A couple of flat tyres couldn't deflate the priceless memories a Tauranga man gained cycling the length of the country.

Tauranga Hospital orderly supervisor John Reynolds, with fellow health worker Phil Shoemack, cycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff this March - a journey that covered 3000km and took 30 days.

Reynolds completed the trip with no issues, aside from a popped spoke and a couple of flat tires.

Reynolds, who is approaching his 60th birthday, has been into fitness "off and on" throughout his life. He used to be a triathlete before an injury forced him to retire 28 years ago.


"It was a personal journey. It proved a couple of things for me," Reynolds said. "One of those was that people, if they put their minds to it, can achieve a lot of things."

The first thought of taking on the ride came up 10 years ago and the idea popped up again last year with the Tour Aotearoa event, a "bikepacking" trip in which people bike the length of the country, and he decided to commit to the mission.

He then began training but plans were still not set in stone as the date crept closer.

"So I told myself to stop procrastinating and booked my return flight from Invercargill for the beginning of March and it was all on."

His favourite part of the trip was the West Coast Wilderness Trail around Hokitika, which he described as "beautiful and varied with lots of different stuff to take in".

The training for the trip saw him shed 20kg and involved him biking more than 100km a week to prepare.

He often trained on the cycle trails around The Lakes and the route out to Paengaroa, racking up about 50km per session.

The experience sparked a desire to go on another expedition, and Reynolds and his wife have already planned to go to Amsterdam for another biking adventure.


Reynolds was joined by friend and medical officer of health Toi Te Ora Phil Shoemack, who said the mammoth trip was not for everyone but it was worthwhile all the same.

"I don't know anyone who has done it regretted it."

Shoemack said modern lifestyles often meant the balance of energy used in exercise to energy taken in from food was out of whack, which meant activity was crucial to good health.

The mere act of being out in nature was also beneficial, he said.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Healthy Living team member Thomas Larkin said Reynolds' trip was a "wonderful achievement" and had likely inspired others.