As a small island miles away from anything else in the world, New Zealand is a home to many unique species of plants and animals. Due to our distant geographical status, we’ve managed to avoid inheriting many of the world’s agricultural infections and animal infestations. Understandably the government are pretty pleased with this and therefore make a serious effort to keep the country pristine and free from these issues.
When arriving in New Zealand, it is a mandatory requirement to declare all used sporting equipment – from your bike, to your trail running shoes to your spare pair of pedals you brought along just in case. If it’s ever touched mud, dirt, grass or water for example, it’ll need to be declared accordingly and cleaned in a specific manner. The official line from Biosecurity NZ is;
Used equipment, like sporting and recreational equipment, must be declared on your passenger arrival card. This type of equipment can transfer soil and plant material from other countries into New Zealand that may carry pests, diseases, and seeds – all of which can pose a threat to our environment and wildlife.
Equipment might be inspected on arrival so it should be easy to reach in your luggage If you are unsure about whether or not your equipment needs inspecting – declare it.
Used equipment includes:
All hiking and sporting footwear, including gaiters for tramping – or any footwear used outside of urban areas – which should be cleaned prior to arrival and be free of soil
All equipment – like clothing, footwear and tools – used for work in industries such as horticulture, viticulture (wine production), apiculture (beekeeping), aquaculture (fish farming), and forestry.”
Although the website doesn’t specifically mention mountain bikes, they fall under the same rules as the hiking and footwear category. For you as a visitor this means a bit of deep cleaning before you come to New Zealand. It may sound very daunting, but having done the New Zealand border crossing many times we can assure you it’s not. Here are a few tips to break it down for you:
Give your bike a good wash with some degreaser – home made stuff is just fine for this.
Check areas such as bottom of steerer tube, under the bottom bracket and pedals for sneaky hiding mud.
Give the drivetrain a good clean(lube attracts all sorts of dirt, soil and seeds).
Check the tyres REALLY well. We sometimes take them off and soak them in warm water to ease any small bits of dirt off. Depending on what sort of soil you’ve been riding in you may need to give them a scrub with a nailbrush or toothbrush – a great way for kids to earn their allowance!
Give your riding bag a wipe down to remove any obvious dirt
Clean your riding shoes and any other outdoor footwear– we normally brush off as much excess dirt as possible and then pop them through the washing machine on a cold wash with our bike cleaning rags & towels to stop damage to the machine. Shoes comes out sparkling clean!
We can’t recommend strongly enough taking these measures to make your life at the airport easier. On previous experience, if they open your bike bag and it looks immaculately clean you’ll get waved through pretty quickly. If you turn up with dirt on any of your equipment that Biosecurity don’t like, you’ll likely have to unpack all your bags and boxes as well as a potential $400 fine and a cleaning fee.
Follow the guidelines and you’ll be fine – we just don’t want you spending your beer money and wasting valuable riding time through airport admin! Should you have any questions, please contact us either via our contact form or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details please see the Biosecurity New Zealand website.