Biking the Paparoa Track Dec 2021

Biking the Paparoa Track Dec 2021

When we make the effort and take the time to go on a biking adventure with the family we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To help plan your adventure read about the John whanau experience riding the 56.2km Paparoa Track in December 2020…

The Paparoa Track is part of the Department of Conservation  (DoC). It is a purpose built shared use hiking and mountain biking track so you can ride this trail all year round. See more information here and view the associated brochure 

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

Where is it and how to get there?

The Paparoa Track is located within the Paparoa National Park. You ride from Smoke-Ho carpark (8km north of Blackball) to Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.  You can ride it in either direction but it is most commonly ridden from Smoke-Ho through to Punakaiki.

We stayed the night prior to starting our ride at the Punakaiki Beach Camp. There is a range of accommodation available and they offer Paparoa Track transport options to get you to Smoke-Ho carpark or have your car relocated back to Punakaiki from Smoke Ho. 

The ride and is it doable for you?

The Paparoa Track is 56.2km in length. It is suggested that you complete this over a 2 day journey. There are many that have completed it in a day… not something you would want to tackle with a family and you would definitely want a good weather day for your one day ride.

We have chosen to do it over a 2 day journey. With multiple hut options along the track this could easily be ridden over 3 days. Remember you need to carry your own food, so the longer it takes you the more food you will need. Check out the facilities at the huts so you know what you need to carry. (Note: there are no pots/utensils at the huts so you will need to carry these)

DAY ONE – Smoke-Ho Carpark to Moonlight Tops Hut = 20km – is it doable?

This is an uphill ride to Ces Clark Hut, approximately 10km from Smoke-Ho carpark, before it levels out along the tops to Moonlight Hut. Up to Ces Clark Hut is the roughest part of the whole track and our whanau found that we were on and off our bikes quite regularly.  This made it slow going. It took us about 3 hours to cover the 10km to Ces Clark Hut… so you may need to plan for this.

Accommodation – Moonlight Hut. There is a lot of demand on Moonlight Tops hut. There is an option to stay at Ces Clark Hut. This would have definitely been achievable for our whanau. We found our speed greatly increased once we got past Ces Clark Hut. Hence we would have been comfortable riding from Ces Clark to the track end at Punakaiki in a day. It would have been a long day but very achievable. 

DAY TWO – Moonlight Tops Hut to track end = 39.6km is it doable?

You travel across the tops before starting to descend to Pororari Hut (19.1km). From this hut you have a fantastic descend to track end – other than the little hill you need to get over right before the end of the track (there just to remind you that you have tired legs)!

What skills will you need to do this ride? This track is graded as an advanced grade 4 track. There are rough and rocky parts to ride. As well as narrow and exposed track. Some steep and some long climbs. As a family we definitely found the ride to Ces Clark the roughest with lots of rock and we walked our bikes quite regularly on this section. From there the track was good but you do need to be comfortable going up and down some steep sections and comfortable with narrow tracks, heights and exposure – Is it doable? 

What level of fitness will you need to do this ride? You will need moderate to advanced levels of fitness. Whatever direction you start in you will have a sustained uphill section that is a good rideable gradient. When you are on the tops there is also short up and downhill sections to negotiate. Consider the distances you are travelling and how long that will take you each day. Make sure you have ridden for that length of time with some load prior to riding the Paparoa – Is it doable? 

How could the weather effect the success of your journey?  Expect the weather to play a part in your biking journey when you ride the Paparoa Track. You are on the West Coast of New Zealand and thus likely to experience rain and you are in the backcountry so you need to be prepared for all types of weather –  Is it doable?

What to consider to feel comfortable and safe when riding the Paparoa Track

To have an enjoyable experience riding the Paparoa 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 and have access to the food and water that you will need.

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 Paparoa Track is a back counrty track so you need to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.  See gear list for multi-day mountain bike riding

Comfortable on the bike

The right type of bike.  You are going to be riding on undulating terrain with many obstacles, so mountain bikes are ideal. Our whanau had three full suspension mountain bikes and one with front suspension only.

Comfortable at the contact points on the bike.  You will be on the bike for a number of hours each day, for consecutive days.  The surface is bumpy, being comfortable on the bike is a MUST. Make sure you are comfortable on the saddle, at your handlebars and on the pedals.

