Packing the right gear, snacks, and tools could be the difference between a fun day out on the trail and a long walk back to the car.
Whether you’re riding 5km or 55km, a handful of essentials should accompany you every time you’re in the saddle.
Adventures and risk go hand in hand, but this can be reduced through careful planning and good decision making. Follow the Outdoor Safety Code for a smooth ride.
Plan your trip
Check the website, seek local knowledge, plan your route and the time you think it should take. The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is well signposted but it doesn’t hurt to carry a map, or download one for extra brownie points before setting off.
Tell someone your plans
Call your Mum (or text a friend) and leave a date or time for them to begin to panic if you haven’t returned. Whilst it’s good for the soul to ride alone, it’s also true what they say about safety in numbers.
Check the weather forecast
Always check the weather, and be prepared for unexpected changes. Westport was the warmest and sunniest town on the West Coast in 2020, and can promise bluebird skies and epic sunsets too.
Know your limits
Clark Kent you are not, and it’s your responsibility to enjoy and maximise your riding experience. To minimise risk, leave the cape at home and always ride within your physical limits and ability.
Take a leaf out of Dora’s book and take a Backpack. You’ll be grateful for sufficient food, water, warm clothing, bike tools for repairs, a first aid kit and a means of communication if Diego’s not around to save the day.
Photo: We love Clark. But don’t be a hero…
The Backcountry Mountain Biking Guide is a useful resource. Although intended for remote riding, it offers excellent advice and tips to ensure your adventure is fully prepared for should you encounter an unexpected hitch.
Think about who makes up your group? What’s their biking experience? What gear will you need? Have you researched where you are going and how long it will take?
With your research done, now it’s a question of what to pack. We’ve put together a handy list of the basics to help you prepare for your ride.
What to Pack
Backpack – a durable backpack is key to withstand adverse weather conditions or any damage on your rides.
Food – you can expect to consume about 50% more calories than you would use if you were at your office desk all day. Bananas are packed with potassium and carbohydrates, great for fuelling your muscles. Energy bars are handy too.
Water – carry a water bottle to avoid dehydration.
Clothing – pack extra layers and a rain jacket in case of changeable weather.
Helmet – it’s compulsory to wear a helmet in New Zealand. Make sure it fits properly. If you’re hiring a bike you should be given a helmet too.
Mini pump – vital for any long bike ride. Be prepared for pesky flat tires.
Spare tubes and patch kit – both will keep you riding, and not hiking.
Sun – stay sun safe with a hat, glasses, and sunscreen. Rain, hail or shine, the sun can be harsh even during the winter months. When choosing a sunscreen, look for a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF30.
Basic first aid kit – it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not only for accidents you might have, but also should you encounter injured cyclists.
Means of communication – carry a charged mobile phone, especially for long bike rides. Another bonus is you can take awesome photos. Please note some areas along the Trail have limited or no cell phone coverage.
Map – no one wants to get lost. Once GPS Mapping is complete, individual Section maps will be available for download on each of the Trail Pages.
Lights – carry a headlamp or torch for exploring or in case of dusky delays.
Wherever you’re headed, give yourself a little peace of mind and plan, prepare and pack to get the most from your ride. Happy adventuring.
A Packing Resource Guide can be found here.