Mountain biking

Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy New Zealand's natural environment. Cyclists can help keep our environment in great shape for future generations by taking care of biosecurity when riding.


Help protect our biosecurity


Cycling through more than one waterway?

Freshwater pests, including didymo, lagarosiphon and hornwort, could destroy our country's rivers and lakes. They can smother the habitat of native plants and animals, and they can ruin the recreational value of waterways. Freshwater pests can be spread by a single drop of water or plant fragment.

Always check, clean, dry

You should always check, clean, and dry any mountain biking gear that comes into contact with the water between every waterway on your ride.

  • Check – check and remove any plant material.
  • Clean – scrub all equipment for at least one minute. Make sure it's fully wet, especially around the rims of bikes. Use a solution of water and 5% detergent (any household detergent like dishwashing liquid) or 2% household bleach.
  • Dry – drying is an alternative to cleaning, but everything needs to be completely dry to the touch, inside and out, and then left dry for at least another 48 hours before going into a different waterway.

If you don't want to decontaminate your gear, you should restrict your ride to a single waterway.

Protect our forests from kauri dieback

Kauri dieback is a fungus-like pathogen that kills both kauri trees and seedlings. We need to act now to protect our kauri forests from this disease.

We have no treatment or control tools, the only way we can save our kauri forests is to contain the disease in existing locations and stop the spread into healthy areas.

When biking in areas with native forest in the upper North Island:

  • clean your bike, footwear and other gear before you enter and as you leave the area
  • stay on mountain bike tracks
  • keep off kauri roots (kauri tree roots can grow outwards 3 times as far as its branches).

Most significant kauri forests have signs at the entry points and exits to let you know that you need to take care not to spread kauri dieback.

Learn how to identify a kauri tree

Kauri trees have greyish bark and leathery leaves.

Call the hotline if you see signs of the disease

If you think you have seen diseased kauri on public or private land, phone the Kauri Dieback Hotline on 0800 NZ KAURI (0800 69 52 874).

Find out more

Be on the lookout for pests and diseases

When you are mountain biking in New Zealand, be on the lookout and call MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 if you see:

  • an animal pest
  • a plant pest
  • signs of plant or animal disease.

Holding a mountain biking event

Events near waterways

If you're organising a mountain biking event in or near rivers or lakes, make sure you have procedures in place to prevent the spread of freshwater pests like didymo. 

An MPI leaflet – Check, Clean, Dry: Information for sporting event organisers – provides information and a checklist to help you manage an outdoor sporting event. Use the checklist to:

  • determine the risk of your event spreading freshwater pests
  • find suitable decontamination methods and facilities (cleaning stations) for your event.

The appendix has specific decontamination methods for mountain biking events.

Forest events

If you're planning an outdoor event in the upper North Island in or near an area with native forest, take precautions to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. Make sure participants:

  • have access to facilities to clean and disinfect their gear before and after they enter the area
  • stay on the tracks.

Find out more

Bringing used sports equipment to NZ?

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures at our international borders to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases.

Mountain bikes and other used sports equipment are 'risk goods'. If you are bringing these items to New Zealand you need to declare them on arrival. This means you need to state that you have the equipment with you on the passenger arrival card you will be given when you get to New Zealand.

Clean your bike before you come

Your bike and other gear will be inspected by biosecurity officers at the airport when you arrive. You should make sure all your equipment is clean of dirt or grass.

Last reviewed: | Has this been useful? Give us your feedback
Feedback