Serial litigator Graham McCready credits a personal locator beacon for saving his life after he got into strife on a popular New Zealand cycle trail.

The 74-year-old told the Herald this morning he was glad to be alive after his misadventure on the Timber Trail yesterday.

McCready said he struggled through the first 6km of the ride unaware his heart rate had "suddenly increased".

"I was stumbling. I was getting on the bike and falling off - doing all kinds of handstands on it," McCready said.

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The pensioner stopped at a road crossing while his companion went in search of cellphone coverage before he set off the personal locator beacon (PLB), he said.

"I rented that PLB from Track and Trail on Victoria St in Hamilton for $5 a day.

"It doesn't make any sense at all not to have one."

A helicopter arrived on the scene within an hour and whisked McCready off to Waikato Hospital, he said.

"I was there for two hours and they brought the heart rate down," he said.

His heart rate had been elevated at an abnormal 189 beats a minute up from his usual 70, he said.

"At that sort of heart rate you are at a high risk of a heart attack," he said.

McCready said he had 60 years of experience in outdoor adventures and misadventures, including completing the Central Otago Rail Trail five times and the Rimutaka Cycle Trail countless times.

It was the first time he had taken a PLB with him, he said.

McCready urged others to use PLBs on their adventures.