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International / Re: Biking New Zealand
« Last post by RonK on October 21, 2014, 04:11:21 am »
I have done two tours in New Zealand since 2010, both on the South Island, so I can only make general comments about the North Island.

The North Island is hillier, more densely populated, the roads busier, and reputedly, the drivers more aggressive. I've heard negative comments from a few cycle tourists, but I've experience few issues myself.  This may be because my visits have been in the spring when the roads are less busy. But generally the roads of the South Island have been mostly quiet, with the exception of State Highway 1, which runs the length of the east coast and is the main north-south artery. Plan to avoid this route as much as possible.

Your January visit coincides with the summer vacations, and is the height of the backpacker and tourist season as well, so it will be busier. It would be better to defer your vist by a month or even two if possible. The locals have gone back to school and work by February and the tourist season is starting to wind down by March, which is also likely to produce the most stable weather conditions.

Also, don't be deceived by the miniscule size of NZ on the map, depending on how far/fast you want ride and how much time sightseeing, it will take around 5 weeks to cover the South Island and maybe most of the North in the remaining available time. So far I have done two month-long tours to cover the middle and the bottom of the South Island, although to be fair I did go back over some parts that I enjoyed so much I wanted to do them again.

Last tour I rode several hundred kilometres on unsealed back roads. I found these roads well-formed and manageable (with just a little more than normal care) riding on 32mm Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, but the main touring routes are sealed. 1.6"x26" Supremes would be fine for your bikes.

NZ has a well-developed tourist route and it's quite possible to tour without camping if preferred, although you may need to do the odd 100km+ day. There are many motor camps (rv parks), backpacker hostels and camping grounds, and most towns have a domain where free camping is allowed, although there may not be much in the way of facilities.

The best touring guide is Nigel Rushtons Pedalers Paradise - there is a volume for each island. It's very basic but covers all the information you'll need with little weight penalty. There are very few roads in NZ so you don't need much in the way of maps or navigation - a simple road map from a newsagent or gas station is generally sufficient. I used Google Maps with an earbud to get voice navigation prompts passing through some of the bigger cities, which ofter have motorway approaches and convoluted cycle routes to avoid them.

Have a look through my touring journals - you'll find links and reference to the information I found most useful. Any questions you are welcome to ask.

Chasing the Long White Cloud
Gone Fishin'
Gear Talk / Sizing Dilemma (Is there a big difference between 58 and 60cm trek?)
« Last post by RonK on October 21, 2014, 01:59:36 am »
The sizes you quote refer to the length of the seat tube, which is not overly important given seat posts offer a significant range of adjustment.

But a larger frame will have a longer top tube, affecting the reach. This is the important dimension as scope for adjustment is limited. Since the saddle must be set to position you correctly in relation to the pedals, the reach dimension can only be varied by changing the stem.
An off the shelf bike will usually have a stem of 100-110mm. A long stem is 130mm, 50mm is short, but may affect the feel of the steering. Stems are made in 10mm increments.

At 6'4" a 58cm will most likely be too small, but you may be able to compensate with a longer stem.

If it is too small you may feel cramped on a test ride.

Perhaps you should visit a bike shop and test ride a correctly sized bike to get a proper feeling before looking at used bikes.
Since I'm new to road biking, I'm not 100% sure what I should be looking for. Is there anything specific that would tell me that the bike is or isn't a good fit? Any indicators?

Calculating your fit only gets you in the ballpark. You need to take a test ride. Don't just ride around the parking lot. Go a number of miles, including flats, uphill and downhill.
Routes / Re: Amsterdam to Paris Route?
« Last post by o2kayak on October 20, 2014, 09:07:24 pm »
Hey Everyone,

So I am just getting into the cycling world and had a quick question to ask. I am very budget restricted and therefore have made the journey to craigslist to find an entry level bike to use for general cycling and some entry-level triathlons. I am 6'4" tall with a 35" standover height. Reading online and even asking questions in local bike shops, I have found that I would fit a 58-60cm bike. I have found an almost brand new Trek 1.1 (again, very entry-level) bike on craigslist as well as a few others in great condition in 58cm but not 60cm.

My question is, how much difference does the 2cm between a 58 and 60cm bike affect riding comfort and ability to ride efficiently? There doesn't seem to be many used 60cm bikes for sale in my area, and buying new will cost an easy $300-400 without much improvement in overall bike quality.

I don't want to buy a 58cm bike if it will be a bad thing in the long-run, but I also don't want to spend an extra 300-400 dollars just to get a 60cm bike if it won't make that much difference in the long run.

Any input would be much appreciated!

General Discussion / Re: Wireless computer on touring bike
« Last post by Patco on October 20, 2014, 02:54:01 pm »
I have not had a problem with interference with the wireless I purchased four years ago. It is in sleep mode until I begin riding, then as soon as the wheels begin turning it is on and providing information.
International / Re: Biking New Zealand
« Last post by briancoop on October 20, 2014, 01:21:16 pm »
Thanks for the recommendation, Galloper.

The book reviews lead me to believe she has a rather consistent negative tone - do you have first-hand experience with touring in New Zealand that corroborates this viewpoint? Should these reviews be trusted?

Since many of her complaints seem to be centered around bad roads, traffic and weather, do you think spending more time on less traveled roads and mountain biking tracks might help? Of course the weather is something that cannot be avoided, only prepared for.
International / Re: Biking New Zealand
« Last post by Galloper on October 20, 2014, 09:16:09 am »
May I suggest you get hold of a copy of "Long Cloud Ride" by Josie Dew, it will give you a good idea of what to expect.
General Discussion / Re: Toe clips? Clipless? None of the above?
« Last post by Galloper on October 20, 2014, 09:13:34 am »
I like Shimano A 530 SPD pedals.   These have a clip on one side and a flat on the other which makes them more versatile that a standard clipless.   
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