Here you'll find all sorts of information designed for the beginner cyclist. If you have any queries, require more information or have extra info you think might be suitable for this page, feel free to contact us via email.
CNZ Rules & Gearing Restrictions for Junior Riders
Junior Rider Under 19
A under 19 rider must be under the age of 19 years on 31st December (in the year in which the licence is issued).
A maximum gearing of 7.93 meter rollout (this restriction only applies when riding in under 19 events)
Junior Under 17
A under 17 rider must be under the age of 17 years on 31st December (in the year in which the licence is
A maximum gearing of 7 meter rollout applies.
Wheels must have a minimum of 16 spokes and must not be made of composite materials.
Junior Under 15
A under 15 rider must be under the age of 15 years on 31st December (in the year in which the licence is issued).
A maximum gearing of 6.61 meter rollout applies. Wheels must have a minimum of 16 spokes and must not be made of composite materials.
Cycling New Zealand Rules state "that the must have a minimum of 16 spokes and must not be made of composite materials"
Both Mavic and Ksyrium ES and SL wheels have carbon fibre front hubs and therefore because these wheels have some composite materials, they cannot be accepted in U15 and U17 Cycling NZ events.
Types Of Events
Generally going from point A to point B or can include multiple laps.
Classic Road Race
A road race with special significance, often due to its history or distance.
For example the Gore to Waikiwi Classic.
Handicap Road Race
This is a race in which rides are placed in ability groups and set of at various intervals based on the distance of the race. the first riders away are known as the "Limit" while the last group away are known as the "Scratch" bunch. The second last bunch away is called the "break".
Graded Road Race
Riders are placed in an appropriate group of riders to race against that are of similar ability. Division 1 or A Grade are the top group, followed by Division 2 or B Grade and so forth. Div 1 - Div 2.
Criterium or Crit
This is a type of bike race held on a short course (usually less then 5km) often run on closed-off city centre streets. the length of the race can be determined by the number of laps or a total time, in which case the number of remaining laps is calculated as the race progresses. the final lap is often indicated by a bell.
Individual Time Trial
Race where riders are set off at fixed intervals and complete the course against the clock: Fastest time wins.
One part of a multi-day race, such as the Tour de France or Tour of Southland.
A race then comprises of a number of stages, for example of Tamahine Tour.
What To Wear While Cycling?
Not everyone wants to wear lycra cycle shorts but they do have their place in cycling. Cycling shorts are practical and functional as they have chamois (padded bit) in the crotch which prevents saddle sores, chaffing and allows you to ride comfortably for longer periods of time. Cycling shorts should be tight fitting to ensure comfort and not loose around the crotch as the chamois may rub.
Do not wear your underwear under your cycling shorts as this will cause irritation and harbour bacteria. Its important for hygiene reasons that you wear a clean pair of cycling shorts each time. Warm moist areas are ideal places for bacteria and fungus to grow.
Cycling jerseys are designed for convenience and protection. Most jerseys for road riding will have pockets in the back which will allow you to carry food, spare tube, money etc. The protection factor relates to the design of the jersey, which is long at the back preventing the lower back getting chilled when you are bent over the handlebars.
Jersey should be snug fitting as this will reduce wind drag and stop your top from flapping around. Choose a riding jersey that is bright in colour so you are visible to motorists and pedestrians.
When you first start cycling you may start out without cycling shoes or may have toe straps, which is fine for a beginner, but once you start to ride more it is recommended that you purchase cycling shoes. They help transmit power from your legs to the pedals, which is a more efficient use of your energy and allows you to ride more effectively for longer periods of time.
It is recommended when buying cycling shoes you look for shoes that will be a good firm fit as you will be spending many hours in them. You also need to be aware of the compatibility of your shoes with your pedal system. Your local bike shop should be able to help you select the appropriate shoes for your bike.
Cycling gloves or mitts are specifically designed to provide protection from in case of a fall and help absorb some of the jarring that is transferred through the handlebars. Cycling gloves have half or full fingers and have padding on the palms.
