Content and Photos by Courtney Shinn

An epic adventure starting at Lake Tekapo, riding a loaded bike all day long and into the night. A mental challenge as much as a physical one, dealing with the ups and downs both mentally and the physical forms that were the mountains of the South Island. Planning and calculating resupply points, navigating, and trying to get as far down the road as possible as quickly as you can, while still appreciating the amazing scenery, were all part of the challenges at The Great Southern Brevet.

This ride has it all. It traverses through the majestic South island, passing snow-capped mountains and aqua colored lakes and rivers, then up and over rolling green hills reminding me of Scotland. Riders headed south, through some beautiful towns such as Arrowtown, Queenstown and Roxburgh. We climbed up over massive mountain passes, walking our bikes one minute in the heat, and the next minute in cold and blustery conditions. Café owners and workers in general stores were unsure of the 75 or so riders who would trickle in over the days looking tired, dirty and no doubt in need of a shower. On we went through the rocky terrain over more mountains passes. Some riders stayed in hotels, some in bivvies or tents. Some riders stopped only for the mandatory 4 hours every 24, others stopped and enjoyed the views, lattes and delicious food.

Great Southern Brevet

Dave the organizer would randomly pop up beside you in his van, offering some advice or words of encouragement about what was to come. Locals also must have been following the ride on Trackleaders as we were greeted by name when walking in to some cafés! A fantastic effort by all who completed the course. The person finishing first completed the challenge in 4 days, whilst others took the allocated 8 days. No doubt each and every rider has their own unique story. This epic ride was the toughest adventure I’ve had, but also the most rewarding and fun. The people I met along the way as we rode our bikes 1160km around the island, their generosity, good nature and a fantastic sense of camaraderie made the trip what it was- epically amazing! See you in 2016 GSB!! Great Southern Brevet

For a full report on Courtney’s adventure, check out her blog here:


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