After a friend of mine shared a few of his favourite courses on Banks Peninsula with me, I was already planning it out for my next day off.
There is something really special about riding on the Peninsula, it offers picturesque views at every turn, traffic-free roads and a feeling that you're really out there away from it all.
The Little River Wainui Loop is approximately 90km from the start of the Rail Trail at Motukarara, or 110km from Little River like my ride and about 125km from Christchurch depending on what part of the City you live in.
You'll need a good level of fitness for the ride, with 6 plus hours in the saddle and nearly 2000m of climbing. It's all worth it, trust me. You could also very easily split this into a 2-day ride, camping out at Wainui Camping Ground overnight.
Gear wise I didn't take a lot myself, just making sure I had sufficient water storage and food for the day. I used Little River as a stop on the way back to replenish my water and grab a coke for the ride home, as my legs were starting to feel it.
The ride is 75% gravel, my tyre selection wasn't great and in need of more grip. A fast-rolling cross country tyre is certainly recommended, like the Maxxis Ikon or Vittoria Mezcal.
There are plenty of opportunities to take a break or a picnic lunch once you've descended into Wainui.
Once you're at Motukarara or starting from, it's a gentle 23km ride along the Rail Trail taking in the views of Lake Ellesmere and Forsyth through to Little River.
Turning inland just before Little River, making your way up Reynolds Valley Road, the first climb totalling approximately 10km and 600 vertical meters.
Then it's all down, heading down Jubilee Road into Wainui you'll descend 510m in just 3.7km. It's steep, take your time.
The first thing that hits you arriving in Wainui is the scenery, picturesque views of the bay and Akaroa. This is about halfway, and the perfect spot for a rest or some food to replenish yourself.
Once you've caught your breath again you'll start the second part of the climb, up Bossu Road, some 800m of climbing over 17km. This is particularly steep for the first 5km, so make sure you find your granny gear. There are some spectacular views to take in, you certainly get the feeling that your in the middle of nowhere on this section of the track.
Arriving back at the Jubilee, Reynolds Valley Road intersection you'll make you way back home following the same route, don't forget to stop in at Little River to properly recharge the batteries.
I've attached the Garmin route below, if you've got a GPS device you can download the GPX files into it to help with the navigation.
We'd love to hear about your favourite day rides too, comment below.