that is set up correctly. Bike seat adjustment.   Shop Padded Bike Pants and Women’s Bike Saddles.
  2. Hands on the handlebars.  Bike gloves and  bike brake levers set up correctly.  Shop bike gloves
  3. Feet on the pedals.  Merino socks and footwear for on and off the bike.

We will be working on riding in a relaxed and efficient riding position. Chi Riding (Chi Riding – Tip 1 – Riding Position, Tip 2 – Core control, Tip 4- Breathing).

Comfortable carrying gear

You are riding in a reasonably remote area with no services throughout the day – you need to be comfortable carrying gear – first aid kit,  wet weather clothing and additional clothing as well as food and water for the day.

To help with balance and control of our bikes on the terrain, we are carrying our gear  within the confines of the bike in a small backpack, frame bags, handle bar bags, seat bags, and a rear carrier with a dry bag.

Access to water & food…We need to carry food and water for each day of riding.

Being Safe

There is a lot of crossover between feeling comfortable and being safe – being comfortable will also support your safety. The main thing is we need you to consider both comfort and safety.

Your bike and safety

Clean and prepare the bike and the chain. Do you need to do any maintenance work? Change the brake pads? Check the tyres for tread and any wear. Carrying tools split between us to help ensure that we can fix most problems or challenges along the way.

What tools will you need to take and carry? Check out our tool kit suggestions for a multi day mountain bike ride.

Before you head out on the trail each day you will need to do a pre-ride bike safety check  – is it safe?  A checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order, and then you can prevent and/or solve any issues before you start the day.

You and safety

You are in the backcountry you need to tell someone when and where you are going, how long you are going for and when you expect to be back. Carrying a cellphone is always a good idea but there any many areas of the New Zealand backcountry that do not have cell phone coverage. If you are in a remote area it is suggested that you carry a personal locator beacon. PLB.

You have checked your bike now we need to know that YOU are safe. See Am I safe to Bike Tour? A checklist to complete that ensures you are safe to goRide.

Safety in the environment

Carry a Map – The track is very well signposted at every kilometre so is very hard to go wrong. A map is useful to know exactly where you are and how much further you need to go etc. The kids often enjoy this understanding and enjoy helping with planning and motivation along the way.

Carry a First Aid Kit – Accidents can and will happen. We are prepared with a compact first aid kit for mountain bikers to help us deal with minor injuries  See First Aid Kit for Bike Touring.

Carry a personal locator beacon. Make sure the whole family know whole is carrying and where it is located.

Tool kit first aid kit PLB Heaphy Track

Tool Kit, Personal Locator Beacon, First Aid Kit, Emergency Blanket

Family Ridng the timber trail signposting

Signpost located at every kilometre.

Having Fun

Riding the Timber Trail and experiencing this part of New Zealand on a bike is very rewarding. From enjoying the ancient forest, to the 11 swing bridges and gorges you traverse, to the information boards and the history of the area.

For our family holiday we decided to link up the Timber Trail with a trip to Rotorua to enjoy its cultural diversity as well as spending time on the Mountain biking trails.

Setting up camp DOC campground Piropiro Timber Trail NZ goRide resized

Setting up camp in the DOC campground Piropiro.

Timber Trail Gear carrying Day 2

Ready to leave – day 2. We had our gear shuttled so we are carrying what we need to be comfortable and safe for the day.

View of the swing bridges Timber Trail resized

View of one of the swing bridges traversing one of the gorges

Does it fit?

If you are keen to experience a multi-day 85km remote but well supported mountain biking trip on an easy/ intermediate graded track then the Timber Trail is a right for you and your family.

get Inspired and goRide – The Timber Trial planning & preparation

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

How to have a great multi-day mountain bike adventure

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Rotorua Mountain Bike Park, NZ with Kids

Rotorua Mountain Bike Park, NZ with Kids

When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride with kids, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great day’ on the bike with kids there are simple things to think about, plan and do.

In this story we are riding in the – Rotorua Mountain Bike Park (Whakarewa Forest) in Rotorua on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Sam 13 yrs old – who mountain bikes recreationaly and Hollie 11yrs old – who mountain bikes occasionally but is becoming more confident in the mountain bike environment and Mum and Dad who are intermediate mountain bikers. 

Where is it. The main entrance to the park is off state highway 5. Waipa Carpark. There are other car parks available to offer easier access to other parts of the mountain bike park

What is there? Simply great facilities. Masses of car parking but don’t be fooled it still can get quite full, toilets/showers, cafe, wash down station for bikes, bike hire and repair, Map boards showing the multiple trails for all riding levels, skills park.

Shuttles are also available to take you and your bike further into the park. Check out all the info – where/how/times etc here. Tickets can be pre-purchased or you can pay by cash/eftpos/visa on the bus. A great way to get the kids further into the park.

Dodzy Skills Park Rotorua Mountain Biking goRide

Dodzy Skills Area

Shuttle and bike trailer Rotorua Mountain Biking park goRide

Shuttle bus and trailer taking all ages up into the park.

