Back in February Helen and 200 other keen bikers left Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand to ride a 3000km journey finishing at Bluff, the very southern tip of the South Island for the inaugural Tour Aotearoa.
The idea sounded pretty appealing; ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff via a mix of fantastic cycle trails, stunning back-country roads and urban commuter routes. On paper it’s an idyllic New Zealand adventure on many a bike-packers bucket list.
The rules are simple; you must take between 10 and 30 days to finish and outside support is not allowed. That's an average of 100km per day for 30 consecutive days, and no friends in campervans to hand out fresh coffee and home-baked goods along the way. Sounding a little tougher? You bet.
Working out her kit and bike set up was key, and travelling light meant finding the right top to wear. Helen's list was clear; it had to be merino, comfortable and still look great after 30-odd days in the saddle. So we were pretty excited, and more than happy to help, when Helen suggested taking a Nancy top for a very long test run!
The feedback we got from Helen was awesome. It kept her cool in the far North’s beating sun, warm when battling the winds of Tasman Bay and snug under wet weather gear in the driving West Coast rain. Best of all, she looked and felt great every day from breakfast to dinner. So much so that she was even tempted to ride home.
Helen's Tour Aotearoa took 22 days and she averaged 136km a day on her trusty Salsa Fargo. One amazing journey and a lifetime of memories!
See more of Helen’s tour