Le Race 2015 is one of New Zealand’s most iconic cycling events, drawing competitors from around New Zealand as well as international cycling enthusiasts. The 100km race starts in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square, in the garden city itself, and leads riders on a diverse track all the way to Akaroa, a small, charming and historic French village. Pick up a Hertz Christchurch airport car rental to transport your bike and explore the area after the race.
Take on Le Race as an individual, or tackle the event in smaller chunks in a team of two or even a team of three people. Two-person teams do half each, changing over at Little River Domain. Teams of three do a third each, changing over at Millers Road and Little River (or alternatively, compete as a team but with each member going the full distance – your combined individual times give the overall team placing).
Other types of bikes can be used, not just road bikes. Ride a mountain bike, with 26″ or 29″ wheels and mountain bike handle bars and tyres. You can even grab a tandem bike and do the race with a buddy that way.
There are prizes for best costume, too for those who like getting dressed up. And in true Tour de France tradition, the Coffee Culture King and Queen of the Mountain will be crowned based on points won on two key hill climbs in the race – the climb up to the Sign of the Kiwi and the long climb up to the Hilltop – winning $250.
For those travelling from the North Island for Le Race 2015, you can get 30% off your ferry crossing with Interislander. And if you’re wondering where to stay in Christchurch for Le Race, the Novotel and the Heritage Hotel on Cathedral Square are both placed firmly in the centre of things. For places to eat and drink, head over to New Regent St to spots such as Shop Eight and The Last Word. Or for excellent Indian fare, in the other direction, seek out The Himalayas on Cashel St.
In Akaroa there are many lovely accommodation options – look at Akaroa Village Inn for a waterfront option or Loch Hill Country Cottages, or Maison de la Mer (make sure you try the gourmet French country style breakfast) or Madeira Hotel.