Sunday, May 26, 2013

Auckland's Best Group Rides

Sunday Albany Bunch: The best group ride, by a country mile, is the Sunday 7am Albany bunch. Its an 80km ride that draws the strongest cyclists from all over greater Auckland, including pro-conti and conti riders. Typically, about 50 people show up. After a warm-up on the old highway that runs north to Silverdale, the hammer goes down on the flat country roads that travel west. Flats turn to undulating rollers on the run into Helensville, before a really tough 5km step-climb that blows the group apart every time.

We then have a 20 minute ride to Kumeu. Its a long slow descent, broken up by more undulations, and some of NZ's roughest chip roads (highway 16). Usually, we stop at a Chinese Bakery in Kumeu for a few minutes. Then comes the ride back to Albany on Ridge Road. Its a quiet country road featuring 15km of undulation, false flats, and several short, steep power-climbs. The Sunday 7am Albany bunch is guaranteed to give you the best training conditions, regardless of whether you are in base, strength, or peak phases. 

Rangitoto Rockets Saturdays 6.45am: meet by the entrance to Rangitoto College. The crowd is a little older but they're strong. The 70km route is hard: out-and-back on Ridge Road, Sunnyside Road climb, and Wright Road climb. I've done some of my best Strava segment times while riding with the Rockets; they know how to put it down. Again, a great training ride no matter what time of the season.

Kiwivelo Wednesday 6am: a great mid-week ride for those living on the Shore. We start with two laps of Lake Pupuke (the second lap really heats up), down to Narrow Neck, a fast climb up North Head, through Devonport, and a lap of the Naval Base. The final 5km is a smack-down through Bayswater. We cover the 35km route in one hour. A great start to the day. 

Bike Lab Saturday Airport Loop: This is a easy 7.15am coffee ride run by Justin Shore of Bike Lab. Definitely a good ride for those living in the city. Its the reverse route of the traditional airport loop. 

Mechanics Bay Airport Worlds: Meet at Mechanics Bay at 8am on Saturdays for a 70km loop around the airport (same route as Bike Lab but in reverse). This is probably my least favorite ride: lots of traffic and traffic lights, time-consuming if you live on the Shore, and the pace only heats up for the 20 minutes it takes to ride through the airport to Mangere Bridge. But if you live in the city and you need some action, this ride is one of your few options.


  1. I think the albany 7am bunch ride is group riding at its best. Also agree that the rockets on saturday morning is good hiil work.

  2. I would love to try the 7am Albany Sunday ride. Where exactly does it start from

    1. From the top of Albany hill (on the old highway).