A Quick-Fire Guide to Cycling (and Kiwi) Lingo

cycle lingoWant to sound like a cycling pro, as opposed to a Fred and Doris? (See below!) Then it’s time to brush up on your cycle slang. Here are a few terms to get you started…


Granny gear
Your lowest gear. If granny were riding, this is what she’d be using!

To pedal like crazy.

Fred and Doris
Newbie cyclists. Brush up on your lingo and you won’t get called this!

Brain bucket
A cycle helmet – your most important piece of gear. It’s a legal requirement to wear a helmet when cycling in New Zealand.

Runners hit the wall…cyclists bonk! Complete and utter exhaustion, usually caused by inadequate food and hydration.

Mountain biking terms:

To crash or take a hard tumble while riding the trail.

To ride hard, with little regard for your personal safety.

When your chain gets snarled between either the chainrings or the crank and the frame.

A full suspension bike with plenty of bounce.

Snake bite
A double puncture on a inner tube.

And since a visit to New Zealand might be on the cards, we’d better bring you up to speed with a few choice Kiwi phrases, too:

Flipflops or thongs.

Hot chips
French fries


Corner shop or store.

Middle of nowhere

Bach (pronounced batch)
Holiday home

Long drop
Pit toilet/outhouse. Commonly found when out tramping (walking), and on DoC sites.

Broken/not working


To be very pleased or excited.

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Life’s a Beach

new zealand's best beachesYou’re never far from the beach in New Zealand. Here’s our pick of the best:


Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
This huge sweep of beach (which is actually 90km long) is also a highway. Bus tours travel from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga or vice versa, depending on the tides. You can make the trip in your own car but it’s really only suitable for 4WD vehicles (hire companies prohibit driving on the beach). The big sand dunes flanking the beach are popular for bodyboarding.

Piha, Auckland
Driving out west to Piha feels like you’re entering another world – it’s hard to believe you’re only 40 minutes from the city. This is a wild, rugged coastline and the beach – with its iron-sand and distinctive Lion Rock – lends itself to long, windswept walks. The town fills up fast during summer months but be aware that swimming here can be dangerous due to strong undercurrents.

New Chums Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
There’s no vehicle access to this beach and reaching it requires a 30-minute hike through native bush – but boy is it worth it. White sand fringed by large pohutukawa trees and crystal-clear waters. Your own private paradise!

Raglan, Waikato
Raglan is famous for it’s world class surf and laidback lifestyle. Ngarunui Beach is a good spot for walking, sunbathing, swimming (lifeguards in summer) and learning to surf, while the points at Manu Bay and Whale Bay offer long, lefthand waves for experienced riders. There’s no beach at either Manu Bay or Whale Bay, but you can sit on the rocks and watch the action.

Ocean Beach, Kawhia
Kawhia is a sleepy little backwater on Kawhia Harbour. The beach is windswept and wild but come two hours before and after low tide and you can dig your own hot spring in the sand. Just like Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel but without the crowds!

Wainui Beach, Gisborne
The perfect spot for lazy beach lounging. Catch a wave, top up your tan or stroll the shoreline.

Ocean Beach, Mount Maunganui
A beach right in the thick of the action, the Mount is a popular summer hangout for families and young people. Cafes and shops are just a short stroll from the water, and it’s a good spot for swimming, surfing and bodyboarding.

Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson
Golden sands and clear blue water make this one of the most popular beaches in the South Island. Head behind the camping ground to find Withells Walk, a 45-minute excursion into native bush, with great views of the bay.

Gillespies Beach, West Coast, South Island
A pebbled beach with dramatic views of the Fox Glacier, Gillespies is one of those out-of-the-way spots that few people stumble across. Access is via a gravel road but there’s a free, DOC campsite and an old mining settlement to explore when you get there.

Curio Bay/Porpoise Bay, Catlins
Remote and rugged – your fellow beach goers will likely be the wildlife. In the summer, Hector’s dolphins frolic in the surf, while yellow-eyed penguins nest around Curio Bay and fur seals and sea lions regularly wander the shoreline.

