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The Central Otago Rail Trail – An inspiring story about bike touring with kids

By Jo 4 years agoNo Comments

We did it! – riding the Central Otago Rail Trail with 2 kids attached – Sam 4 years old on a trailer bike and Hollie 2 years old on a bike seat – on carrier.  Over 5 days and 4 nights!  And now the kids are wanting to do it again but this time on their own bikes. When we returned from our journey at Christmas 2009, as a family we wrote a story about the highlights, and thoughts from our adventure. I want to share some photos, and snippets from that story that might inspire you to goRide the Central Otago Rail Trail.

Reading stories about cycling adventures helps to connect you to other women who ride and makes you think about what you and/or your family could achieve. It’s that story of another family or women having completed a bike adventure that makes you wonder if you or your family can. A story that made you believe you can. Its that little piece of advice, or that must do, or must stay, that helps with the planning and preparation and helps make your adventure successful and special.

 

Read the details of our bike adventure at The Central Otago Rail Trail- Planning and Preparation

See the photos in the slider of our bike trip

Sam words and highlights:

The train to Middlemarch goes chuggedy chuggedy up the gorge tucked in tight against the hill and we got to go over lots of bridges and through lots of tunnels. It was my first train ride and I was amazed where this train managed to go. On the cycle ride there were lots of tunnels along the way. I had my very own torch to help light the way. And a horn on my trailer bike that I liked to push to let people know we were coming and just because it made a noise. I think Mum made sure it wasn’t a really loud horn. The scenery was wonderful sometimes we followed a river, there was often big open spaces, hills and a lot of brown a bit different to where I live.  You may notice I am not often in the photos as I am very keen to be the photographer. We found Nelson Rd on the way which I thought was quite funny because I am from Nelson. Sometimes it was windy and it even snowed. I know, in December, luckily the place we were staying in had a great fire and the snow on the hills the next morning looked great. We were well prepared with lots of warm clothes and wooly hats, socks and gloves. Reaching the high point is pretty cool, you get to take a photo and you know it is downhill after that. You can get a small book called a passport and you get to collect stamps from the Railway Stations along the way and I loved doing that.

Central Otago Rail Trail passport goRide

The Central Otago Rail Trail Passport and stamps collected from the Railway Stations. There are 18 to collect.

Adults highlights:

The train ride was an awesome addition to the journey.  It is a great train ride to take kids on, and you will also enjoy the scenery. The train does take a few hours and if you are getting on the bike after the train consider their ability to be able to sustain the time and distance.  Seeing this part of New Zealand from a bike is just filling. Fills your soul. Great scenery, great little towns, bits of history (it took sixteen harsh winters/scourching summers for labourers, stonemason, blacksmiths, and engineeers, to build the railway. Starting in Middlemarch 1891 and finishing in Clyde in 1907 – wow and you get to ride it in a few days, and it is so achievable for families with kids of all ages.

Here are some factors that made our bike adventure a success:

Planning and preparation. The distances of the days were about right. The trail is gravel and though reasonably flat it is slower going than you predict because of the gravel surface. Longer distances would have made the trip challenging with windy or cold days. You just cannot pre-order the weather and it certainly can be unpredictable in Central Otago. Having clothing options for all weather conditions and plenty of food and water for the day.

Early starts were important to our trips success. Kids are often at their best in the morning and we generally managed to get most of our biking completed by lunch time/ early afternoon.

Communication and distraction. Keeping their senses stimulated – look, see, feel and hear. The passport enabled your ride to be broken into sections, you always had a railway station and stamp to collect or a town to look forward to. Make it fun and keep the adventure in it.

Regular stops were important for food, a bit of loving, and a stretch for your body off the bike.

Thanks for reading.  Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider. Do it, at your own pace, in your own time, in a fun, supported way – the goRide way.

Related goRide Resources:

get Ready to goRide- Biking with Kids Guide

goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.

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