Biking cleaning station Rotorua Mountain Biking Park

Bike wash down…so easy and your bike is ready to ride for next time.

Is it doable?

This park has something for everyone. It is a matter of working out what will work best for your family.

Biking Distance: The length of this ride is entirely at your discretion you have an extensive network of tracks spread out over a large area.  These tracks range from grade 1 through to grade 6 advanced. It is about you picking the level that suits your family. Trails range from approximately 0.5km through to 4km.

Biking Surface/Biking Skills required/Level of biking fitness: The surface, the level of skills required as well as your fitness requirement will depend on the level of difficulty of that particular trail. Match the trail to your requirements.

Can you ride with Kids Attached: Some additional support may help get the kids riding in the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park.

  • For independent riders : The Towhee Tow Rope may help assist getting them up a hill, or keeping up with the siblings.
  • Attached to your bike: The Shotgun offers you the ability to enjoy the mountain biking park with your younger kids. You will need to ride to your ability making sure you are keeping them safe.  A rear bike seat could also be used by an experienced rider on Grade 1 or Grade 2 Trails.

Some of the Trails that our family experienced and enjoyed.

For younger and/or less confident riders:  From the Waipa Carpark there lots of fun little loops to create on the Kids Loop/Tahi/The Dipper/Pig Track. Bike along the Very Safe Trail and gain access into Ball and Chain/Purarenga and Yellow Brick Road Trails. The Dodzy Skills Park can be a great place to have a play. You can tailor the skills area to your level of skill development.

For intermediate riders: There are just so many options -that is the joy. Here is a few we loved Challenge,Tokorangi, Turkish Delight, Split Enz, Roller Coaster,B Rude not 2 and more. Basically you need to come and give them a go and find your favourites.  We all enjoyed the intermediate trails everyone in our family got something from them.

Feeling Comfortable

It doesn’t matter what ride you are doing or where you are going, you will always want to feel comfortable. Check out the goRide guide How to have a “great day’ on the bike for general information on how to make sure you are comfortable on the bike.

Water – you will need enough to last the time you are in the park…there is always an option to return to the carpark for a top up if required.

goUnders- Kids Padded Bike Underwear

Protection – As they are in a mountain biking environment there is a  chance for accidents – bike gloves, covered arms, covered legs, good helmets are some protection options.  Please make them wear shoes.   Comfort on the seat can be a big factor so consider padded bike underwear – goUnders for Kids, see photo to right.  Worn under their shorts or leggings these ‘undies’ protect soft tissue & prevent chaffing.

As you are riding for a period of time…the weather can change make sure you carry options for keeping warm, dry and protected from the sun depending on the time of year you ride and the conditions on the day.

Food –  A muesli bar or a bit of chocolate can be a great motivator or reward as well as some sustenance to keep them riding.

Being Safe

It doesn’t matter what ride you are doing or where you are going, you will always want to be safe. Check out the goRide guide How to have a “great day’ on the bike for general information on how to make sure you are safe on the bike.

Map There is a map board at the carpark and maps can be purchased.The trail is well signposted with name and level of difficulty once in the park. My kids had great fun planning what trails we were going to ride.

First Aid – Carry a basic biking first aid kit in your bag or on your bike.  Have a more comprehensive kit in the car or a refill pack incase serious patch ups are required.  Grazed knees, elbows and irrigation for eyes are the most common minor biking accidents.

YouAm I safe to Mountain Bike Ride? A checklist to complete that ensures YOU are safe to goRide.
Bike – goRide pre-ride bike safety check – is it safe? A simple checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order.

Having Fun

If you have worked through the points above then you will be more likely to enjoy and have fun on your ride. There is so much fun to be had on a bike – the pace you go, being close and connected with nature, your ease to detour from the trail…I wonder what is around this corner, and your ability to stop and get off your bike means you get to discover all sorts of things along the way. Sometimes you will know about and plan to enjoy things and then there are those wonderful surprise discoveries.

Some things to look out for on the

  • Dodzy Skills Park is a great play area on the  bike for all levels.
  • Let the kids lead the way.  Let them find the tracks and work out what signs and names they should look for along the way.  The signs in this mountain bike park are really well done so are perfect for those new to map reading.
  • If you get high enough there are some neat views over the lake to enjoy
Rotorua Mtn Bike Park resized
Riding the trails Rotorua Mountain Bike Park goRide

Does it fit?

Does the ride fit with what you want to achieve?

The extensive network of varying trails in the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park makes it easy to match to your needs. Match the difficulty of the trails, match the time spent on the trail to your needs and enjoy.

Did you ride the … ? Did you have a great day on the bike?

What went well? What could you work on next time? It’s all about taking steps and small gains…oh the places you’ll go, the things you will see.

  We would love to here about your ‘great days’ on the bike.

get Inspired and goRide – Rotorua Mountain Bike Park with Kids

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Taupo MTB Park with Kids

Kaiteriteri MTB with Kids

Christchurch Adventure Park with Kids

goRide helps you find your riding SMILE.  Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.

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