The Tour Aotearoa – Week Two

Geoff Gabites’s Diary

Day 5

Reunited at Kemeu Mark and I cycled through the network of trails and roads to One Tree Hill at Mt Eden. Blessed with a local guide, Richard Leggatt, we quickly traversed the metropolitan event that is Auckland and set sail for Kawakawa Bay where we experienced the amazing hospitality of locals Helen & Howard.

Day 6

Passed in a blur of Hauraki Rail Trail through to Matamata.

Day 7

Started us into the King Country with its winding gravel backroads that increasingly felt remote and lonely. Passing through small communities such as Arapuni and Mangakino memorable for their thickshakes and incredible hospitality.

Day 8

Featured the grind, firstly up to the start of the Timber Trail. Then once started, the grind to the high point of the entire Tour Aotearoa at just on 1000m. From there, the endless downhill to eventually get to the campsite.

Day 9

Exiting the Timber Trail and then the race was on to get to the Blue Duck Cafe at Whakahoro and a 6:30pm dinner. Whakahoro is the jump-off point for the Mountains to Sea section over to the Bridge to Nowhere and then a jetboat ride to Pipiriki. At last we are pretty clear of the hills and single tracks which mark the 1000km point cycled.

Tour-Aotearoa

Attacked by a wild kiwi in Eketahuna 🙂

Monitoring Communities & Rider Etiquette

Geoff’s Perspective as he Rides the Tour Aotearoa

The Tour Aotearoa does an amazing role of delivering 100’s of riders into small communities. These riders deliver considerable economic value to the locals through an endless demand for food, drink, accommodation and services such as ferries and jetboats.

As numbers spiral, these communities stress under our own “over tourism”. Retaining the goodwill and support of these locals will be what determines the ongoing success of this event. As numbers rise, so does the potential conflicts between rider and community. This event involves considerable deprivation and hardship, so how riders handle this and the need to be polite and deal with delays in getting food and service is important.

Bad manners, rudeness and a sense of entitlement run head to head with locals feeling overwhelmed and frazzled, as yet another wave of riders hit with demands for thickshakes, cooked breakfasts and coffee. The ability to step back say “please” and “thank you”, go along way to ensuring the Tour Aotearoa remains a valued economic event that delivers real value to both riders and locals for years to come.