The idea for the original Great Southern Brevet event came during the inaugural bike-packing event in New Zealand in 2010. The most enjoyable bits (for me anyway!) were the remote, back country gravel roads and tracks. The lengthy stretches of paved roads, trying to stay safe from big trucks and cars, only made those quiet remote sections even more sought out and enjoyable.
With this in mind I set about developing an event that would use as few as possible paved sections, and maximise the quiet, remote experience. Those paved sections were really only inserted to allow for food and services so as to not require carrying too much. The goal was to get as much remote experience but not have to carry the kitchen sink at the same time! Although I based the model of the original Great Southern Brevet on pioneering bike-packing events such as the Tour Divide and the Colorado Trail Race, we did choose an original name and added unique aspects and a course representing some of the unique locations New Zealand has to offer.
The original Great Southern Brevet ran for 10 years from 2012 to 2022. A continuation was planned, with an event in 2023. However another person
decided to promote an event using our event name and details. There is
no relation or affiliation between the original Great Southern Brevet
event and the currently promoted 2023 event. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is not. The huge number of hours of effort someone puts into developing an idea and building that idea into a successful event, and running it over multiple years is too easily ignored. Yes, the event is free and has very few rules so can easily be copied.
The Great Southern Brevet was designed to allow as many people to participate as possible. There were no qualifying requirements or selection based on personal knowledge. Many Great Southern Brevet riders have been first time touring/bike-packing participants and that has been rewarding to see. I have seen much pain, over many hills :-), but many more smiles, over the successive Great Southern Brevets. Introducing people to parts of the country they would not have normally had the opportunity to see has been fun. Getting people out on the bikes is what it has always been about and that is what it remains about. As long as people get out on their bikes and understand the value of the country they live in then the brief history of the Original Great Southern Brevet has been worthwhile.
Enjoy your ride.
Chief Dis-organiser, The Original Great Southern Brevet