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Choosing a bike Choosing a bike

There are so many different styles of bikes available, we've prepared a list of things to think about to help with selecting a bike to best suit your needs.

Finding a bike to suit your riding

To help guide your search, start by running through the questions below. Thinking about these will help narrow the range down so you can find your ideal bike.

  • What sort of riding did you want to do? e.g. recreation, commuting, off-road exploring, mountain biking, long distance touring, road riding, racing or everyday riding around the neighbourhood.
  • Where will you be riding? e.g. on roads, cycle paths, gravel paths, dirt paths, mountain bike trails or on a combination of different surfaces.
  • How often and how far are you likely to ride?
  • Do you have a budget in mind?
  • What kind of features are important? e.g. front and rear suspension, disc or rim brakes, how many gears.
  • Are you going to be carrying anything whilst cycling? i.e. do you want to fit a basket, racks, pannier bags or baby seat.
  • Is there a particular style, colour or look that appeals to you?

Trying different bikes

Before buying a bike it's a great idea to try as many bikes as possible to get a feel for the differences between them.

You can borrow one from a friend, hire a bike or go in to your local bike store for a chat and test ride their bikes and see what accessories are available. Chat to others who cycle or talk to a local cycling group.

Bike styles

There are a range of bikes for different purposes and some are right for one particular purpose only, whereas others are more versatile.

Road bikes

Road bike
  • Designed for riding on the road and are suitable for commuting to work, racing, triathlons and lightweight touring.
  • Generally very light, have smooth, slim tyres, dropped handlebars (downturned, curved handlebars) and a range of gears.
  • Designed and built to maximise aerodynamics and minimise weight.
  • Provide good speed-handling and sprinting ability, but may not be the most comfortable choice for everyone.

Mountain bikes

Mountain bike
  • Specifically designed to handle rough terrain, but versatile enough to be used on and off-road.
  • Their design often incorporates suspension to tackle rough paths, easy gears for steep climbs, and wide tyres with knobbly tread to maintain grip.
  • These features can add comfort and ease but slow the bike down when riding on a road.

Hybrid/Commuter bikes

Hybrid bike
  • Combine features of both road bikes and mountain bikes.
  • Feature a more upright riding position than a road bike to make cycling more comfortable.
  • Can be used on bike trails, parks and city streets.
  • Ideal for adding accessories such as mudguards, racks, panniers and baskets.

Comfort/Step-through bikes

Step-through bike
  • Step-through bikes do not have the cross-bar associated with most bikes, so you can 'step-through' without having to swing your leg over the seat to get on.
  • Like hybrid bikes, they have a more upright riding position and can be used on bike trails, parks and city streets.
  • Can be made more versatile by adding accessories.
  • Best for cruising shorter distances.

Folding bikes

Folding bike
  • Portable, easy to use and store.
  • These lightweight multipurpose bikes are good for commuting, taking on holiday, going to the shops or visiting the local café.
  • Great for combining cycling with other transport options as they can be taken on trains, buses and ferries or put in the car boot to help you get to places easily.

Electric bikes (E-bikes)

Electric bike or E-bike
  • E-Bikes are available in a variety of styles.
  • They have a battery and small motor to provide extra help in getting places.
  • This tends to make them heavier but can help you travel further, flatten hills and arrive still feeling fresh.
  • They can either assist when pedalling or use the throttle.
  • A specialist bike shop can provide more advice about power, weight, speeds etc.

Find out more details and tips for riding an e-bike.

Lifestyle, Classic, Urban and Cruiser bicycles

Cruiser bike
  • Urban bicycles are used widely in Europe and gaining in popularity in New Zealand.
  • They're perfect for commuting, leisure, or riding to the local café on the weekend.
  • They feature an upright riding position and ideal for adding baskets, racks, mudguards and panniers.

Fixed-gear bikes (fixie)

Fixed-gear bike
  • These bikes are reduced to the bare essentials.
  • Often similar to road bikes, fixies have one gear and no free wheel, meaning that when the wheels turn, so do the pedals.
  • Often there are no other brakes so they are not recommended for novice cyclists.
  • If you just like the look, fixie-styled bikes can also come as singlespeeds with one gear, a free moving hub and brakes.

