blog post vol 3 thunderbirds we are go

Only 3 months to go!!! The season is just around the corner and we are pumped! It’s shaping up to be a big one… Planning for a cycle tour season feels a bit like getting ready to go to war. We plan where every bike, vehicle, trailer, tour guide and customer is going to be at any given time, on every day of the season. It’s a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle where you don’t have all the pieces. Once the season starts, please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and hold on to your hats! Because there’s no getting off the crazy train until May! It’s equally fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

time to get ready

The winter months are flying by. I hope you’re managing to get out for a few rides. A little bit of training goes a long way to help you enjoy your upcoming adventure. It doesn’t matter where you go, what matters is getting some hours in the saddle. Your legs (and bottom) will thank you for it later!

blog post vol 3 thunderbirds we are go

It’s also worth thinking about gear. Having good gear and suitable clothing makes a massive difference to your trip. Is it time to replace those stripey polypro long johns you bought back in the 80’s? Definitely not! They’re a NZ fashion icon. But it’s always good idea to re-waterproof your jacket – I do it every year. I love watching the water bead on the surface, for a day or 2 anyway. If you’re coming in November or April, you might want to bring a second pair of full-fingered gloves to keep your little digits warm and a thin balaclava to go under your helmet. But you must be able to use the brakes and change gears! There’s a recommended gear list included with your itinerary – let me know if you have any questions.

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Tours blog post vol 3 thunderbirds we are go
blog post vol 3 thunderbirds we are go

West Coast Wilderness

This month’s spotlight is on our West Coast Wilderness tour. Perched between the Southern Alps and the Tasman sea, the West Coast is known for it’s rugged coastline, native bush and crazy characters! 

We have 2 great options to experience the WCW – the Pony Express (4 days) and the Coaster Classic (5 days). Both start from Christchurch with the spectacular TranzAlpine train through the mountains, then cycle the length of the West Coast Wilderness trail from Greymouth to Ross over 3 days. We include a visit to the stunning Hokitika Gorge (photo below), stroll through the forest canopy at the West Coast Treetops Walkway and if the weather’s nice, have a BBQ near Ross beach. On Day 4 the Pony Express returns to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine, while the Coaster Classic continues south past the glaciers to the remote outpost of Haast. On Day 5, we take a jet boat safari up the Haast River, then cycle some stunning trails around Wanaka before finishing the tour in Queenstown Saturday night. The Pony Express (4 days, 3 nights) is $2,195 per person and WCW Coaster Classic (5 days, 4 nights) is $2,495 per person (twin share, inc GST). 

However, if you are looking for a longer adventure we can link up the Coaster Classic with the Around the Mountains Clutha Canyon Combo and/or Alps 2 Ocean to make a 10 day, 12 day or even 19 day adventure! There is no better way to experience the most beautiful and remote parts of the South Island. We’ve got 25 people booked on these epic multi-week adventures, but if you’re quick there are still a few spots remaining


Amy our Supplier Manager and is in charge of booking all the accommodation, restaurants, jet boats, wine tastings, helicopters, hot tubs and train tickets. No small job when you’re booking close to 40 tours! I’ve been driving Amy nuts lately with last minute changes to our tour schedule trying to fit everybody on tours. Our suppliers are getting used to Amy calling on a daily basis to say “We need more rooms!”

And we have a new member of the team! Jada joins us as our new Operations Manager, in charge of getting all the staff, vehicles, bikes, trailers and equipment locked and loaded before every tour. Jada has years of experience in the cycle tour industry in NZ and Canada. She’s a ninja with a spreadsheet and will hunt you down if you don’t complete your questionnaire on time!!


Construction is starting shortly on the Sailors Cutting to Benmore Dam section of the Alps 2 Ocean! This 16km section of new trail will mean the entire A2O is completely off the state highway! They are hoping to complete construction before Christmas. That’s a fantastic development and a milestone for the trail – 10 years in the making.

If you haven’t booked a tour with us yet, it’s time to get your skates on! We’ve been swamped with bookings lately and many of our trips are now sold out. There are still a few dates left but we’re filling up fast. If you’re struggling to find dates that suit you, please drop us an email and we’ll see what we can do. We’re always happy to help you plan your next South Island adventure.

All the best
Ian Schnauer

Managing Director
Escape by Cycle

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