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 I am going to introduce you to riding with kids on the Homestead Run, Hanmer Springs, South island, NZ,

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

Where is it?

The start and finish is located  approximately 12km from Hamner Springs. You need to drive via Jacks Pass and Tophouse Road to the St James Homestead where off road parking is available. This road is primarily a gravel backcountry road, and is suitable for most cars. The St James Homestead is the finish of the St James Cycle Trail.

The ride – is it doable for you?

Biking Distance? The length of The Homestead Run is 15km and is graded easy by St James Cycle Trail. The Homestead Run is a cycle loop (starting and finishing at the St James Homestead) and is a combination of single track and 4WD tracks.

Section One:  Involves a 7km ride on single trail up the beautiful Peters Valley to Peters Pass. This is a very gradual sustained climb up the valley. The trail is not technical so the riders need to be capable of a gentle gradual sustained climb for 7km. The views and country side are rewarding as you ride up to the pass…so at least for the adults it doesn’t feel like 7km.

Section Two: Involves a 4.2 km ride on 4WD track and some single track towards Tophouse Road. At the end of the single track up Peters Valley you come to a T intersection. Turning left will take you further into the the St James Cycle Trail heading towards Scotties Hut but The Homestead Run Loop has you turning right and riding towards the adjacent valley – Top House Road and the Clarence River (note the turning right for The Homestead Run  is not signposted).  Having reached the high point of Peters Pass this section is mainly downhill on compacted gravel and rocky road. After initially biking along the 4WD track you come to a section of single trail which is marked with St James Cycle Trail poles and runs adjacent to Tophouse Road.

Section Three: Involves the final 3km ride along Tophouse Road. This is a back country 4WD road that connects St Arnaud (Lake Rotoiti) through the Rainbow Station to Hanmer Springs. You can therefore encounter 4WD vehicles and dust. This back country road through the Rainbow is well used by bikers so the vehicles are warned and use to encountering bikers.

Biking Surface? The terrain is some gravel and rock but is generally well compacted.

Biking Skills required? This is NOT a technical ride. Some of the skills involved are riding uphill, downhill, cornering. Generally there are not too many obstacles and there is plenty of space to avoid them.

Level of biking fitness? This will either be a 2 hour ride round trip there is a gradual uphill as you head up the valley. My 11 year old boy and 9 year old girl were very comfortable with the technical and fitness demands of the trail. . If the weather allows there are places to stop, rest, enjoy and absorb the magnitude of the back country. Taking time to rest and re-energise will help the kids manage – 2 hours on the bike.

Can you ride with Kids Attached? This is a ride that you can enjoy with kids attached.

  • Kids riding their own bike. The Towhee Tow Rope could be the asset you need to get some younger kids riding on their own bike through this ride… at least stashed in your bag with the ability to pull it out if needed.
  • Kids Attached – The Mid mount – Shotgun Mountain Bike Seat is a good option for riding with younger kids attached and a rear bike seat as well as a bike trailer are all options on this trail for those who are experienced riders.

The start of the trail

On the trail

Still headig up thje valley

Safety

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.

You and safety – Am I safe to goRide?  A checklist to complete that ensures you are safe to goRide
Your bike and safety – goRide pre ride bike safety check – is it safe? A checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order

 

Enjoy the experience and have 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 when out exploring on a bike

Some things you could plan to enjoy on The Homestead Run with Kids

  • At the St James Homestead there are some historic farm buildings dating back to the 1880s giving a glimpse into the past glories of this high country farming station.
  • Take time to absorb the magnitude of this high country. Make a half a day excursion and enjoy some food in a great spot- around the top of Peters Pass makes for a good rewarding stop … and the kids know it is mainly downhill from here.
  • This is a taster of the type of country that you would be exposed to and get to enjoy on the St James Cycle Trail. Maybe it might inspire you… for future rides.

Nearing the top of the valley

Top of the valley.

4WD track down the valley back to the start.

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