10 questions to ask when planning a cycle tour

Our guides are always there to let you know where to go | Lachlan Gardiner
Our guides are always there to let you know where to go | Lachlan Gardiner

Fully supported and guided cycle tours provide an ideal way to experience New Zealand's breathtaking scenery. Cycling encourages us to slow down the pace, visit iconic attractions, and discover hidden gems along the way.

If you’re an adventure hungry cyclist who prefers riding with a group, and relish the freedom of riding unencumbered, we have cycle tours for all experience levels. Whether you’re a rusty novice getting back in the saddle, or an experienced rider looking for a challenge, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before planning your cycling adventure.

1. Why should I consider a cycle tour in the first place?

Adventuring by bike is an active and memorable way to explore the landscape and culture of a region. From the saddle you'll experience the terrain, wildlife, people and towns at a more leisurely pace than from behind the wheel of a car. You can choose to ride on dedicated cycle trails or pick from one of our road cycling tours.

Enjoying a quick break on one of the may hydro dams on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail |  <i>Sue Wills</i>
Cycling group at the top of the Benmore Dam on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. View trip

2. Why should I go supported?

The perfect trip is one that’s easily navigated from start to finish. With the knowledge and support from our expert tour guides, you inevitably get more from your ride. Whether it’s advice with planning, the peace of mind of having a support vehicle nearby and trusted accommodation booked for you, first hand knowledge of the route and region will enrich your experience.

3. What kind of budget do I need?

Going solo isn't always cheaper. Transfers to and from trails, the best 3-4 star accommodation rates, bike wear and tear, the best local meals available and invaluable advice and support from an experienced team. With cycling tours ranging from 5 to 14 days, we do our best to to pack as much value into our tours as possible, adding additional highlights both on and off the trail.

Value for money was excellent. The bikes, accommodation, food for the guides were excellent. Nothing was a problem and we weren't rushed at any stage.

- Reg and Louise S, Australia.

A gourmet meal at Burnside Homestead is one highlight of our trip |  <i>Daniel Thour</i>
Dinner at Burnside House on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. View trip>

4. What kind of research do I need to do?

Researching destinations is a good place to start narrowing down trails. Ask yourself what kind of terrain and scenery would I enjoy? Check your skills and fitness are suited to the trail. Are you looking for a bush or coastal adventure? Do you enjoy exploring towns along the way?

5. Do I wan't to join a guided group or organise a private group with friends?

Guided tours have unique advantages, and are a great opportunity to ride with a small group of like minded cyclists. If you enjoy meeting people and having an itinerary, this could be for you. Alternatively a tour with friends or family offers quality time together. If you would like something different from our scheduled cycle trail, road cycling, hiking or multi-activity departures, we can custom make a private tour for your group.

Cycling group enjoying views of the turquoise Hydro-Canals near Twizel. |  <i>Rossco Daubney</i>
Cycling the canal roads on the Southern Lakes Road Cycle. View trip

6. Which trip is suited to my ability and fitness level?

To determine the grade of a trip we consider a number of factors. The condition of the terrain, altitude, number of pass crossings and length of the trip. We have 5 grade categories ranging from introductory to challenging, helping you choose according to fitness, ability, and preference. Detailed descriptions of tour gradings are in every trip overview section on our website.

7. What length of tour is best for me?

Most of us lead busy lives with limited time for recreation. With our guidance you can select the perfect duration for your cycling holiday. Whether it's a quick 5 day trip or 2 weeks on the trail, all of our tours are situated in incredible destinations, are meticulously planned, thoughtfully paced and full of adventure. Many of our keen cyclists will even join two of our shorter tours back to back.

8. How far can I ride each day

Holidays are meant to be fun, not a race. Although you may be riding for a few days, there's plenty to see and do, with a few well earned breaks. Even short rides with stops quickly fill up a day and wear you out. Our local knowledge ensures we select the best route, and inform you of the time you can reasonably expect it to take.

Brancott Estate winery |  <i>Tim de Jong</i>
Enjoying a wine on the Nelson Great Taste Trail. View Trip

9. What kind of route and terrain do I prefer?

Our tours are predominantly off-road trails and showcase the best of New Zealand's landscape, environment, culture and heritage. We endevour to keep away from busy highways, favouring scenic back country roads. Our itineraries appeal to a broad range of interests and abilities. No matter what kind of biking spins your wheels, there's a great option for every rider.

10. What time of year do I want to travel?

Do you want to ride in the peak of summer? Avoid the crowds in October and April? Or do you want to ride in the crisp sunny days of autumn with stunning golden leaves? Our cycling tours run between the beginning of October and end of April each year, with something to suit everyone.

If you're ready for an adventure, grab your helmet, and let us help you choose the perfect destination.

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