Cycleways for 8 to 80s – how do we rate?

Twin Streams 2 J Kennett
Photo: Kennett Bros of Twin Streams

The Kennett Bros have long been leaders in the cycling sector for their publications and articles on all sorts of cycling around NZ. Jonathan has an additional reputation,  as he has been working on the NZ Cycle Trail Great Rides from the outset of the project, and went on to write the guidebook for the network of rides that make a national trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff linking in the Great Rides.

The guidebook for the Great Rides has stunning photography,good maps, history sections and advice on cafes and accomodation places that makes it a must own for anyone contemplating getting out of the city to enjoy our landscape by bike. It was top of NZ’s non-fiction top selling list for months this year, doing a fabulous job of raising the profile of cycling.

Research is now underway on the Kennett Bros next publication – their 20th! The working title is ‘Short Easy Rides for Everyone’ and is planned for the shops in March next year.

Jonathan spent Saturday and Sunday in Auckland riding some of our trails. His focus is on 7km rides that are consistently safe and easy for anyone in the 8 to 80 age groups. That means easy gradients and no on road sections. Orewa Basin and  Twin Streams meet these criteria, so are sure-fires for the book.

Grafton Gully J Kennett
Photo: Kennett Bros of Grafton Gully

I couldn’t resist riding Grafton and Beach Rd with Jonathan, and did my best to win him over with Hobsonville as an alluring and unique cycling destination that soaks up time with its Banana Bridge, cafe, farmer’s market, coastal trail, 30km speed zones and comprehensive off road and shared path cycling routes. I also showed him the new bridge over the Bayswater estuary, as it’s a gem, and the new promenade nearing completion in St Mary’s Bay leading to the Wynyard Quarter.

As always, Jonathan was very complementary about the results of our lobbying for better cycling infrastructure in Auckland, but it was a wake up call for me on how incomplete some of our best cycling routes are. The Green route from Devonport to Takapuna is referred to as being a safe route, but it has sections that are too narrow and on-road sections that prevent it from meeting the 7km consistent standard for the Kennett’s new book. The new St Mary’s Bay link is similarly struggling to get high quality linkages to the rest of the Wynyard Quarter cycling facilities because of kick back over removing on-road parking.

Jonathan is returning to ride the Rotary Trail around the Tamaki Estuary, but I have warned him the route is narrow for much of its length. He knows the Tamaki Drive cycleway well, but rightly observes that the quality of the trail is pretty poor due to the tree roots, narrow width overall with the added problem of power poles in the middle of the cycle section and congestion from walkers, baby wagons and dog walkers.

If you can think of any other Auckland routes that I need to tell him about for the book?

I know the 7km cycleway linking Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive will be a winner for the next version of the Kennett Bros book – but we need to make sure we have even more. Jonathan says he has some inspiring routes from across the country – but as the big player in the country for cycling, Auckland needs to step up to offer more and better complete routes. Catering for people in the 8 to 80 age groups is where our future lies to make Auckland a truly cycleable city.       Twin Streams J Kennett

Onward and upward team – we can do it! All it needs is a fair share of investment for cycling from Len and his team in the draft Long Term Plan that will be open for public submissions from Dec to late February. Let’s get ready to bury the Council in requests to put money into its liveability talk.

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