BMX and Trick bikes

BMX bike
  • BMX or bicycle motorcross bikes are designed for off-road racing and stunt riding.
  • Built to be robust they have one gear, smaller wheels and lower seats so not ideal for long distance riding.
  • Pegs can be attached to the axle to allow for performing tricks too.

Cargo and other bikes

Cargo bike
  • There are many other types of bikes that are gaining popularity and a bike can be found to suit almost any purpose.
  • Cargo bikes allow you to carry a lot of baggage (sometimes with electrical-assistance).
  • Tandem bikes allow for two people to ride together.
  • Cruiser bikes are all about moving in style, allowing for a relaxed ride, at low speeds on easy terrain.

Getting the right size and fit

Getting the size and fit right is really important. Comfort, handling, aerodynamics and efficiency all rely on the right fit for correct bike set up.

Each model of bike should come in a range of sizes from XS to XL. Bike size refers to the size of the bike frame, but there are also a variety of wheel sizes from 20" (BMX) 700c (road racing bike) to 27.5" or 29" mountain bike wheels.

Once you've got the correct bike frame size, this can then be fit to you by adjusting parts such as the seat, handlebars and gear and brake levers.

Spend some time adjusting these to get it right as you'll benefit from it when going out on rides. If you purchase a bike through a bike shop then they should be able to make the adjustments for you.

​Record your bike serial number

When you get a new bike you should record its unique serial number. Learn where to find the serial number on your bike and how to record it.

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If you are living in fear in your relationship or in your family, there are so many ways we can help you right now. You won’t be turned away even if you don’t have children, a NZ visa, or money. If you still have more questions have a read below and contact us when you’re ready.

I’m ready to talk now.

You can call our 24-hour support and crisis line on 0800 REFUGE (733843). Or, if you prefer, you can click here and contact us discretely through our contact form and we will email you back as soon as possible.

What will I do for money?

There are a number of benefits and allowances you may be eligible for if you are a victim of domestic violence in New Zealand. We can help you better understand your options once you make contact.

I haven’t been beaten up, can Women’s Refuge still help me?

We support women who have experienced any form of domestic violence: verbal, psychological/emotional, sexual, and financial as well as physical. In fact, psychological/emotional abuse is the most common form of domestic violence.

How much does it cost to stay?

Women's Refuge support and advocacy services are free. In the safe house, rent is usually charged once your financial situation is sorted out. Safety is our main concern. You won't be turned away if you don't have any money.

How long can I stay in a safe house?

Some women only stay a night or two, while others stay for weeks. You can talk with the advocates at your local refuge about how long you think you need to stay to ensure your safety.

I don’t live with my partner, but he is abusing me. Can you still help me?

Yes, you don’t have to be living with your partner to experience domestic violence and you can still call us.

What happens if I haven't got any clothes or food?

Women's Refuge has clothing that you can have. We’ve also got toys and books, formula and nappies. You are welcome to use our emergency food until you get your financial situation sorted out.

Will other people be there?

Safe houses usually have other women, including women with their children, staying there. Refuge advocates are around during the day.

How will I get my kids to school?

The advocates at your local refuge will help you work out transport for your children, or help with changing schools.

Can Women's Refuge help me if I stay in my own house?

Yes, we can provide all the same support and advocacy for you no matter where you choose to live. You may be eligible to access support through the Whanau Protect service.

I'm living in a rural area. Can you still help me?

Yes. Find your local refuge and they will be able to arrange support, advocacy and transport for you.

Can Women's Refuge help around issues with children?

Yes. We can provide support and advocacy around matters to do with custody, access and care.


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Getting out

The most important thing is for you and your children to get out safely. It is important to know that leaving a violent relationship can be one of the most dangerous times for women and children so it is important to make a safety plan around leaving and keep your plans confidential. Below are some tips to help you make a plan.

  • If you can, pack a bag with bare necessities and important documents that you can leave with someone you trust. Include important documents such as passport, birth certificate, bank account details, driver’s licence, and bank cards and other things like medicines.