Comfortable carrying gear

You are riding in the back country away from support so you need to be completely independent and self-reliant. Your accommodation in DOC Huts requires you to carry sleeping bags, and cooking and eating utensils. We carried one pot between the 4 of us.  See Gear List for multi day mountain biking.

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

Access to water & food… You will need to carry food and water for several days. There are numerous huts along the way which have cooking facilities and water for refilling and rehydrating at. Our food is nutritious including dehydrated meals. We are taking 4 meals per day when riding back country – breakfast, lunch 1 and 2, dinner and snacks for each day of riding.

Gear set up – Jo (Female adult)/Sam (15yr old boy)

Thule Carrier with dry bag and tie downs – pot, food and spare clothes

Backpack and hydration reservoir (Camelbak low rider 10L) – warm top, snacks, water

Frame bag – tools and spare tubes

Dry bag – tie downs used to attach to handlebars – sleeping bag, jacket

Our bikes loaded and ready to go

 

Gear set up – Nic (Male adult)

Handlebar Bag containing lightweight gear – sleeping bag and clothes

Touring seat post bag containing heavier items – food

Backpack – with emergency gear – First Aid Kit, PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), toilet paper

Drink bottle cage – drink bottle with water

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. Carry tools split between the group to help ensure that you 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

When you ride 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 you 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

Respect other users – This is a shared use great walk so you will come across others enjoying this as a walk… be respectful let them know you are coming. Tell them how many in your party. Bikes must give way to walkers.

Carry a Map – The Paparoa is a great walk/great ride and well signposted right throughout the track. We carried a map showing distances between huts etc. To help with planning and motivation along the way.

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

Enjoy the experience and have fun

There were many highlights enjoyed along the way. We had a lot of cloud on the tops but the weather cleared about an hour before it got dark at Moonlight Tops highlighting the spectacular landscape and views. We felt privledged as we watched the sun set over the Tasman Sea. The ride down from Pororari Hut was just pure fun and rewarding after the climbing. The exposed track and the rock formations were a neat experience.

There is certainly lots to do around the Paparoa Track in the Westcoast region… you pass through Blackball famous for Blackball Salami so worth a stop… staying in Punakaiki is a highlight and visiting the Pancake Rocks. The track is positioned closest to the town of Greymouth.

Sunset from Moonlight Tops.

Hollie on the top… a good view of the track.

End of the Paparoa… Punakaiki.

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

NZ Made Bike Gear by goRide

NZ Made Bike Gear by goRide

Finding the right bike gear for women & families can be a tricky thing.  The bike industry serves male riders first and foremost so we often can not find the solution we are looking for.  This has lead us to making some of our own products which has been a hugely rewarding journey.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

Choosing NZ Made is Important

There are lots of great reasons why we choose to have goRide bike gear made in NZ.  Here are a few of our favourite…

Keep NZ talent working – supporting local people to continue to do what they know and love.  Unfortunately the NZ manufacturing sector has seen a major decline in factories so the people out their still trying to make a living need to be supported.

Quality guaranteed – with everything we make being overseen here in NZ it is easy to maintain a high level of quality.

Made for Kiwi women & families – being designed, tested and made here in NZ means that each product is well thought through before reaching the market.  Small batch runs allow us to vary colours and make quick design changes that react to the feedback we receive.

Choose the correct chamois

Good for the planet & minimises waste – again with production here in NZ we can be confident in how the process is run. This allows us to minimise waste and choose fabric & accessories that are kind to the planet.

Proud – Making bike gear that is not only practical but colourful & fun is a really important part of what we do.  We want women & families to be comfortable and feel confident when they choose to ride in our beautiful country.  We want you to be able to choose NZ Made and wear or use it proudly.

NZ Made Bike Gear by goRide

We started our NZ Made journey way back in 2015 with our Kids goUnders.  Both Jo & I had young kids at this time who we loved to take biking.  We wanted to take them on some biking holidays but couldn’t find padded bike pants that were fun & be interesting for them to wear.  We decided to make our own.

From there our vision grew and now includes padded bike full briefs for women.  These full briefs will have a high waist version in Autumn 2021. The padded underwear range continues to expand and will soon include boy leg padded underwear for men, women & teenagers.

We have always aspired to making riding more fun for kids.   This has led us to make our own hand painted bike bell range, along with a cute handlebar bag for toddlers to take exploring.  All of these products are intended to make kids smile when they ride.  These simple products are made in our studio in Nelson by Annette and her talented artistic daughter.

