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Tristan locked and loaded for Tour Aotearoa. Photo: Sven Martin

Bikepacking is the ‘new black’ for off road cycling. An impressive array of masochists line up for events like the Kopiko Aotearoa, Sounds to Sounds, Tour Te Wai Pounanu and the-length-of-NZ Tour Aotearoa. Ground Effect Revolutionaries Ollie Whalley, Anja McDonald and Tristan Rawlence have all completed the gruelling TA in (or close to) the 'minimum' allowed time of ten days - averaging a formidable 300 km/day. Ollie has completed many other events including winning the 4000 km Great Divide Race in the USA. His record time stood for some years.

Ground Effect's Impresario of Production - Scott Emmens - has previously organised the shorter, but still formidably challenging and popular, ‘top of the South Island’ Kiwi Brevet. Scott has notched up a lot of gravel miles on his Garmin, both in NZ and overseas.

Tracks like the Old Ghost Road and NZ Cycle Trails continue to grow in popularity. So even if you’re not up for a Brevet, consider allowing yourself to be seduced by the (more) settled weather in February and March to tick off an off-road trip - or head off-shore in the off-season.

Packing light but safe is an essential discipline to survive and enjoy these pursuits. Check out our Tour Aotearoa blog and Bikepacking for Beginners for more tips and inspiration.

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