New Zealand: Nelson and warm showers | Cycle Systems


New Zealand: Nelson and warm showers

New Zealand Nelson

Continuing with our New Zealand adventure...

By the time we crossed the Cook Strait over into the South Island and drove the spectacular Queen Charlotte way, with it’s sweeping vistas over the Marlborough Sounds, we were already bouncing back and ready for some cycling again.

Lucky for us that we were hosted by Andy Pettit – Nelson native and Cycle Systems Academy podcast fan. Andy is a cycling aficionado with a garage full of bicycles – plus luckily for us he is also a member of the cycle tourist community site warm showers.

Andy's Garage 

This amazing facility advertises places that cyclists can stop off for the night on their travels. And is such a welcome break from the grind of camping. Our tent needed to recover from the storms as much as we did.

It was really amazing to meet someone from basically the other end of the earth who loved to listen to Sean and John sound off about all things cycle tech related on our Cycle Systems Academy podcast. And that’s pretty much how our conversation went for the night. The beers were got in. A supper was consumed. Oak and Julia went to sleep and Andy and Sean talked all things bike for several hours. Well. Bikes and music. And politics. And literature. Cyclists are a cultured bunch after all.

Andy Pettit's Daily Training Ride 

The morning saw Andy treat Sean to his local training ride. Julia and Oak went to try a different kind of wheels at the local Nelson skate park. And Sean was subject once again to a steep trail with breath-taking views at the top. By now Sean had decided that his CX Kona just really wasn’t cutting it on the hard trails – he suffered two pinch flats on this journey alone.

Sean in Nelson

Nelson sits at the top of the South Island and is known for its warm climate and laid back vibe. Oh. And its wind. By now we were kind of getting used to the wind.

Oak in Nelson

It is for many a stopover on the way to the world famous Abel Tasman National park – a stunning coastline full of walking tracks that can be best arrived at by boat. Think turquoise seas and empty golden beaches. Miles of forest and concentrated patches of tourists at the familiar resorts.

But really this is also mountain biking heaven. There’s plenty of off-road trails and some decent mountain bike parks to boot. We moved from Andy’s house to a gorgeous campsite just outside of Nelson city itself. The campsite rested right at the foot of the Dun Mountain Trail – a spectacular route that navigates its way through the dramatic green hills of this part of the world. Plenty of tough, long climbs. Some epic descents – although again Sean was slightly rattling with his 35mm tyres and no suspension. He found himself wishing he had a nice lightweight trail or race bike 29er – lamenting that he couldn’t just set off for a month around here to explore those trails in great detail.

Abel Tasman

Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park in the Abel Tasman National Park is another gem worth a mention. A big park with loads of graded runs.

Though funnily enough, when we did have to call an ambulance (trampoline incident of child landing on his head, not bike related), the ambulance men warned us how many casualties they pick up off that MTB park every year.

“Do you mountain bike?” we asked them.

“You’ve got to be kidding.” Came the reply.  We discovered that this was a man who had moved here after serving in the emergency services in Christchurch during the quake, and came to Abel Tasman in search of a quiet life and a fishing boat.

“Mountain biking is far too dangerous” he continued. “You should see the state of some of the dads we pick up off the floor in that place.”

I don’t know why that made us chuckle. But it made us all chuckle a lot.


To follow our cycling adventures in New Zealand click here to sign-up to the newsletter