Who We Support – Other NZ Made/Designed Brands

Whenever we can we support NZ Made products so we have some great NZ brands in our online shop.

This includes the amazing natural Biomaxa Chamois Cream. Which is made from Manuka honey and lanolin – a very special mix of ingredients to support your skin.

Other companies based in NZ and using some incredible design talent include; Scribbler Jackets, Therm Kids Outdoor Active Wear, DoLittle Kids Bike Seats and Loose Line Mountain Bike clothing (coming soon).

Our Commitment to NZ Made

Made in New Zealand is a goal that we will maintain for as long as practically possible. We will continue to support the talented, skilled, generous specialists that are part of our team.  From digital pattern makers, to cutters, the construction girls and our hand painting artist.  Every time you buy NZ Made bike gear you are helping us to keep this dream happening… so thank you & please spread the word!

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Alps to Ocean – Family Sharing

Alps to Ocean – Family Sharing

Riding the Alps to Ocean – With Kids

We are collecting and sharing family experiences of riding the Alps to Ocean so you can see what others have done.   This will give you some confidence and understanding of whether your kids may be capable of doing the same type of ride. The age is only a guide – you are better to focus on matching your families capability or riding experience, with this in mind you may have to read more than one section.

This story is an active resource (we will be constantly adding to it) and sharing family experiences and comments.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
tow rope

Have you ridden The Alps to Ocean with family or a group?  Your story could appear here or in the individual riding section…

Simply hit the goRide Sharing button above and complete the questions.

Alps to Ocean – Towing a Child Under 2yrs using a Bike Trailer

Family Details & Date of Ride

October 2020 from Lake Tekapo to Oamaru in 6 days with our daughter Matilda, 18 months. We’ve spent quite a lot of time cycling with her previously and she was always happy to go back in the trailer, often putting her helmet on herself signalling she was ready to go.

Bikes/Gear/Kids Bike Seat – Attached or Towed

We towed Matilda in a Thule Chariot double behind Colin’s mountain bike and she did really well. I rode my Surely Long Haul Trucker with 4 pannier bags and 2 bags on the rear rack. Colin has a rear rack on his bike with a bag too.

Describe how the ride was done – multi day ride

Originally we planned 10 days expecting to only do 30km a day, but we ended up doing it in 6 days because everyone was happy!

We rode Tekapo – Lake Pukaki Doc Campground – Ohau Lodge – Lake Benmore Holiday Park – Kurow Holiday Park (a big day because the council campgrounds we meant to stay in around the lake were quite yucky with lots of broken glass – the chariot got a puncture!) – Duntroon Domain – Oamaru.

alps to Ocean with kids
Canal roads between Tekapo & Lake Pukaki
Adult Comments/Kids Comments:

It was a glorious trip and we’re so happy to be able to spend times like this as a family.

The campgrounds were actually really great because Matilda had so much space to play. also used the washing machines to wash our nappies. Even if you weren’t camping I think cabins might be preferable to other accommodation options as you can relax and not worry about a toddler breaking anything!

We camped every night in our tent and we’d leave camp around 11:00 after Matilda had a good play and she’d fall asleep soon after. We’d then ride until she woke up, have lunch for a couple of hours and then she’d nap again. Often she’d wake up about an hour before camp and we had plenty of snacks to get her through. She had gone to one nap a few months ago, we certainly weren’t expecting so much sleeping, but it certainly made it easier.

 

After climbing Tranbrae Pass, heading to Omarama
Tips for Other Families

Matilda got bounced around a bit, but she only got upset by it twice in the rockiest sections over the pass out of Ohau, which makes me think she was happy with the rest of the bumps. Colin is a keen mountain biker and I think that certainly helped to have the control to be able to ride the best lines.

To get through the barriers we’d slant Colin’s bike under the arch then I’d line up the trailer and it would just squeeze through.  On about 2/10 occasions we had to disconnect the trailer.  Then I’d push my bike through the pinch gate and then Colin would lift the back wheel over because the panniers wouldn’t fit through! It was a bit tricky but we got quite efficient at it.

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

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?

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
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

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
Ride more places
Types of Riding
Riding Gear footer
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.

Save

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.

Other resources to help make you SMILE when you goRide

Women and families learning
Ride more places
Types of Riding
Riding Gear footer