Looking for some motivation or an “off the beaten track” adventure for the bucket list – here’s an idea from Gill Gray. Ride from New Plymouth to East Cape (or the East to West direction) on the Kennetts Bros created KŌPIKO AOTEAROA, a 1,086km ride primarily on back roads and gravel roads, with the only MTB trail being the Timber Trail.
Definitely off-piste with logistics requiring pre-couriered food delivery a few nights.
Gill rode with another experienced Bike Trekker Tom Faulkner (who a number of us met on the 2020 Tour Aotearoa) – they covered the route in 10 days (plus an early morning quick dash to watch Sunrise at the East Cape Lighthouse) a total of 86.4 hours riding with 16,491 m (16.5Km) of ascent
What was the high point of the trip?
Whole route is epic, wind, 30+ heat day after day, climbs after climbs, stunning scenery, dense undiscovered bush, beautiful views, stunning East Cape coastline.
What was the low point?
Day 6 Ruatahuna – Ruakituri, it had two very long, steep climbs at the end of the day. First one on hot tar with a REALLY steep gradient, straight into the second that had fresh thick gravel, epic wind over the tops, and thick gravel on some steep stretches of the descent - sketchy. Luckily we got in just before the rain
Who was the most interesting / best person you met on the trip ?
Too many to count- not many other riders en-route but plenty of interesting locals along the way and all keen to chat.