Hey, i'm off to NZ in April for a working holiday....planning on being out there until christmas.
I'm going on my own but meeting a few friends along the way, i have no plans, ive just booked a flight!
I had the idea today of either buying or hiring a bike out there and spend most of my time cycling around and seeing what i find, im in no rush as ill have about 9 months there.
I just basically want some advice on whether its a good idea....and if anyone has done it and could give me any information on hire companies or buying a bike.
I'm fairly fit but havent rode a bike in many years so im sure it will be a slow process!
Tracy..I know a couple from Germany traveling with their cycle. I never meet them personally but I know them through my friend. They traveled some 11 countries by Cycle I think. But the advantage is, they are a couple so..they can spend time talking together and taking rest etc., I think NZ is good for self exploring but still you'll definitely get bored.
Cycling around the country is quite a common activity in New Zealand, but from what I've seen (comfortably sitting in my rental car as I passed poor bikers going uphill in the lowest gear in the rain, with heavy bags on their bikes slowing them down still further) at times a rather strenuous activity, and not something I personally would want to be doing (and being from the Netherlands, I bike pretty much every day).
I would strongly advice getting in some practice at home (go for some 4+ hour bike rides, preferably on rainy days) to see if this is really for you.
(I hope that doesn't come over too negative; I do see a lot of the appeal in it, and believe it can really give you a sense of achievement. I just prefer to get that from hiking myself.)
New Zealand is a strange place for cyclists. One the one hand it's a beautiful country that is perfect to take in at a leisurely pace on a bike. On the other hand it's really dangerous and unpleasant.
For some reason Kiwi's take great pleasure in driving as close to you as possible to scare you, this includes the large logging and transport trucks. Every year cyclists are killed on the roads by un-attentive car drivers. Last year 5 were killed in the space of one week! One was killed just last week. On top of this, 99% of the road surface is chip tarmac and very rough. It's too dangerous to ride in the road and cyclist have to ride on the hard shoulder which is often made up of the loose gravel thrown off the road.
Having said all that, there is only 4 million people here, so there are plenty of roads that have little traffic on them and you can have enjoy the ride, but at some point you have to travel main roads that can be really un pleasant.
I agree with Dodger - Kiwi drivers are pretty crazy! I hated driving there so unfortunately I would imagine cycling wouldn't be very pleasant either. None of the cities are really condusive to cycling, and on the emptier country roads many drivers go way too fast.
Yes you can get plenty of shops to rent bicycles. Yet as said by others above, Kiwi drivers can indeed drive dangerously. So you need to cycle carefully while enjoying the scenaries NZ offers.
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