Cycling Trip March 2022 Otago Queenstown Part 2
Last year we did the Pisa Landing to Bannockburn part of the trail a week before the rest of the trail opened. So this year we are back to do the real thing – it seems about 500 other people have the same idea.
Bannockburn Bridge is our starting point – only 33.9 kms from here – less range anxiety with my Moustache ebike. The grade is 2-3 and the track is stunning – absolutely designed with bikes in mind. The switchbacks (or Ladder as it is called) are well designed and I make it around all the corners without needing to stop.
Two coffee stops along the way – one very early on at Carrick winery at the top of a steady climb. One hour further we find the now famous coffee cart on a boat, with a BBQ boat moored alongside offering venison burgers and bacon butties. Great place to fuel up before the big ladder climb up the hill. When we arrive there are about 100 cyclists there – but not too long to wait for my coffee and buttie.
It is after the ‘ladder’ that we meet the first of the the legendary ‘bridges’ hanging off the sheer cliffs out over the mighty Clutha River. They are amazing and add an extra zing to the ride, especially if you meet someone coming the other way.
The last bit of the ride is easier, but we are very ready for a cold beer at Olivers in Clyde – I loved their own brew of Summer Lager – just the thing after that bike ride. Driving the 30 minutes back along the Clutha River to Cromwell – we can see the trail across the river and feel a great sense of achievement.
I rate it the best cycle ride in NZ… Anyone disagree?
- Suggestion 1 – everyone seems to do the trail in the morning, if you want to skip the crowds, start after midday.
Suggestion 2 – If you have your own bikes, then drive to Clyde and leave a car – and book on one of the fantastic local tour operators to catch a shuttle back to your start – we used Shebikeshebikes If you want to hire a bike – or ebike – book ahead in Autumn the season really takes off.
- Suggestion 3 – if this is the first time you ride an ebike – start the ride at Pisa landing, and get the hang of the gears and speeds before you reach the Bannockburn Bridge. Otherwise you may find yourself pushing your bike up some pretty steep hills.
- Suggestion 4 – When a big hill looms put the bike in turbo and be prepared to drop down your gears quickly.
Easier cycle Clyde to Alexandra and return
This our recovery ride – Alexandra River Track is 12 kms one way – narrow in parts, but easy riding. Return via the Otago Rail Trail which is definately grade 1 easy wide path – more direct and 8kms long.