The best biking book for Christmas

The best biking book for ChristmasI bet I’m not the only person who spends the wet short days of winter fantasising about summer bike touring around New Zealand. And in the past year, I’ve expanded my dreamfields to the Pacific Islands and Europe. As the days lengthen and the sun becomes more reliable, the urge to grab my best bike buddies and take to the road becomes overwhelming. I confess this year we got a cycling ‘fix’ in July by escaping to Samoa in July to circumnavigate Savai’i by bike. We returned gloriously tanned, relaxed, well fed and fitter and vowing to return to ride the main island of Upolo. The Kennett Brothers have become …
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Curious about cycle touring? Act on it with ACTA!

Curious about cycle touring? Act on it with ACTA!In late spring heading towards a glorious summer, our thoughts naturally turn to long leisurely bike rides. Oh, the places you can go on two wheels, all around the world. And locally. ACTA – the Auckland Cycle Touring Club – has been leading cycle tours out of Auckland for over half a century! Here’s a quick introduction to this venerable bike group, still going stronger than ever. (Words and photos courtesy of Sarah Ley and John McKillop.) “I have seen parts of Auckland that I have never seen before!” “There are so many great places to cycle I never knew existed!” These are just some of the comments we hear from people on our rides …
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Guest blog: New Year, new horizons – and a promise to keep

Guest blog: New Year, new horizons - and a promise to keepChris Owens is moving from Toronto to Auckland in the New Year to pursue postgraduate studies in the sociology of urban cycling. He also finds himself unexpectedly following in his father’s footsteps, and fulfilling a lifelong dream deferred…  It’s very easy to let oneself settle. To find a comfortable groove, work the grind, and make a bit of hay. And why not? Life can be pretty chaotic and uncertain at times, so it’s only natural to yearn for a little stability. And yet, even after finding something solid to hold on to, for some of us, we begin to feel a twitch. The mundane life we sometimes strive for can also make many of …
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Oh, the places you’ll go: a guide for the aspiring cycle tourist

Oh, the places you'll go: a guide for the aspiring cycle touristEver fancied being a tourist on two wheels, seeing it all from the seat of a bicycle? Christopher Dempsey recently made a dream-come-true trip through Argentina on a bike. Here, he shares what he’s learned when it comes to cycle touring… The Bike Despite claims that you can tour on almost any bike (and theoretically, you can – there is a guy currently doing a world tour on a unicycle), the practicalities of doing a tour mean you need a few critical things. A ‘relaxed’ frame to enable you to pedal for 2, 3, 4 hours without a problem (having mini-breaks along the way). A steel-based frame to provide you with a sense of …
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Tears of the Moon, Sweat of the Sun: A Cycle Tour of Northern Argentina

Tears of the Moon, Sweat of the Sun: A Cycle Tour of Northern ArgentinaChristopher Dempsey made good this year on a long-held dream – to bike through South America. Here he shares the ups and downs of his solo trip over Andean passes and through sleepy little towns… and tells us how it all began.   Canada, the mid-1990s: a cold winter’s day, snow on the ground, -20 outside with windchill of -30. On TV, Jack Pizzey introduces the latest instalment of his documentary series about South America: ‘Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon’. The continent was thousands of kilometres south of where I sat in my Montréal living room… but a dream of travelling there took sudden hold, and wouldn’t let go. It would take three attempts and nearly twenty …
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Speed, bonny bike, like a bird on the wing – Jane rides the Outer Hebrides

Speed, bonny bike, like a bird on the wing – Jane rides the Outer HebridesIf you’re a paid-up member of Cycle Action, you’ll have received friendly emails from Jane Admore, our cherished membership secretary. She’s also an intrepid bike tourist, and is currently pedalling around the British Isles while waiting for a grandchild to arrive. Here’s her report from the Outer Hebrides…. We’ve only been away for 3 weeks, and yet it feels like we’ve had about 3 months of bombardments of new experiences. Barra, the largest southerly island of the Western Isles (or Outer Hebrides) is a gem. You arrive by ferry at Castlebay, a small town with – true to its name – a ruined castle in the harbour. It’s a day’s …
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Around Savai’i on a ‘uila’ – a biking holiday in Samoa