Wearing your helmet while cycling is a legal requirement in New Zealand and it is important for protecting your head. There are many brands and models of helmet which vary in price. It is important that you purchase a helmet that has a New Zealand safety approved sticker in the inside, please don't remove this sticker as it allows commissaries (officials) to easily recognise your helmet as a safe one.
In some road and track events you may be able to use aero helmets, these helmets are aerodynamic, check when entering an event whether you can use an aero helmet (they will still need to be up to the safety standards)
Tights / Leg Warmers
It is important to keep the leg muscles warm while warming up and out cycling in the cold. Tights are worn over you cycling shorts and are normally lycra or woollen. Leg warmers only go from under each leg of the shorts to the ankles, can easily be removed and put in your pockets.
Are used for cold days or mornings and the training jacket should have a high neck, have a wind cheater front (either nylon or thermal type material) have breathable panels down the sides or be made of synthetic martial that breathes.
1 - Cycle helmets must be worn, meet an approved standard and be securely fastened.
2 - Cycles must have brakes and reflectors.
3 - Cycle lights must be on when it's dim or dark.
1 - You should wash all your cycle clothing after each ride, make sure your drink bottle is kept clean and avoid sharing it with others.
2 - We all enjoy cycling on nice days but remember that the sun can do damage to your eyes and skin so wear sunglasses and sun block.
3 - Glasses are very useful for keeping the bugs and wind out of your eyes.
4 - Remember while you are cycling you want to be as visible as possible.
This will help motorists and pedestrians see you. We suggest you wear bright coloured clothing whenever you ride.
Riding in a bunch can be the most enjoyable experience if done correctly. The advantage of riding as a bunch or peleton (French word for organised group of riders) is that as an organised group you can ride further and faster than individual riders or a non-organised group.
You will expend 30% less energy riding sheltered in a bunch as riders in front of you overcome the wind resistance. By taking turns in the front, all riders can share the effort and longer distances can be covered.
However bunch riding can also be a huge pain especially in people in the group don't understand the rules or don't do their share of work at the front. Everybody needs to know these rules for the safety of all riders.
Below explains what to do while riding in a large bunch or Peleton, however from time to time you may be riding in a smaller group which will require you to take your turn leading the group by yourself, not with a partner as described below, however the same rules apply.
Be predictable with all actions
Avoid braking and sudden changes of direction and always try to maintain a steady straight line. Remember there are riders following closely behind. To slow down, gradually move out into the wind and slot back into position in the bunch when you have less speed. By putting your hands on the hoods or your brakes you can "sit up" and this will allow your body to slow you down by utilising the wind resistance.
Ride safely and try to stay off the brakes. If you are inexperienced or a little nervous about riding too close to the wheel in front of you, stay at the back of the group, gain confidence and practice your bunch riding skills.
When the pace eases, don't brake suddenly, instead ride out to the side of the wheel in front then ease back into position again on the wheel. Practice on the back and soon you will be able to move up in line with a partner.
Rolling through - swapping off - taking a turn
The most common way to take a turn in the front o the group is for each pair to stay together until they get to the front. After having a turn at the front (generally about the same amount of time everyone else is taking) the pair separates and moves off to each side (left and right or the right side if you are riding at the font alone), allowing the riders behind to come through to the front. To get to the back of the peleton, stop pedalling for a while or ease off to slow down, keep an eye out for the end of the bunch and fall back into line there. Its safer for everyone if you get to the back as soon as possible.
Be smooth with turns in the front of the group When you finally make it to the front, don't "half wheel". This means keeping half a wheel in front of your partner. This automatically makes your partner speed up slightly to pull back along side you. Often half wheelers will also speed up, so the pace of the bunch invariably speeds up as riders behind try to catch up.
Choosing when to come off the front
You and your partner need to do some planning when you get to the front so when you roll through you come off at a place where the road is wide enough for the group to be four wide for a short time. With some planning, its often possible to come off the front a few hundred meters earlier or later to avoid a dangerous situation and and unnecessarily upsetting motorists.
Always retire to the back of the bunch
If riders push in somewhere in the middle of the bunch rather than retiring to the back after taking a turn, cyclist at the back will not be able to move forward and take a turn of their own. Remember that riding in a bunch is all about riders sharing the workload and accidents happen at the back of the bunch as well.
