Favourite Canterbury Gravel Rides - Edition Zero Gravel Race

Favourite Canterbury Gravel Rides - Edition Zero Gravel Race

Edition Zero Gravel Race - Favourite Canterbury Gravel Rides:

With daylight savings here and the days slowly getting longer, It's time to put our trainers away and start building up the outdoor miles except for maybe Henry who is zwift racing like an absolute champ. Now is also a great time, if you haven’t done so already, to get your bike serviced for the upcoming summer of riding. We thought it would be a prime opportunity to share some of our favourite gravel loops around Canterbury that we have been doing.

Short Option: Bossu Road Loop 40km

This Short loop that has great bang for buck is a lap of Bossu and Reynold Valley roads starting from Little River. It is an absolute favourite with Richard, plus this ride is almost entirely gravel, can be done in either direction but it works in an anticlockwise direction as it ends on a downhill all the way back to Little River for a coffee and snack. Parking up at Little River, head off down the little river cycle trail when you get to Poranui road, turn left to Birdlings flat, take a walk across the causeway and start the long grind up Bossu road.

The climb will take 1-2 hours but it is well worth it for the views, on a fine day you can see all the way into the depths of the southern alps, and Aoraki/Mt Cook from Bossu Road. There are a few ups and downs, if you're feeling good keep on heading straight at the intersection of Kinloch road and head over the high point or you can take the shorter option and head back to Little River via Kinloch rd. You know once you reach the top and then it's all downhill to Little River making sure you take the left onto Reynolds Valley road on the way down. For those that want some extra credit you can turn the loop into a figure of 8 by heading straight here,and going down Jubilee Rd to Waniui take a right and pedal back the other side of Bossu road.

Medium Loop: Western Valley Road 75km

One of the more enjoyable and without a doubt, a tougher longer loop that has become a bit of a staff favourite, starting out at Motukarara and looping through Diamond harbour - Port Levy- and Little River. We recommend doing this way as the Little River side of western valley road is notoriously steep with gradients over 20%. There are a range of ways to add or subtract Km’s. If you are keen, you can ride from Christchurch where there are a variety of routes to get on to the loop which can add around 40 km to the ride: The bays, Summit road or the flats via Tai tapu. Or you can add additional hills on the Banks Peninsula to it.

Western Valley Road Canterbury

Parking up at the start of the rail trail at Motukarara This ride is roughly 75 kms and about half of it is gravel. From Motukarara Head towards Gebbies for a gentle warm up climb and cruise around the bays to Diamond harbour. From here things get interesting with a constant 10% climb up to Port Levy saddle. From the top enjoy the views before a rapid descent to Port Levy and taking a hard Right turn at the bottom on to Western valley Rd. Here the gravel begins with a long gradual climb up to the rides high point of 670 metres, once over the top it's another rapid descent to Little River and an always worthwhile stop at the local cafe for a coffee and a bite to eat, then it's just a flat cruise along the rail trail back to Motukarara.

Longer Loop: Okuku Pass- Lees Valley - Ashley Gorge Loop 135km

This is a loop that can be done in either Direction and makes for a grand day out with a little bit of everything. It is not recommended to be done after heavy rain as it requires fording the Okutu River. A GPS and or map reading skills are highly recommended as it ventures as it does venture into rather remote roads. Rangiora makes a great starting point, or for a slightly, 15km, shorter option start at Oxford or the km hungry rider add an extra 60km from starting out from Christchurch.

From Rangiora head north to Longburn and White rock. Turn on to Quarry road where the road turns to gravel and stays that way for the next 85 Km. Head on up Okuku Pass road and follow your nose all the way through to Lees Valley and the Ashely Gorge. When the road turns back to seal, swing left and follow the inland scenic route back to Rangiora. If you like, additional gravel can be added by picking your way back through the roads towards Summerhill and Cust.

It is highly recommended to take a Satellite communicator, such as the Garmin InReach or PLB for this ride as significant parts of it have poor cell phone cover.

Looking for even longer loop options? Try riding the 6000m vert and 240km option of riding all the major bays on the Banks Peninsula or looping around the Lake Lyndon road and Porters Pass The range of options are endless; it just depends on your penchant for suffering.

If none of these rides appeal, and you are looking for an easier option or maybe you really just want a sufferfest, there are a range of route planners out there that make planning a day's riding and training easy, and you can upload your routes up to your Garmin or other route enable device - to help mitigate the likelihood of getting lost and riding around in circles. Some of our preferred options are the Komoot, Garmin Connect course planner, Or If you are a premium Strava user the Strava Route Planner. Once planned these can be uploaded to your Garmin or other GPS computer as a .TCX that will give you turn by turn Directions.

Lees Valley Canterbury

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