Fun Family Cycle Rides in New Zealand

family cycle rides in New Zealand Summer’s here, so round up the family, pack a picnic and head out for a day of riding. Here’s a selection of fun family cycle rides in New Zealand…


Central region: Tongariro River Trail
A popular tourist trail from Turangi that heads south along the banks of the Tongariro River to Red Hut Bridge, where bikers can cross over and return on the opposite side. Easy riding with plenty of picnic spots along the way. 15km loop.

Also in the area: Craters of the Moon. What kid doesn’t like mud? This park just north of Taupo is an active geothermal field – meaning bubbling mud pools and steaming vents are all part of the attraction.

Wellington region: Waikanae River and Estuary Track, Kapiti Coast
Less than an hour’s drive north from the city and a lovely area to escape the hustle and bustle. This trail offers 13.5km easy riding along the Waikanae River – it’s a great place to introduce the kids to trail riding.

Also in the area: Nga Manu Nature Reserve, home to bird feed-outs, eel feeding, bush walks and kiwi birds.

South Island

Shipwreck Ride, West Coast Rail Trail, Greymouth
A ride back in time to New Zealand’s gold rush past. This section of the trail runs from Greymouth to Shipwreck Point and then on to Stone Pub (a great lunch option and worth a peek inside to see the vast collection of rugby club ties). Fun things to do along the way include biking the Shipwreck Point Causeway and searching for gold and jade along the beaches.

Also in the area: From Stone Pub you can cycle a little further to Shantytown, a heritage village with gold panning claims and a steam train.

Arrowtown to Queenstown Trail
25km of smooth gravel riding through the Wakatipu Basin. There are a few hills, but this is mainly easy riding. Add an extra 8km to your journey with the addition of the Lake Hayes Circuit – well-known for its calm waters and stunning reflections of The Remarkables mountain range. The trail takes you over the famous Shotover Bridge on your entry into Queenstown.

Also in the area: Skyline Luge is likely to be top of your family’s to-do list!

Looking for bike hire? We make it easy. Head here to see our range of road, mountain, touring, hybrid and kid’s bikes.

9 Things To Do On Your Bike In 2015

9 things to do on your bike in 2015 Looking to shake up your 2015 cycling life? Here are 9 ways to go about it…


1) Watch a pro cycle event
Whether it’s an indoor track event or a road race, watching the pros at work is a thrill. Television viewing doesn’t do their speed justice – in real life they’re flying!

2) Ride your bike to work
You’ve probably got a whole ream of excuses for why you don’t ride to work: it’s too dangerous, too far, you’ll arrive all hot and sweaty etc. But try it once and see how you go. You might just be surprised by how much more enjoyable your daily commute becomes. Plus, it’ll save you money and get you fitter.

3) Get involved with a cycle club
Cycle clubs come in many different forms, from weekly road riding crews to hardcore off-road shredders! Joining a club means you’ll instantly gain a whole new crew of riding buddies who share the exact same passion as you. Often you’ll have to give time back to the club, like helping to build tracks or organising events – but hey, that sounds pretty fun, too.

4) Ride a hundred miles in a day
There’s something deeply satisfying about getting a century under your belt – and your friends and family will be mega impressed. You’re going to have to put in some work to reach this milestone though, so keep pushing out your regular rides, ramping up the distance bit by bit.

5) Go cycle touring
Get up close and personal with the sights, smells and sounds of a new region (or country). If you’ve never cycle toured before, a guided tour is the best way to get started. These take care of everything – route, accommodation, meals and luggage transfer – and if the riding gets too much, you can always hop aboard the support vehicle.

6) Enter a race or event
There are so many great cycle events taking place these days that you might find it hard to pick just one! We’ve talked about 2015 Kiwi events in past editions of the newsletter (click here for easier, lighthearted affairs and here for more hardcore challenges).

7) Ride with all the family
Pack up a picnic and head out for a day exploring. Whether you choose a leisurely cycle trail or a selection of quiet back roads, it’s a great way to get the kids interested in your sport.

