By Reg Churton
In February I rode this, a 1080 km ride from the East Cape to Cape Egmont.
This took me 12 days. It would have been 11 days, but I was on my own for the last 5 days and because of working out where to stay I had two short days. The weather was generally good other than a torrential downpour midway through the timber trail. I had planned to stay in my own tent at Camp Epic, halfway through the Timber Trail, but fortunately due to Auckland being in Covid lockdown and thus cancellations, I managed to get a glamping tent.
One of the short days was the ride from Ohura to Whangamomona. Just 60 kms and 4 hours riding, but what a lovely afternoon wandering around Whangamomona, reading the signs about the history of the town, the forestry and the railway. Something that is missed trying to finish the ride as quick as possible.
The ride is a lot more remote than the Tour Aotearoa and a lot more gravel and single track. The ride up the Motu track and the back roads to Lake Waikaremoana (about 300 kms) were my highlight of the trip, lots of gravel and great views. No shops but some good places to stay.
A big issue is getting to the start and home from the finish. As this was a last-minute decision, I rode from Whangamata to the East Cape and was going to ride home from Cape Egmont, but fortunately I got on a bus from New Plymouth to Hamilton. The bus was a concern because they cannot guarantee carriage of the bike, but it was not a problem. I also managed to get four lifts by hitchhiking saving me about 200 kms of cycling. Hitching with a bike is, believe it or not, easier than hitching with a pack.
The ride was great, and I do recommend it. And I see on the Kopiko Facebook page they are looking at starting this towards the end of January next year. I have also seen that 2022 may be the last year this is run.
But there are several of these 1000 km rides including the Kiwi Brevet, the Great Southern Brevet and the Tuatara 1000, which are loop rides from Blenheim, Lake Tekapo and Invercargill and being loop rides transport is not the big issue.
Let it be known if you are interested in doing these rides, I know several members are considering these.