A self-guided cycling trip on a New Zealand cycle trail with a bunch of friends or family members is a great way to create unforgettable memories.

But before you can jump on the bike, there can be a bit of organisation involved, and the bigger the group, the more to consider. Below we talk about some key points to take into account as first steps to planning your group cycling holiday.

Self-Guided Cycling Tips

2. Get In Early

New Zealand’s cycle trails are booming in popularity. So without exaggerating, the best advice we can give is to start planning early. This doesn’t mean 2 months in advance (as a lot of the best accommodation will be booked up by then), but 5-12 months in advance.

The bigger your group size, or the more specific your date requirements, the more important it is to get in and book your trip as early as possible. Talk amongst your family and/or friends and decide on an ideal date, and try and have a contingency date range of a few days either side of this.

3. Nominate A Group Coordinator

Nominating a group coordinator is a great way to save time and make sure everyone’s preferences are accounted for. This should be someone who is good with details and doesn’t mind spending a bit of time collecting information and being the middleman.

Self-Guided CyclingTips - Group Size

4. Group Size

Get an idea of how many people may be interested to do the cycling trip and take note of how many couples and singles there are. Do any single people want own rooms? Is everyone couples? Do some people need twin beds? Can three people share a room if they have to? These details can be the difference between staying at one accommodation location over another.

5. Discuss Fitness Levels

The average fitness level of the group will have an affect on the overall trip duration so it’s important to try and determine the general fitness level of each person in the group. I.e. higher fitness levels may mean less cycling days, lower fitness level may mean more cycling days – or at least more time needed to get from A to B.

At Cycle Journeys we often incorporate solutions in a trip to make sure everyone has a great time. This might mean hiring an Electric Bike, a couple of people taking a shuttle for a small portion of trail, or suggestions of extra trail sections for those that are keen bike riders who want to cycle more each day.

Self-Guided Cycling Tips - Trip Duration

6. Trip Duration

Next to fitness levels, the trip duration will really determine how much of the trail you will cycle. I.e. If everyone is super fit and collectively you all only have 5 days available then you’d possibly be able to cycle the entire trail. Or if the group members are non-bike riders, and you also only have 5 days spare, then cycling half the trail will be both realistic and enjoyable.

7. Pick An Accommodation Level

Discuss the accommodation level that everyone is happy with. Ideally, everyone in the group will stay at the same locations each night as it’s more fun doing it this way! Are you happy in motels, lodge ensuite rooms and farmstays? Or do you enjoy more boutique B&B style locations? We have contact with over 60 accommodation locations along the Alps 2 Ocean and West Coast Wilderness trails’ and we will be able to best match the available accommodation to your preferences.

8. Hold A Group Meeting

It can be a good idea to hold a meeting and finalise the points we’ve mentioned above. It’s a lot easier planning group trips in person and can save a lot of time going back and forth for weeks on end and makes sure everyone is on the same page. If for geographical reasons you are unable to meet in person, set aside some time for an online group chat or phone call.

9. Gather The Finer Details

If you have collected or discussed the info above, then you’ve made a great start to the organisation of a brilliant cycling holiday!

Now it’s time to gather the finer details. Let your group coordinator know your heights for bike sizes, preferred bike style (we have a few), and if anyone has any special diet requirements for meals provided. We’re happy to start your booking before you have this information but we will need it to complete your overall booking.

Self-Guided Cycling Tips - Make a Commitment

10. Make A Commitment

Once a potential trip itinerary has been created, be ready to make a commitment straight away. By this we mean, be ready to pay a deposit to secure your trip. Accommodation along the A2O trail is in high demand, and is often booked on a first-in basis, with no holds. If anyone in the group is unable to commit in advance then we suggest for those that are able to book straight away to do so.

With all this said, start getting that group together and we look forward to seeing you out on the trails!

The Cycle Journeys Team