Getting started


New to riding in New Plymouth or it’s been a while since you’ve been on your bike? Here are some simple tips to get you started. 

  1. Choose the right bike – think about size, your capability and what you plan to use it for
  2. Start simple and safe - a smooth, flat surface, without traffic – e.g. a park, empty car park, or a quiet part of the Coastal Walkway
  3. Get to know your brakes and your gears, practice using them a lot
  4. Start small and build up the distance you can cycle
  5. Plan your route, think about using off-road paths and quiet streets. Think about where and how you will cross intersections.
  6. Know the road rules and expectations on shared paths like our Coastal Walkway (link to shared path section).


For beginners tips to riding a bike check out this information from our friends at Bike ready.

Look out for adult cycle skills and community rides to build your confidence and skills.

The right gear


In New Zealand you are legally required to wear a helmet that meets safety requirements every time you ride your bike. To get the most out of wearing your helmet, check out this video from Auckland Transport on how to fit your helmet:


Be seen! Wear bright, contrasting or reflective clothing. Reflective shower-proof backpack covers are available from the Civic Centre and community libraries.

Wear closed toe shoes to keep your feet safe. 

If you don’t have a chain guard, be careful not to choose clothing that may get caught. 

A raincoat is a handy item to have on you, so you arrive dry and ready for your day. 

For longer trips you may like to take a change of clothing – you can use a waterproof liner in your bag to keep your items dry.


Walking and riding are great ways to get around New Plymouth

If you regularly ride or walk, high visibility and reflective bag covers are freely available to help you Be Seen. These can be collected from the NPDC Civic Centre and community libraries.

There are times we need to take extra care:

  • After dusk
  • Before dawn
  • When the sun is lower in the sky causing sun strike for drivers, and
  • At intersections

Make sure you take extra care and keep safe by being bright and visible on roads and paths.

Safe cycling tips:

  • Clean your front light, rear light and reflectors and check they are working.
  • Use your lights between sunset and sunrise, and at any other time when visibility is poor.
  • Bright, contrasting and reflective clothing and helmets can help you Be Seen.
  • Know how to ride near heavy vehicles. New Plymouth roads are used by a wide range of users, including heavy vehicles and buses.
    Heavy vehicles sit high off the ground with long loads so you need to be vigilant to make sure you can Be Seen and keep yourself safe.

    1. Ride to be seen and to be predictable.
    2. Position yourself so heavy vehicle drivers can see you.
    3. Make eye contact with the driver, smile, and wave.
    4. Do not pass a heavy vehicle on the left-hand side.

Our friends at Share the Road have put together this video to help you ride safely near heavy vehicles.


Safe walking tips:

  • Bright, contrasting, and reflective clothing, jackets and umbrellas can help you Be Seen.
  • Don’t assume you have been seen – look twice before crossing the road.
  • Use crossings when they are available.


Be seen tile.
Be seen image.

Bike maintenance

Remember your ABCQ each time you hop on your bike:

A – Air in your tyres?

B – Brakes working?

C- Chain on and running freely?

Q – Are your quick release on your wheels and seat post closed and tight?

For a basic maintenance check see this video from our friends at Christchurch City Council.

The essential ABCQ bike check

For more support with your bike maintenance go to one of our friendly bike stores in the district or the New Plymouth Bike Kitchen.