  • Know abuser's schedule and safe times to leave.

  • Contact us for guidance or a safe place to stay for you and your children.

Getting help

We warmly welcome all women and their children to access our support, advocacy and crisis accommodation. If you need help or have questions, use our live chat to get in touch.

making a plan

The safety of you and your children (if you have them) will be your primary concern. If you’re not ready or cannot safely leave, here are some things you can do to stay safe now.

  • Make a safety plan with the guidance of a refuge advocate.

  • Get yourself a pre-paid phone; keep it charged and safe.

  • Keep photocopies of important documents (passport, birth certificate, bank account details, medical notes, driver's licence, etc) and store these at the home of a supportive friend or family member.

  • Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates and events.

  • If you can, open your own bank account and try to save some money.

  • If you have pets you are worried about, consider them in your safety plan.

Privacy Policy – The Shielded Site Application.


In this privacy policy, the terms ‘NCIWR’, ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ refer to National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges Inc. NCIWR operates this web application at (‘this web application’).

This privacy policy explains how we may collect, store, use, and disclose personal information that we collect and that you provide to us. By using this web application you acknowledge that we may collect, store, use, and disclose your personal information in the manner set out in this privacy policy.

Collection of personal information

We may collect personal information from you when you use this web application, for example when you make a request for contact on this web application.

You may decide not to provide your personal information to us. However, if you do not provide it, we may not be able to provide you with access to certain information or services. For example, we may be unable to make contact with you if you do not provide us with your contact information.

Automated collection of non-personal information

When you visit this web application, we will not add traceable elements (such as cookies, sessions, and usage monitoring software) to your browser or device.

Use and disclosure

We will not use or disclose your personal information except in accordance with this privacy policy or the Privacy Act 1993. We may use your personal information to:

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Your personal information will only be made available internally for the above purposes. We will not disclose your personal information to third parties. We will only use or disclose personal information that you have provided to us, or which we have obtained about you:

  • for the above-mentioned purposes;

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  • if we are required or permitted by law to disclose the information; or

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Storage and security

All personal information collected on this web application is collected and held by NCIWR. We will endeavour to protect your personal information that is held by us from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

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This website may be hosted by one or more third party service providers (‘service providers’) who enable us to provide this web application. You acknowledge and agree that any personal information that may be collected on this web application may also be held and used by our service providers on our behalf. Any information collected will be securely sent and securely stored on a server.

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This web application may be hosted by websites operated by third parties. We are not responsible for the content of such websites, or the manner in which those websites collect, store, use, or distribute any personal information you provide. When you visit third party websites from hyperlinks displayed on this web application, we encourage you to review the privacy statements of those websites so that you can understand how the personal information you provide may be collected, stored, used, and distributed.

Right to access and correct

You may request access to, or correction of, any personal information we hold about you by contacting us as follows:
Post:Privacy Officer
PO Box 27-078
Marion Square
Wellington 6141

To ensure that the contact information we hold about you is accurate and current, please notify us of any changes to such information as soon as possible.

Contacting NCIWR

Any emergency relating to domestic violence should be directed to 111 for New Zealand Police assistance.

If you request assistance through this website, we will endeavour to respond as soon as we can. If you require advocacy services phone 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 to talk to a refuge in your area within New Zealand. All member refuges of NCIWR are listed on our main website ( If you do visit the Women’s Refuge Website, please note that it is a traceable site so we recommend you use the online safety tips found on this web application to visit safely.

Advocacy services are available at member refuges. Your call and information will be treated in confidence and privacy.

Changes to our privacy policy

We reserve the right, at our discretion, to alter this privacy policy at any time. Changes to this privacy policy will take effect immediately once they are published on this web application. Please check this privacy policy regularly for modifications and updates. If you continue to use this web application or if you provide any personal information after we post changes to this privacy policy, this will indicate your acceptance of any such changes.

This privacy policy was last updated on 6 October 2015.

If You’re In
Immediate danger

If you fear for your safety:

  1. Run outside and head for where there are other people.
  2. Ask someone to call 111
  3. If you have children take them with you if you can
  4. Don't stop to get anything else