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Frequently asked questions

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New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific. Our nearest neighbours being Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia. It's area is slightly less than that of the UK with a total population approaching 4.5 million.

The official language is English however we have managed to deform the Queen's version to a point that some translation may be required (just kidding!). A guide book with some of the local colloquialisms may be a good investment!

Agriculture and Tourism are NZ's biggest industries and as such it is important NOT to bring in any foodstuffs (including fruit) and animal products. Failure to declare such items at customs may lead to an instant NZ$300 fine. Customs aside, the people are hospitable and always prepared to spend a moment to help a "lost" tourist.

The major sports are rugby union, rugby league, cricket and netball. This sport mad country has been known to declare a day of mourning in the event of elimination from a rugby world cup.

Below we answer all the most common questions that you might ask before choosing a French Cycling Holidays tour. If you have any further questions then please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

  1. How fit do I need to be?
  2. How do I get there?
  3. Can I use my own bike?
  4. What should I wear?
  5. Pedals
  6. How many people on each tour?
  7. What weather are we likely to encounter?
  8. Are there any age limits?
  9. Do I need Travel Insurance?
  10. What financial protection is in place for my booking?

How fit do I need to be?

Obviously the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the ride. For those that ride frequently we recommend that you bring your own saddles and pedals. Familiarity = comfort! 2 or 3 rides of up to 50km per ride each week for the preceeding 4 weeks leading up to your tour would be ideal preparation.

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How do I get there?

Pick up is at Christchurch Airport or at a Christchurch accommodation (if you happen to have arrived early for your tour). From Europe, Singapore Airlines offers the most direct route from the major European capitals to Christchurch via Singapore. It's a long way so expect to be jet lagged for a few days. From the USA, a number of carriers operate flights to Auckland and Christchurch. We recommend Air New Zealand. From Australia there are a number of options including Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand.

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What kind of pedals do you use?

Pedals are obviously fairly important on a cycling tour! We stock the following kinds:

Flat – i.e. no special cleats or grips, these pedals can be used with any kind of footwear. If you do not regularly use special pedals or cycling shoes, we recommend standard trainers/sneakers to wear while riding.

SPD/flat style pedals

SPD/flat style pedals.

SPD/flat – we also have pedals with one side flat and one side an SPD cleat. This is the standard Shimano SPD compatible system; two bolts and the small cleat pictured on the shoe with the yellow sole. These cleats are ideal for cycling tours as the cleat is usually recessed into the bottom of the shoe. The pedals are visible to the right of the picture.

Flats with cages – we have a small number of flat pedals with cages & straps – again if you are not used to this, we wouldn’t recommend starting a tour with them!

Other – we do NOT stock any other pedal systems. If you use any other kind of pedal, you are very welcome to bring your own and our guides can fit them to your bike for the week. However, we would advise against racing-style pedals such as the Look Keo, Shimano SPD-SL or similar, as these tend to have a large, protruding cleat on the sole of the shoe which makes walking around visits or lunch stops (or even nipping into a public toilet!) quite uncomfortable and dangerous. Sports tours are a little different as there are much longer days and less off-the-bike walking – a choice is ultimately up to you though!

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Can I use my own bike?

We are happy for anyone to bring their own bikes. However, the airlines charge extra each way and packing and carriage can be a hassle. Our bikes are of a high standard, and our customers usually express pleasant surprise at the quality of the machines, so it might be a better option to bring your saddle and/or pedals which we will be very happy to fit. In any case there will always be a backup bike should you have a mechanical problem. Please feel free to call us for advice on bike transportation.

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What should I wear?

The main thing that people who are not regular distance cyclists worry about is a sore behind. This is not as is popularly thought due to too-hard saddles, but friction between skin and garments. This is why professional cyclists wear skin-tight lycra shorts with padded inserts. Many people feel a bit self-conscious in this sort of gear and your local cycle shop will have a range of padded undershorts which can be worn under normal clothing, or regularly styled shorts with sewn-in padded liners. Otherwise, lightweight comfortable clothing (tee-shirts, shorts, trainers) is ideal, with something warmer like a fleece just in case. As we will be dining well, you might like to take something presentable (but not formal — no-one on a French Cycling Holiday stands on ceremony!) for the evening meal.

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How many people on each tour?

Tours are restricted to a maximum of 8 people and a tour will run with a minimum of 2 persons.

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What weather are we likely to encounter?

Given it's southern location, in New Zealand you can experience 30°C one day and the next 13°C so it is very important to bring warm clothing. A light coating of snow "on the tops" can occur at any time of year after a southerly change. It would be unlucky to experience more than 1 day of wet weather on this tour.

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Are there any age limits?

The tour is suitable for fit adolescents right through to seniors of any age. Good health and fitness are very important to fully enjoy your tour but the option of getting a lift in the support vehicle will always be available.

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Do I need travel insurance?

We require all participants to have travel insurance with full medical cover. It is part of the conditions of our tours that participant should provide evidence of suitable cover. If you have any questions about the cover required please contact us for advice.

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What financial protection is in place for my booking?

In accordance with "The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992" all passengers booking with French Cycling Holidays Limited are fully Insured for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of French Cycling Holidays Limited.

A certificate detailing this cover will be given to each and every passenger as evidence of cover. Please ensure that you have been given the appropriate certificate(s) at the time of booking.

This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through AmTrust Europe Limited.

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