John Allen will be travelling 3000km on this bike. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI
Imagine cycling form Masterton to Wellington.
Now imagine doing that for 30 days in a row.
That is what you would have to — at the bare minimum — to complete the Tour Aotearoa.
The 3000km “bikepacking” trek from Cape Reinga to Bluff will be held for the second time, after the inaugural edition in 2016.
Riders have to complete the ride in no less than 10 days, but no more than 30.
John Allen is one of the 10 Wairarapa riders taking the challenge on, and said he was inspired to give it a go after his son completed the ride in 2016.
“We’ve always been keen cyclists, and we rode a day with him when they came through Wairarapa.
“We just thought we had to do it if it happened again.
“When he first said he was going to do it we were quite envious, but when we actually got involved it was certainly a must-do thing.”
The riders will start the trek in waves, with Allen departing in wave two on February 12.
He has completed plenty of cycling and multisport events since the mid-90s, including multiple rides around Lake Taupo.
Tour Aotearoa riders must also carry all their equipment with them, meaning the dynamics were quite different to other events.
“It’s self-contained so we have to carry our tent and sleeping bag and everything else.
“There’s also our food and drink too — it puts the weight of the bike up to about 25kg, instead of about half of that.”
Allen said his group was aiming to complete the ride in about 25 days, meaning they would need to average 120km a day.
The ride would give them a chance to see parts of the country they might not have been able to visit otherwise, he said.
“It will be cool going down the West Coast — there’s a lot of trails down there that we haven’t seen.
“I haven’t been right to the bottom of the South Island either, and that is the great opportunity of doing something like this — you’re off the beaten track for a lot of it.”
The riders will come into Masterton, before also heading to Gladstone and Martinborough, before riding over the Rimutaka Rail Trail and into Wellington.
Each rider will have their own GPS which will be trackable online, and local riders are encouraged to join in as they travel through Wairarapa.