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  1. #1
    exploring the fire trails
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    Riding Otago Rail Trial - have questions

    Hi all, im planning to ride the Otago Rail Trial by myself, sometime around sept/oct. I have a few questions I was hoping i could get some help and advice with;

    - Im flying in from Australia, do people have a preference in starting from the Queenstown end or Dunedin? Or does it not make much difference in the ride?

    - Im planning to bring my own 29er, usually i ride clipped in with the bike shoes, but im thinking that since this ride is not technically challenging (just long hours in the saddle) perhaps I should fit regular bike pedals and wear more comfortable shoes? (I've never done a bike trek before)

    - Do the various towns along the route generally have ATMs, or do i need to carry enough cash to pay for accommodation etc?

    - Any suggestions on a decent camelbak for riding that can fit change of clothes, spare tyre tubes etc? Currently I have the MULE and its too small for a multi day ride.

    - any other tips or advice?

    Thanks very much, sorry if some of the questions sound basic, I've only just started researching this trip.

    Cheers,

    Scott.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_C View Post
    - Im flying in from Australia, do people have a preference in starting from the Queenstown end or Dunedin? Or does it not make much difference in the ride?
    Most people generally ride it from Clyde to Middlemarch. There is a slight negative gradient doing it that way (albeit with a few false flats). I think it is more psychological. I have done it both ways and preferred Clyde - Middlemarch.

    - Im planning to bring my own 29er, usually i ride clipped in with the bike shoes, but im thinking that since this ride is not technically challenging (just long hours in the saddle) perhaps I should fit regular bike pedals and wear more comfortable shoes? (I've never done a bike trek before)
    If it were me, I would stick with the clipless. I am not sure how many days you are planning on doing it in, but you cannot beat clipless for efficiency. I find it much more comfortable than riding flats. But that is just me.

    - Do the various towns along the route generally have ATMs, or do i need to carry enough cash to pay for accommodation etc?
    Not sure about the ATMs, but you should be good with just a credit card. All the hotels/pubs/etc will have EFTPOS/Credit card.

    - Any suggestions on a decent camelbak for riding that can fit change of clothes, spare tyre tubes etc? Currently I have the MULE and its too small for a multi day ride.
    Not sure. I only did this ride (a few times now) in one go, so didn't need much. However, you should only need a single change of clothes, the bike clothes and some warm things. Then tools, tubes, water etc. The other option is to use a seat post mounted pannier system. Should be good for ~20 kgs from memory. Just clamps to the seat post.

    - any other tips or advice?
    Have fun. It is not technical at all, but tends to be incredibly social. Normally large groups of people or lots of people doing it alone. Take your time to chat to everyone, locals included.

    Good luck, and let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

  3. #3
    exploring the fire trails
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    Hi, thanks for the replies! You mentioned that you do the ride all in one go, but do you have any suggestions for good stopping points, places to stay?

    Cheers,

    Scott.

  4. #4
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    Scott, it depends on how many days you are planning on doing it in. Most people seem to take 3 or 4 days, so that will make it 50/40 kms a day. I cannot remember the breakdown, but the towns are close to those distances. Pretty much every town has a pub, so food is sorted. The bigger pubs will also have accommodation. There are also some decent B&Bs.

    For more information regarding that, I would get in touch with these guys (The Otago Rail Trail - Otago Central Rail Trail)

  5. #5
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    my wife and 9 yo daughter did it 2 easters ago and had a ball over 4 days.
    We did it clyde to hyde and cruised it easily over 4 days/3 nights had a good look around and stopped at many places for lunch and or a break.
    You will only need a small amount of cash as the kiwis accept efpos everywhere.
    We booked accom ahead on the railtral website ,but weddderburn pub is a great stop and feed.
    If you book accom with the railtrail website you can have your bags forwarded to your next stop,check size limits .
    We are all keen to do it again but stop a little more as some of the towns have some great single track to ride.
    As far as bikes go my daughter had her hardtail , wife her trance and i had my wildcard as i also did a helidrop and some trail riding and downhill in wanaka and queenstown.
    Our trip was about 2 weeks long and it was not long enough ,so many places to ride.

  6. #6
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    Hi Guys, thanks again for the replies! its much appreciated.

    Shalom - ive been perusing the railtrail website seems like a great resource.
    Tribesman - thanks for the tip on Wedderburn pub and the bag forwarding service - sounds like the way to go.

    Im thinking of starting at the Queenstown end and doing roughly 50kms a day over 3 days. Pretty cruisy.

    Oh - when you get to the end of the trial, is there a service to take you back to where you started?

    Cheers,

    Scott.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_C View Post
    Hi Guys, thanks again for the replies! its much appreciated.

    Shalom - ive been perusing the railtrail website seems like a great resource.
    Tribesman - thanks for the tip on Wedderburn pub and the bag forwarding service - sounds like the way to go.

    Im thinking of starting at the Queenstown end and doing roughly 50kms a day over 3 days. Pretty cruisy.

    Oh - when you get to the end of the trial, is there a service to take you back to where you started?

    Cheers,

    Scott.
    there is a shuttle service to get you your bike and gear back, they have a great racking system and no damage to bikes at all, we are going back at xmas to ride the trails around wanaka and do a week of downhill on the gondy at queenstown.
    If you are doing three days stay at tiger hill lodge ,beautiful place with a spa pool to relax in after a headwind going up tiger hill at omakau.
    you will need lights or at least a touch to get through the 3 tunnels on the way as one is quite long with a bend in it and very dark and cool to explore in.
    Take a few tubes or patches as the wild grasses are spiky and flats are a problem if you run off the normal trail.
    Take a thermal and a roll up rain coat as weather can be extream we were in a windy head wind one day then stripped down to singlets the next , then all our clothers on as the weather came in and snow down to 700 metres .
    Doing a round 40/50 km a day is no worries my daughter did the whole ride at 9 yo and i only put the tow rope on her for a total of 5km of the whole 168km ride and she pedeled up tiger hill on her own in a head wind.
    Check out nasby to stay in as the riding around town is amazing call into bike shop for maps.

  8. #8
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    I'd take some cash with you as well. Not every EFTPOS outlet will accept credit cards.

  9. #9
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    Thanks again for all the information guys, its much appreciated.

    The other thing I've read and I guess I'll have to be careful about is making sure my bike is super clean before I fly in. I think NZs customs are even tougher than Australia in regard to dirt, foreign plant matter etc.

  10. #10
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    You are not wrong there. Make sure everything is clean - tyres, rims, linkages if FS, the works.

    They will take it out and check it. Also make sure your equipment is clean. Shoes, helmet, the rest.

    If not, they will charge some exorbitant fee to clean it for you.

  11. #11
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    The kiwis are SUPER anal about dirt on any sporting equipment,i whould do the new tyre thing before you go, and i left my dirty tyres over there with some cool locals as a thankyou for showing me around, it saved heaps of stress coming back through customs.trail karma points
    Another hint if you pay for the extra baggage before you get to the airport checkin ,its heaps cheaper ,only cost me an extra $20 /bike return compared to $10 /kg at airport.
    I also cheated and sent some tubes and gas to a address in nz through a internet site and picked them up once we were there.
    You are going to have a ball ,hope you enjoy it as much as we did .
    We are thinking of do it again next year but will need a trailer for the little guy who has turned up since last time.

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