ONLINE SHOP NOW OPEN right arrow 2

Tackling the tour
Blog / Tackling the tour

What does it take to tackle the tour?


16174572 10154715569360590 349080145168111044 n

It’s big, and it just keeps getting bigger. The Tour de Coffee Culture is one of the biggest events on our annual calendar and boy do we get excited when it rolls around. It’s been great to see a record number of bums on saddles this year travelling in, out and around our stores. 

FullSizeRenderWhat started small seven years ago, with only just a handful of riders completing the Pro Elite Challenge, has just got bigger and better. This year we’ve had over 200 riders (so far) put their bodies on the line to complete what is becoming an iconic Coffee Culture event, the Tour de Coffee Pro Elite challenge.

Now, the Pro Elite challenge is not for the faint hearted, and we’re not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s tough. It takes commitment, it takes dedication and it takes a number of hours and hundreds of thousands of pedal strokes. We’ve had a few comments come in mentioning you must have to be a hardcore cyclist to complete it – so this year I went out to debunk that theory.

To give you some perspective - two weeks before I took on the Pro Elite challenge I hadn’t ridden my bike for over two years – I’m excluding the use of a spin bike as I’d hardly say spinning your legs along to music and disco lights prepares you for something like this.

I knew the day had come when I woke up to a weather forecast of midrange temps and light winds – it wasn’t going to get much better than this!  Light winds being the determining factor to jump out of bed and just go for it. So out I went on what was a 198km ride around the Canterbury Coffee Culture stores. And THAT hill... TWICE. But I didn’t look back. It was a very long, hard day but I did it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that had an overwhelmingly massive sense of relief when I finally saw that bull in the distance of store #15. Theory debunked - you don’t need to be a pro-cyclist to complete the tour.

So if you don’t need to be a cyclist to get involved what do you need? Lycra? Nope. A feather light weight bike? No way! A Strava account? Not at all. But you DO need these two things:

  • A bike. It’s a really good starting point. But if you don’t have one and you don’t know someone that can lend you one – you can always hire one!
  • The ability to ride a bike –currently can’t ride a bike? Then this might be a good incentive to learn.

That’s it. If you’ve got a bike and you can ride it, you can tackle the tour – whether it be the Pro Elite, Tough Nut or one of our short stage challenges, if you have a bike and can ride it, you’ve got what it takes. 


Don't make my mistakes! 

Regardless of the level you are aiming to complete, here’s a few helpful hints and advice to avoid making my rookie rider mistakes! 

  • Do it together! There’s just something about sharing the pain and suffering with a buddy that makes it a little bit better.
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute. As much as we wish we could, we can’t control the weather, the wind, or Mother Earths tendency to strike in February. If you plan to do it early, you can veto those days with 30km winds and pouring rain. Or when there are unforeseen road closures…   
  • Keep Fuelled! – the great thing is every stop gives you an opportunity to be powered by caffeine and delicious treats. I probably would’ve rolled straight back down Dyers Pass if it wasn’t for an Energy Ball and short black thanks to the team at Sumner! Use your coins as you accumulate them – it gives you the best of both worlds – you stay fuelled AND you don’t have to carry them!  
  • Plan a route! – I’m sure I’m not the only one who pedalled a few extra KM’s by taking a couple of “Scenic Routes” by “Winging it”. The day is tough enough as it is without taking unplanned detours – know where you’re going. Lots of our riders post their routes on our FB page so make sure you check it out if you’re looking for help planning the best ways to go.
  • Have Fun! –  whilst you’re huffing and puffing and struggling your way over Dyers take in the view, when you take an accidental detour that lands you at Sovereign Lakes take in the sights. Make new friends – there will be lots of riders that will understand what you’re going through. Remember a High 5 and smiles of encouragement from strangers never go amiss (especially if you haven’t checked off Lyttelton yet). At the end of the day it’s all about getting out there and giving it a go.

Image 1I’ll leave you with a super cheesey quote that you often see pop up in fitness/ gym references typically followed by #fitspo – “Will it be easy, NO. Will it be worth it – ABSOLUTELY!” That’s when you get to wear your jersey or t-shirt with pride knowing you’ve completed something pretty amazing.

Over & out.

Amanda (Rookie Rider)

p.s. We can’t wait for Evans Pass to re-open either…