Pedal downhill at the front of the bunch as cyclists behind you will want to ride with their brakes on consistently.
Point out the obstacles
Point out obstacles such as parked cars, broken glass, holes, rocks or other debris on the road, calling out "hole" etc as well as pointing is helpful as well in case someone is not looking at your hand when you point. Its just as important to pass the message ion, not just letting those close to the front know.
Hold your wheel
An appropriate gap between your front wheel and the person in front is about 50cm. Keep your hands close to the brakes in case of sudden slowing.
Sometimes people who are not used to riding in a bunch will feel to nervous at this close range - riding on the right side is generally less nerve racking for such people as they feel less hemmed in. Watch "through" the wheel in front of you to one or two riders ahead will help you hold a smooth, straight line.
Don't overlap wheels
A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause you to touch wheels with the rider in front and fall.
Do not panic if you brush shoulders, hands or bars with another rider Try to stay relaxed through your upper body as this helps absorb any bumps. Brushing shoulders, hands or bars with another rider often happens in bunches and is quite safe provided riders do not panic, brake or change direction.
Many riders, even the experienced ones, freewheel momentarily as they first get out of the saddle to go over a rise or a hill. When doing this the bike is forced backwards also and many riders often loose their momentum when riding out of the saddle on a hill and this causes a sudden deceleration. Following the wheel in front too closely when climbing may result in you falling.
Do not become obsessed with the rear wheel directly in front of you. Try to focus four or five riders up the line so that any "problem" will not suddenly affect you. Scan the road ahead for potential problems, red lights etc, and be ready.
Obey the road rules
Especially at traffic lights - if you are on the front and the lights turn orange, they will definitely be red by the time the back of the bunch goes through the intersection. You will endanger the lives of others if you run it.
Lead in front
Remember when you are on the front, you are not only responsible for yourself but everyone in the group. When you are leading the bunch, try to monitor potential problems and give plenty of warning of potential stops or changes of pace. Make sure you know where you are going.
Don't use aero bars in a bunch ride
Never use your aero bars in a bunch ride - not even if you are in the front.
Using aero bars means that your hands are away from the brakes. Aero bars are for time trial use only.
A-Z Cycling Terminology
An aggressive "jump" to get away from another rider of the bunch.
When a rider tries to get in the way of other riders, usually done as part of a team strategy to slow down the main field when other team members are ahead in a breakaway.
Break or Breakaway
A single or group of riders who have cycled away from the main bunch
Bridge the gap
When a rider or group of riders is attempting to reach a group further ahead.
French word for the main pack or group of riders
Number of pedal revolutions per minute
French word for cyclist drink bottle
Riding closely behind another rider or group, which creates a slipstream or air pocket. Riders take turns at leading as the lead rider expends up to 30% more energy then the following rider(s) does.
A mechanism that moves the chain from one gear to another
Describes rider(s) that have been left behind by a group they were riding with
A line of riders taking orderly turns at the lead and staggered so that each rider will get maximum protection from the wind. Also called a "pace line"
At some point during a long road race it is necessary for riders to replace expended energy. Riders are given a "musette", a small cloth bag, containing food and water bottles. riders grab a bag form the team support personnel, remove the contents and put them in the pockets of their jerseys to eat when most convenient
The final sprint between a group of riders, not necessarily for first place
Force the pace
Where one rider goes harder than the pack to increase the tempo
The distance between individuals or groups
Race tactic where the leading rider accelerates to maximum speed with a team mate following close behind. The team mate accelerates out of the draft and accelerates out of the draft and sprints past the finish line
Sharing the effort in a pace line
Pronounced "Swa-neur" Comparable to a trainer in other sports, this person gives massages and watches the physical health of the riders along with the team doctor
The final burst of speed to the finish line
When the rider is at the front of a pace line they are "taken a turn"
An oval banked track, usually 250m in length, in general track riders and road riders compete in separate kinds of events. The difference in training and ability is similar to the difference between sprinters and long-distance runners
Occupying position other than the lead spot in a pace line