As a prostate cancer survivor, Whangamatā's Steve Bagnall has faced challenging journeys head-on before.

So when he sets off on his upcoming Tour Aotearoa cycle of the entire length of New Zealand, he intends enjoying every moment.

"I can't wait to get going.

"Along the way we'll have tour angels right through, so farmers on the Hauraki Plains whose properties back onto the route will come down with their kids, with pikelets and scones for us. It's amazing."


The Coastal News will be sharing Steve's journey - which anyone can follow live online by logging into to see where he is at any given time.

Steve will depart Cape Reinga at 11am on 21 February with 100 of the 1300 cyclists heading to Bluff.

Steve is fundraising for prostate cancer work and his ride will take him on back roads, cycle trails, swing bridges, ferries and jet boats through small towns and big cities.

He'll get close to home when he hits the Hauraki Rail Trail and friends may join him from Kopu to Paeroa, Te Aroha and Matamata, which he expects will be about Monday 24 or Tuesday 25 February.

"They give you 30 days to complete the tour but it's not a race. You're riding like you're cruising on a bike downtown, but I'd hope to do it in 25 days."

A competitive cyclist since 1964, he spent six months off the bike in recovery after radical surgery eight years ago.

The former truck driver has only once flown in and out of the South Island for one night and says he's not only looking forward to that journey, but is expecting to see the North Island in a way he's never seen before.

Although Steve makes it sound easy, he'll be covering 3000km and has been training hard since April, setting his racing bike on a machine inside through winter.


"I covered 8000km in winter, over 240 hours. It's easy to do long distances because there's no wind and no hills."

With warmer days he's doing 50km daily from 3.15am to 6.15am, and says it takes full concentration due to the risks from drivers on the highway.

"It's terrible out there now, it's got worse over the years, hence that's why these sorts of organised rides are more popular now. People are also riding out in bush tracks because it's way safer."

Tour Aotearoa was designed by New Zealand cycling guidebook writer Jonathan Kennett and has a focus on the environment. Riders are encouraged to offset their carbon emissions from travelling to the start and from the end, and Steve won't be taking any camp cooking equipment to be mindful of the risk of starting bush fires when in the back country.

"I won't be assisted on my ride so that means no cars," says Steve.

He will camp every other night but is staying in motels for comfort and regular showers, stopping at service stations, dairies and eateries in each settlement to stay fuelled, giving back to the communities he'll ride through.

Steve has already raised $1300 for the cause. Make a donation in support of those with prostate cancer via Steve's fundraising page