8) Combine cycling with sipping
While we’re not not advocating heavy drinking and riding, a two-wheeled vineyard or craft brewery tour makes a lot of sense. Great places in New Zealand for sampling and cycling include Martinborough, Waiheke Island and the Nelson region.

9) Hit up a park
If you’re a dedicated road rider, switch it up a little. A few hours riding a park or an off-road trail could convert you to the rough and tumble. Similarly MTB fans might get some benefit from taking to the road once in a while.

How to Make a Cyclist Happy This Christmas

If you still haven’t got round to your Christmas list, don’t panic: we’ve rounded up a few, fun gift ideas for the avid cyclist in your life….
xmas gifts for cyclists
Pizza Tool
Who doesn’t love pizza after a long day in the saddle? The PZT-2 Pizza Tool is an update of one of Parktool’s all-time greats, except now it’s bigger (for better hand position), better (super sharp, large diameter stainless steel cutting wheel cuts through even the toughest terrain), and stronger!


xmas gift guide
Camelbak Podium Drink Bottle
BPA free and made to fit all types of bike bottle cages. The self-sealing Jet Valve™ means spills and splatters are a thing of the past. Plus, each purchase supports Trail Fund NZ, a not-for-profit project helping develop and maintain mountain bike trails across New Zealand.


xmas gift guide
Pedallers’ Paradise
The cycle tourist’s bible to biking in New Zealand, available in North or South Island versions. Each guide includes route descriptions, highway profiles, gradient descriptions, details of local attractions and services and sketch maps. 2013/4 updated editions now available through the Natural High shop. Start planning your NZ cycling adventure!


cycle gift guide
Oopsmark Leather Wine Rack
A vegetable-tanned, leather bicycle wine rack, for the vintage-loving cyclist.



gift guide cycle lovers
Retrofitz Cycling Shoes
Turns a favourite pair of sneakers into a grippy, cycle shoe. The Retrofitz DIY Conversion Kit comes with a 4-hole plate for a variety of cleat placement.

The Following Events Are Not For the Faint-Hearted

mtb parks in aucklandLooking to challenge yourself in 2015? Then put the following events in your calendar…

1) The Kiwi Brevet
A self-supported 1100km or 700km cycle event around the top of the South Island.
When: 31 January – 8 February 2015.

Never heard of a brevet before? Riders follow a course through a series of pre-determined checkpoints. You can ride individually or in groups, and must be self-sufficient in terms of food and accommodation.

The 2014 Brevet traversed anti-clockwise from Blenheim – route details for 2015 will be announced shortly. You can read about the 2014 Brevet – and register for the 2015 event – here. (Entry numbers are limited and filling fast, so get in quick if you’re keen.)

2) The Rainbow Rage
21 March 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of this Kiwi classic. The 106km route takes in the wild and mountainous terrain between St Arnauld and Hanmer Springs – expect big climbs, dramatic downhills and ford crossings.

Entry fee: $99 before 15 March. Includes free entry to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa + meal ticket.
Late entry: $130 (no soak or meal tickets).
Enter here.

Find YouTube footage of the 2013 race here.

3) The Tour Of New Zealand
8 days of road riding through either the North or South Island, averaging around 100km per day. On the last day, everyone meets in Wellington for a head-to-head criterium in the grounds of Parliament. You can enter individually, ride in a team of three or more, or join for day stages.

When: 11-18 April 2015.
For full details, head here.

We can hook you up with bike hire for all these events! Check out our range of rentals here.

Temptation Abounds on the Great Taste Trail, Nelson

great taste trail NelsonWhen is a cycle tour also an exercise in eating and drinking? When you’re sipping and savouring your way around the Great Taste Trail Nelson…

Meandering through the picturesque Nelson and Tasman region, the Great Taste Trail serves up relaxed riding, stunning coastal views and a seemingly limitless supply of cafes, breweries and vineyards.

This northern tip of the South Island enjoys more sunshine than any other part of New Zealand, meaning hop gardens, orchards and berry farms flourish. You’ll find plenty of roadside fruit and veg stalls dotted along your route – leave room in your backpack or panniers to take home a few treats.

