19 Jul

Cycling in Remote Places

It’s awesome to be in a forest or mountain pass, well away from the city, riding under your own steam on your bike but there are a few things you have to cover off to keep yourself and others safe.

Mobile phones are certainly handy in a city but far less so in remote places. The signal is patchy – if there at all – and if you were relying on it as your main lifeline then that’s probably a poor strategy. The phone might give you a false sense of security so let’s discuss some of the simple and practical things you can do to keep yourself safe. NZ Mobile coverage map here.

The Weather
For a Kiwi it goes without saying that you should check the weather 24 hours before you plan to leave and as you leave. If you’re not from New Zealand this might not occur to you but in NZ the weather changes often in the day, and you don’t wanna be caught out in heavy rain or a cold change.

Old School but Effective
Getting yourself a survival whistle is a great idea. They are very cheap, compact and make a very loud noise to attract people searching for you. Make sure you carry it on you and not in your gear. Carry a lighter and a knife is also a good idea too.

Carrying plenty of water is important, especially in summer. You can survive a long time without food but not without water.

Where am I/Come Get me
There are many GPS, personal locator beacons (PBL) and Spot trackers available to walkers and bikers. They generally require a subscription and can be heavy to carry. But if you’re on your own and planning to be in remote places, the extra weight might be a really worth it.

Free location services
Another simple and cheap solution to help people locate you is to turn on your location services on Google maps and share it with some close contacts. You might share it with other Google users in your family. Each time you use the map you’ll be located to your shared contacts. See Google’s page on location sharing here.

Carrying a bivy bag or an emergency blanket is a great idea too. They are generally very lightweight and compact and can provide instant shelter if the weather closes in or keep an injured person warm while help arrives.

Be seen from above
Having a LED light that can flash and attract attention, especially from the air could speed up a rescue time. Likewise being able to spread out a high viz vest on the ground so your location is easily seen from the air is a great idea.

Official NZ Trail Sign

Read the Signs
On a bike you can easily miss a sign or not stop to read it. Keep you chin up look for path markers and way point. Most cycle trails in NZ a well marked, the the signs are small and can be obscured by vegetation, so it pays to be attentive.

LKP – last known position
Before you head off down that unfamiliar trial, text a couple of family members your LPK. This will be important if you hurt yourself and you’re unable to return under your own steam. Also, let them know when you are planning to be back and text a second time when you’re out.

Remember, if someone has to come and rescue you they could also be put in the same danger you experienced. So taking some basic precautions as above may keep everyone safe.

If you do get lost, stay put!

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