Around Savai'i on a 'uila' - a biking holiday in SamoaIf you want a warm break in winter, enjoy cycling, and only have a week to spare, then consider circumnavigating Savai’i – ‘the big island’ of Samoa. Bruce and Karen Yarnton did, and shared their experience with us… Our plan was to cycle five of the six full days in Samoa, leaving one day for lounging on the coral sand and snorkelling in the lagoon. We traveled in June, when the average temperature was a high of 31deg C, so we planned to start early each morning and have the day’s cycling over with before the heat really set in. Circumnavigating Savai’i is a trip of approx 220km around the perimeter road, and the daily distances we …
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Have gold card, will cycle – the new bike ambassadors

One of the things I love about getting around by bike and public transport is the people I bump into along the way: I feel like it gives me a snapshot of the new Auckland. A week ago, while en route to the airport bus, I met this smiley, friendly couple on the Devonport ferry with their bikes… As we shuffled round the deck dodging hail, Jim and Julie told me all about how they had moved from their family home in Pakuranga to an apartment in Newmarket. Now centrally placed with the train at their doorstep, they spend their weekends exploring Auckland cycle trails accessible by train and ferry. Julie seemed a bit apologetic …
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Lost in Paris… the best way, by bike

Lost in Paris... the best way, by bikeGetting lost in a strange big city is a great way to get under its skin. Getting lost on a bicycle in greater Paris turned out to be exhausting, but merveilleux! Kirsten Shouler reports on her recent adventures in the City of Light and Vélos:  Kim and I had been riding in the south of France, climbing a few mountains in the Alps and Pyrénées, and watching some Tour de France stages. We’d had day after day cycling in the baking heat, bathed in the summer aromas and tastes of rural villages, and welcoming the clear air and physical challenges of the big mountains. Now the Tour de France was done and …
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Rimutaka Rail Trail and the Wairarapa calling us down!

Rimutaka Rail Trail and the Wairarapa calling us down!Wow! What a treat it was to host Jonathan Kennett at our monthly Cycle Action meeting last night! He led us, drooling, through alluring photos of every NZ Cycle Trail, describing their highlights and special features. If you missed out last night – you’re lucky – Jolisa will be blogging soon, so you can catch up! It seems like a dream, but this time last week I had just finished riding one of those gorgeous Trails! I had 3 days of bliss, riding the Rimutaka Rail Trail. Here’s the NZ Cycle Trail map. We had time only for the Hutt River and Rimutaka parts of the trail – these signs …
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Exploring the outer reaches of our region with PT

Guest blog by Jane Admore, Jane is our highly effective Membership Secretary and an adventurous cycle tourist. Fed up with battling the mean streets of our outer city by bike to reach the country? Or even worse, loading your bike onto the car to get out of town? Public transport is there to help you leap the barriers. 1. Omana & Clevedon Catch the great Pine Harbour Ferry from downtown –weekdays only (& not public holidays – check the timetable at www.at.co.nz)  (Leave on a later ferry on Friday evening – they are reasonably tolerant on bikes). You’re straight into coastal delights . Push up the path to Beachlands & …
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Filling the Gap for the NZ Cycle Trail in Auckland

Visitors arriving at Auckland Airport have been asking us to advise them on the best route to the centre of Auckland. Cycle Action wanna-be movie producers are responding by filming Airport to CBD route ideas for cycle tourists to find on youtube. We will show them how to navigate into and  through Auckland, and key intersections along the way. Cycle Action has proposed route ideas for a NZ Cycle Trail expansion route – this video will fill a gap while Auckland Transport puts its draft application through the various Local Boards and Auckland Transport Board for their approval, and then to the Ministry of Ecomomic Development in Wellington. We all want the …
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