Experience, Fitness & Equipment

What you need to know

Experience and fitness levels

This website is designed to help you choose multi-day rides that best suit your ability, experience and fitness. Even if you are a relatively inexperienced biker, there are still plenty of trails that are easy enough to tackle with minimal experience.

This doesn’t however mean you can can undertake these trails without having some level of fitness. Even the easier, flatter routes can involve around 30km of riding per day. It is well worth getting out on your bike and getting a few kilometres under your belt before you start your ride.

If you are an experienced mountain biker, you may want to consider some of the more adventurous options. If so we can help you find something that will challenge and exhilarate you.

Your Bike

Even on the easiest trails the surface will be mostly unsealed. A multi-geared bike with medium to wide tires is recommended for these, such as a touring bike or mountain bike. E-bikes are also becoming an increasingly popular option for these types of trails.

If you are heading out onto more advanced trails you will need a proper mountain bike with suspension and knobbly tires.

Make sure it is in good working order and you have a bit of an idea of how to repair a puncture, replace a tube and fix a broken chain.

Most people hire bikes for their chosen trail, and you will be fitted with a suitable bike that matches your size and ability.

Shoes and Pedals

If you are renting a bike, then sneakers will be sufficient for the easier routes. For more rugged trails you would be advised to wear a light, waterproof hiking or biking shoe.

If you have your own biking shoes with cleats, then clip in pedals will be provided by the rental company.


Staying warm and dry is essential. The unpredictability of the New Zealand climate, especially in alpine environments, means you should always be prepared for bad weather. Wear synthetic shorts and top to start with plus thermal top and leggings, also synthetic or merino. A good, lightweight rain jacket is also essential as is a warm hat and decent biking gloves.


The key is not to have too much weight up top – a small backpack of 25-30 litres should be the maximum. If you are having your luggage transported for you then great! If you are carrying your own gear, try to reduce weight as much as possible. Certainly try to avoid camping unless you can have your tent transported.

Panniers are good if you’re touring on trails with an easy gradient such as the Otago Central Rail Trail. They don’t really cut it on tricky mountain trails however, so If you run out of space in your backpack, you can strap a couple of small waterproof bags to the main frame of your bike.

  • Communication device (Mobile, Satellite Phone, Radio, personal Locator Beacon)
  • First-aid Kit
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Torch or Headlamp
  • Bidons (Water Bottles)

A rental bike should also come with the following items. If you are not renting, then make sure you have these things too:

  • Helmet (mandatory in New Zealand)
  • Spare tubes
  • Patch kit and tire lever
  • Pump
  • Multi tool
  • Master chain link

Active Aotearoa Activities and Adventures

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