The last time I did a cycle ride over more than 3 days, I was 19. My cousin Sue and I rode from deepest darkest Northumberland through the Borders and up to Edinburgh and back. We’d done a similar jaunt the previous year when we toured the Yorkshire Dales. It was all panniers and Youth Hostels back then. I recall having my first legal alcoholic beverage in a pub in Alston on my 18th birthday.
So eons of years later, Mr Savage and I, with two small rucksacks, two cheap second hand bikes and quite a step up in the accommodation stakes, completed the Alps to Ocean cycle ride. It starts in Mount Cook village and ends in Oamaru, 316kms cycled. Things to note.
- We used human powered bikes not E bikes. Almost everyone else we encountered had electricity to help them on their way. I’m glad we did it under our own steam. Our buddy Rob offered us e-bikes but we declined. Crank those pedals.
- It’s predominantly downhill. There are hills and unforgiving gravel road sections but the trend is down.
- Most of it is off road. This has to be one of the attractions. And there’s a great mix of different terrain. Our friend Kate said, “If you don’t like the section you’re on, in a couple of hours it’ll be different”. And she was right.
- We contemplated camping but I’m so so glad we didn’t. After 80km, someone else cooking your dinner, a hot bath and a comfy bed have their attractions.
- There is a short helicopter ride at the start to hop across the glacial fed river. That’s a fun way to start a bike ride.
- We include 4 night’s accommodation on our trip. Organised groups seemed to take 6 as standard.
- The places we stayed were all very different and all lovely in their own individual way.
- I had one puncture.
- I was very glad I bought a new saddle for my bike before setting off. The one that was on when I bought the bike would have been an instrument of medieval torture.
Both of us, loved the ride. To be recommended if you like a journey.