At Natural High we’re all about getting you out into the great outdoors and having fun. But we also want to make sure you stay out of harm’s way in the process. So, at the risk of sounding like your mother, here are a few ways to keep you and your bike safe while cycling around New Zealand…
On the road
Outside of the main towns, New Zealand roads are generally fairly quiet, but be aware of large trucks and try to ride on the shoulder where possible. Many roads are also twisty, which means limited visibility for drivers. You might want to consider wearing reflective gear and using a bike mirror, to keep an eye on the traffic behind you. Bike lights are a good idea, especially if you’re going to be hitting the road early or cycling into the evening. They’re also useful on rainy days.
Helmets are compulsory in New Zealand and you risk a fine if you’re caught riding without one.
Some parts of New Zealand are remote, with big distances between townships. Make sure you carry enough food and water to get you to your next destination. For independent travellers, we recommend picking up copies of Pedallers’ Paradise by Nigel Rushton and the Kennett Brother’s Classic New Zealand Road Rides (Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides is also available if you’re heading off road). All these books are available in our online store.
Some basic bike maintenance skills are also helpful as it can be a long walk between bike shops if you have a mechanical issue. Regularly check over your bike to ensure bolts are tight, chain is lubed etc.
All our self-guided cycle tours come with detailed route maps, which include the locations of supermarkets and refuel stops. Plus, we’ll let you know when you’re heading into a more remote area and need to stock up. Our guided cycle tours provide a tour leader and support vehicle, so you never have to worry about going hungry.
Common sense prevails here. Where possible, leave your bike where you can see it and lock it securely to a fixed object. Kiwi folk are, by and large, an honest group but an unlocked, top-of-the-range bike could be a temptation too far. We provide a key coil cable lock with all our rentals. Backpackers, motels, hotels often have a secure store room or garage where you can lock your bike overnight, so it pays to ask at reception.
If you’re travelling through the Southern Alps, the highly-inquisitive kea bird might prove to be more of a thief than a human. Don’t leave your belongings unattended when keas are about, they like to take a peck at just about anything – and that includes bike seats and wheels.
When you hire a bike from Natural High, you have the option of taking out insurance to cover bike theft, loss and damage whilst the bike is in your possession. You will still need to take sensible security measures, for example, locking your bike in the foyer of your accommodation overnight as opposed to outside the pub at 1am!
Back country riding
If you’re heading out into isolated, rugged country be prepared for the unexpected: a change in weather (the New Zealand climate is fickle and you could experience four seasons in one day), an accident or getting lost! Take food, water, tools, spare parts such as derailleur hanger, brake pads, emergency tyre boot, a first aid kit with emergency blanket, a map and warm clothes. You may also want to consider a GPS and emergency locator beacon, especially if you’re hitting the back country alone.
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