Mainly flat riding makes this trail a great option for families or newbie cyclists (although not so great for working off the excess calories!) Ride the whole 174km loop… or break it into bite-sized chunks. Here are a few options:

From Nelson:
Ride round the Waimea Estuary to Rabbit Island, a popular beach and picnic spot. From there, you can catch a ferry to Mapua (check ferry times here) and explore the shops and galleries at Mapua Wharf.

From Motueka
Head out along quiet back roads to Riwawa, where refuelling options include the Ginger Dynamite café and Hop Federation brewery. If you’ve overdone the eating part, opt to push on to the pretty beach at Kaiteriteri. This route will take you through the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park – there’s a hill involved – but the coastal views and golden sands at the end are more than worth it.

Or, head south from Motueka to the little town of Tasman. There are several vineyards just off the trail – check winenelson.co.nz for an interactive map. Push on a little further along the Ruby Coast and you’ll find the 2013 New Zealand Café of the Year. Jester House is home to fabulous baking, a rambling, organic garden and tame eels!

Sample it all
Alternatively, strap on your panniers and complete the whole circuit. The trail is 174km in total – at a relaxing pace you should be able to complete it in three or four days. Accommodation is as plentiful as the food options – you’ll find a good selection on the trail website.

Image: Brad Fults

Small City New Zealand: Nelson

abel tasmanGolden rays beam down on the little city of Nelson, located at the top of the South Island. It boasts more sunshine than anywhere else in New Zealand, three national parks and the title of arts capital of the country. Plenty to see and do, then!

Jump on your bike: Nelson is a pedaller’s paradise with kilometres of scenic tracks and trails, conveniently pitstopped by great cafes, wineries and craft breweries.

The two classic rides of the region are the Great Taste Trail, a 175km meander through the Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay region, and the Dun Mountain Trail, a 38km Grade 3 MTB trail.

For details of other trails in the region, hop on over to the Nelson Mountain Bike Club website.

Wander the city streets: The heart of Nelson is a compact one kilometre square, brimming with art galleries, boutiques, cafes and bars. It’s one of the oldest settlements in the country and features plenty of beautiful buildings.

Journey to the Centre of New Zealand: Take a walk through the botanical gardens (where New Zealand’s very first game of rugby was played) to the spot that supposedly marks the country’s mid-point. Whether or not this is technically accurate, the landmark still provides a picturesque, bird’s eye view of the Nelson coastline.

Snorkel, kayak or walk at Cable Bay: Take a short drive east from the city and you’ll arrive at Cable Bay, a sheltered stretch of beach with calm seas and plenty of interesting wildlife. The Cable Bay walkway is a three hour meander around the coastline and offers spectacular views of the region.

Fill your panniers (and stomach) with tasty treats: Markets are a big part of life in Nelson. The Farmers’ Market takes place every Wednesday in the heart of the city, while Saturday brings arts and crafts, plus plenty of local produce to Montgomery Square, for the 30-year old Saturday market.

Drink well: The Nelson/Tasman region is the only area in the country where hops are still grown. Not surprising then that numerous craft breweries have sprung up, offering everything from pale ales to hearty stouts. Try Bays Brewery, where beers are made without chemicals, preservatives or sugar. There are also more than 25 wineries in the region. Find full details at wineart.co.nz.

Food stops: Devilles is well-regarded for its all-day brunch options, Nicole’s Cantina serves exceptional Mexican fare while for a special treat head to Hopgoods – owner/chef Kevin Hopgood previously worked under Gordon Ramsay.

Image: Andrea Schaffer

A Guide to New Zealand Food Festivals

new zealand food festivalsWe think you’ll agree: food never tastes better than after a long, hard day in the saddle. So combining a cycle tour with a food festival? Could quite possibly be the tastiest experience of your life! Here’s a selection of some of New Zealand’s top food, wine and beer festivals – paired with a cycling adventure….

