Cape Reinga to Bluff bike tour ‘just a blur’

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Intrepid bike rider Sue Redman clocked up 3027km in 24 days when she took part in the Tour Aotearoa, which runs from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

The Pukerau woman averaged 125km a day on the journey.

The self-supported tour involves a combination of cycle trails, tracks, paths and lanes connected by country roads – and avoiding heavy traffic.

It is not a race.

It follows a set course, via 30 photo checkpoints, which participants must complete in 10 to 30 days.

Ms Redman said she was happy to complete the tour in 24 days as she had set herself a target of 28 days.

There was not much time to enjoy the scenery.

“It was just a blur of biking, eating and sleeping,” Ms Redman said.

The North Island part of the tour featured many back roads and was hilly.

She completed 38,000m of continuous climbing – 22,000m in the North Island and 16,000m in South Island.

Ms Redman is a former road cycling world champion.

The only scary moment on the tour when she came across a nasty slip with a steep drop.

“I felt the bike slipping down the scree slope,” she said.

But a biking friend behind her came to her rescue.

Her bike did not not have any mechanical issues thanks to the expert “set-up of the bike” by her husband, Derek Murray.

She had prepared herself for the mammoth task by doing smaller biking tours around the South Island.

challenge and hard to convey the enormity of to the uninitiated, she said.

“This is an event you would only do once – you didn’t have time to go sightseeing or do anything.

“You really have to be prepared for it.”

She found the 85km ride along Ninety Mile Beach tedious.

There were 550 riders on her tour and they started the ride in six waves. She was in the third wave, which started on February 14.

When she hit the tarseal on the West Coast she put in a big effort to finish as quickly as she could as she was on the home straight.

“I’m pretty pleased with my effort.”

She was keen to inspect her much-loved flower garden when she got home and then came a day of unpacking and cleaning.