Cyclists hit the Pouto trail
by Andy Bryenton
Every second year, cyclists from around the world flock to New Zealand to experience the Tour of Aotearoa, a traverse of the nation’s scenic cycle trails which is less of a race and more of a personal challenge. It’s coming for 2020, with hundreds of riders about to experience the road through the Kaipara to pouto for the first time.
“This event is growing exponentially,” says secretary of Bike the Kaipara Trust, Nicky Reid. “It is organised by Jonathan Kennett, a well-known author of many New Zealand cycling books. Jonathan’s books and his Tour Aotearoa event have opened up NZ as a world-renowned cycling destination.”
“Riders may either take part in this event or ride the route at any time. Most of the bikepackers you see on our roads are following his information. It is a Brevet, not a race, they check-in at 30 checkpoints and wear a tracker device, 100% self-supported. To enter riders must donate $100 to a charity of their choice.” This year it’s anticipated that many riders will take the Pouto route, as a regular ferry service is running for the duration of the event.
Due to a large number of entries, cyclists are released in batches of 100 at Cape Reinga. We will see them coming through Dargaville from mid-February to mid-March, adding a boost to local tourism.
Nicky says that the riders really appreciate encouragement or acts of kindness from locals they meet. Something as simple as some water, fruit or words of encouragement mean a lot when you’re riding 3,000 kilometres.