The Marlborough Food and Wine Festival

14 February 2015.

New Zealand’s original and longest-running wine festival, held in one of the world’s best wine producing regions. Wine tutorials, cooking demonstrations and entertainment on offer.

Tour pairing: 5 Day North Canterbury and Marlborough Cycle Tour.
Dates: 16 February – 20 February 2015.

Wildfoods Festival

Hokitika, Saturday 14 March 2015.

Fancy sampling wasp larvae icecream, cucumber fish, sheep milk cheeses and wok fried clams? These were just some of the tasty treats on offer at last year’s Wildfoods Festival. First held in 1990 (coinciding nicely with the 125th anniversary of the birth of the town), the event has become hugely popular: 22,500 hungry hordes attended in 2003; numbers are now capped at 15,000.

Tour pairing: 5 Day Self Guided Road Cycle Tour Christchurch to Queenstown.


The Langham, Auckland, Wednesday 18 March 2015.

Enjoy free samples from some of New Zealand’s finest cheesemakers and a cheese sale table.
Tour pairing: 3 Day Self Guided Waiheke Island Cycle Tour (plenty of vineyards on offer – create your own cheese and wine experience!)

The Great Kiwi Beerfest

Hagley Park, Christchurch, 28 March 2015.

A craft beerstravaganza! There were 200+ brews on tap in 2014 – organisers are promising even more for the 2015 edition.

Tour pairing: 6 Day West Coast Queenstown to Christchurch Cycle.
Tour dates: 06 March – 11 March 2015 or 04 April – 09 April 2015.

Farmers’ Markets


If you can’t make a festival, don’t panic: you won’t miss out. Farmers’ markets take place up and down the country every week and are a great way to sample fresh, local fare. Here’s a selection of some of the most popular markets:

North Island

Whangarei: Every Saturday.
Matakana: Every Saturday.
Parnell: The French-style Market La Cigale takes place every Saturday and Sunday morning, as well as Wednesday afternoon, while the Parnell Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday morning between the library and museum.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market: Every Sunday at the Hastings showgrounds.

South Island

Marlborough Farmers’ Market: Held in Blenheim on Thursday afternoons until September, then Sunday mornings for the spring/summer season.
Waipara Valley Farmers’ Market: Every Saturday during the summer months at Pegasus Bay Winery.
Otago: Every Saturday in the carpark of the Dunedin Railway Station.
Riverton: Every Saturday morning from 10.30am.

Like more information about any of these tours? Give us a shout and we’ll happily help you out.

Fun (And Free) Riding For All The Family

funday runway mtb parkBack in 2012, Teau Aiturau was facing the biggest battle of his life.

Weighing in at 252kg, the 39-year old caregiver couldn’t walk, couldn’t breathe and suffered from sleep apnoea.

Realising that he needed to make a drastic change to his life, Teau started moving. He began helping out a local community garden, swimming at his local pool and biking with friends and family.

But his work didn’t stop there. Wanting to inspire others to lead a more active lifestyle, Teau established a charitable trust at his local Community House in Mangere (Auckland). Triple Ts – Time to Thrive, To Stay Alive has a simple vision: to build a healthier community for all to thrive. Each week, Teau runs an assortment of free tae bo, swimming classes and bike rides.

Today, Teau is 84kg lighter and the Triple Ts are going strong – the group has just been awarded $3000 in the annual Auckland Airport Gold Medal Awards, money that will partly go towards buying bikes.

To get even more people involved in his initiative, Teau is holding a fun day at the Runway Mountain Bike Park at Auckland Airport on Saturday 22 November – and we’re stoked to be taking part, too. The event is completely free to attend and if you don’t have your own gear, they’ll be bikes and helmets available (also free of charge).

So, if you’re in the area, come along and give the park a go – it’s a great way to introduce the whole family to a new sport!

Runway Funday takes place on Saturday 22 November, 10am-2pm at the Runway Mountain Bike Park at Auckland Airport. The park is located at the end of Ansett Place behind the Airport Shopping Centre (just around the corner from our Auckland branch). There’s heaps of free parking and bikes and helmets will be provided free of charge.