What: Lonely Planet Guide – Cycling New Zealand
A few weeks back, after five LONG DAYS of eager anticipation, a delightful little package made its way to my mailbox – a package containing another great NZ bike trip resource – Lonely Planet’s Guide to Cycling New Zealand.
Sadly, I cannot share pics or scans of the guide’s contents for fear of being either sued or snared by hungry copyright lawyer-werewolves (although, seeing a pinstripe wearing werewolf would make me soooo HAPPY!). Anyway, don’t fret dear reader, for your Rider has found a loop-hole! Oh yes, where photos cannot go, the mighty keyboard knows no bounds! And so I bring you, your moderate-to-GREAT LP Guide to Cycling NZ BOOK REVIEW. Muha!
So here’s the DL: You can expect to find many elements of the LP’s familiar format here (history, getting to/from, climate, environment etc). But where most guides seek to help all manner of traveler, this one is expertly geared to suit the two-wheeled traveler. Succinct, entertaining and informative, this guide is a must-have resource for NZ bike planning. Here are my fave features from the guide:
- Region Overviews: Detailed descriptions on the country’s major regions including Auckland & The North, Waikato & King Country, Eastern North Island, Southern North Island, Marlborough & Nelson, Westland, Canterbury and Otago & Southland. Biking routes for each region (from short 1-2 day jaunts to lengthier routes as well as tips on various mountain biking hot spots) are detailed extensively.
- Day-by-Day Breakdowns: Provides day-to-day overviews, including estimated travel times and distances for each ride.
- Elevations: Cross-section graphics illustrating at what distance riders can expect to encounter climbs (and to what height those climbs go) are provided for each ride – which I’ve found particularly helpful in visualizing precisely where I’ll be yakking over Frank’s bars.
- Compact Size & Weight: The clever Lonely Planet folks, steely travelers they are, have truly designed this guide with the rider in mind. Every ounce carried counts when traveling by bike, so the guide’s compact form (nearly half the size and weight of a typical guide) makes lugging this one around a viable option.
- Ride Grading: Provides ride grades outlining the degree of difficulty (easy, moderate and demanding) a rider can expect to encounter on each leg of their journey.
- Maps & Cue Sheets: While I’ll likely be picking up more detailed versions once I land, the guide’s maps for each region provide an excellent introduction for getting one oriented with their routes. The guide also provides numerous recommendations on good maps to pick-up for each region. Cue sheets, that provide directional guides and GPS coordinates, are also provided for each day of riding.
Canuck Does GOOD
Penned by Scott Kennedy, this guide (combined with the ever awesome tips from my ÜBER CRUSH, NZbyBike.com) has served as an excellent plotting ground for our NZ bike trip extraordinaire. Some quick cyber-creepin’ tells me Kennedy is a good Canadian boy living the LIFE as an accomplished adventure writer, photographer and general man-about-the-world. Now living in New Zealand, Kennedy continues to pump out great tales of his biking escapades and other fearless have-at-its. Be sure to check out his many pursuits at www.adventureskope.com or on his online travel/art/music website www.arcmagonline.com