Biking Tips for Niue
Niue is an island that enables you to ride to your heart’s content. There are five official bike trails, more than 190km (118 miles) of bush trails to explore, and 123km (76 miles) of quiet paved roads. In short, you can cycle just about anywhere on this glorious tropical island. However, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to biking in Niue, from cycling around the island to where you can get a bike, so we’re setting the record straight with these tips for cycling in Niue!
1. There are Plenty of Bike Rental Options
Any great cycling adventure starts with a bike, which you can easily hire in Niue. Mountain bikes and e-bikes are available to hire from various vehicle rental companies, dedicated bike hire companies and from accommodations either for a fee or free of charge. Compare your bike hire options in Where to Rent Bikes in Niue.
2. Know How to Pack a Bike if Bringing Your Own
Cycling enthusiasts know that nothing compares to your own bike, so know that you can bring your own bike to Niue if you follow the airline guidelines. Niue’s sole airline, Air New Zealand, requires bikes to be checked in as check-in luggage in either a bike bag or a bike box, which is available to purchase from the Auckland Airport for around NZ$25. When packing your bike, you need to remove the handlebars or turn them sideways and remove the pedals or turn them in. Make sure the pressure of any nitrogen gas mountain bike struts is no more than 200kPa (kilopascal) or 29PSI (pounds per square inch) and that any cartridges for inflating tyres are less than 50ml (1.6oz) and contain a non-flammable gas. Seal and label the bike box/bag with your name and phone number.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Distances
Niue is an island with a landmass of 260km2 (101mi sq). For cycling around, that’s pretty huge. The main road around the island is around 64km (40 miles) long, which takes around three hours to complete for the athletic cyclist and around four to five hours for the rest of us. We don’t recommend hiring a bike to explore the whole island, but you can enjoyably cycle to a few nearby attractions. Check out the cycling times and distances in The Cycling Times in Niue.
4. Check out the Bike Tracks
A good option for where to cycle is Niue’s five official bike tracks. Bike tracks take from 30 minutes to two hours to complete, while some of them can be joined to create a longer route. They incorporate a bit of the main road to give you chance to visit coastal attractions, as well as inland bush trails ideal for mountain biking in Niue’s less-visited forests and plantations. Check out a description of each bike track in The Best Bike Trails in Niue.
5. Wearing a Helmet is Not Compulsory, but Recommended
In Niue, it’s not the law to wear a helmet when cycling. However, for obvious safety reasons, it’s always recommended to wear a helmet when cycling.
6. Mountain Bikes are Better than Road Bikes
If you were planning on packing your road bike for Niue, then forget it. Niue’s bush trails and even its sealed roads are much better suited for mountain bikes, due to the many potholes and uneven terrain along the way. All of the bike rentals in Niue are for mountain bikes or e-bike that are designed for rough terrain.
7. Bear in Mind the Heat when Planning Your Ride
Although you might be used to riding long distances, take into consideration the extra exertion it takes to ride in the tropical heat. Niue has a warm climate all year round, with temperatures at 21-27°C (70-81°F) in the “winter season” and at 22-29°C (72-84°F) combined with high humidity in the “summer season”. With this in mind, you might want to plan to ride a little shorter than what you’re used to. See What are the Seasons in Niue? for more information on the weather.
8. Do a Guided Bike Tour
For some knowledgeable insights and peace of mind, consider taking a guided bike tour. Namukulu Cottages offers two two-hour bike tours either to some snorkelling hotspots or to ride the rugged interior of the island. There is also a four-hour bike tour available on a Sunday taking you through Niue’s tropical forest and plantations to the Washaway Cafe for lunch and includes transport back to the accommodation. Learn more in The Guide to Mountain Biking in Niue.
9. Avoid Cycling at Night
For safety reasons, avoid cycling in Niue at night. There is very limited street lighting and rental bikes are not kitted out with lights to make you more visible to others.