Summer cycling pleasures opening in the Bay

Oct 30, 2013
Summer cycling pleasures opening in the Bay


Cropped Stop BankI spent last weekend in Hastings checking out improvements to the Bay’s cycle routes – and was impressed. The lovely elevated lime and sand routes on the stop banks connecting apple orchards with the coastal seafront routes are in beautiful condition, ready for the summer.

The longer I was there, the more I became aware that the entire is threaded with easy riding off-road paths in use by all age groups. Cafes dot the urban and rural landscapes, providing great coffee and seriously tempting food.

Hastings streets are well equipped with connected-up on-road cycle lanes, with hatched green stripes that I would dearly love to see copied in Auckland. Other traffic signs and street furniture reinforce the presence of cycling, and traffic treated me with respect. It’s no surprise to find local residents getting on with life on their bikes – going shopping, to work, and meeting friends. No drama.

Hawkes Bay CyclingThe new off-road path connecting Hastings and Havelock North is a sheer joy to ride, as are newly limed off- road routes around the cheek-by-jowl vineyards to the west of Hastings. The countryside looks so fresh at present, with the vineyards full of new leaf budding promise and fabulous clean air. The roadside stalls selling divine ripe strawberries are irresistible – and I couldn’t resist filling my backpack with the crispest asparagus.

I have to declare an interest in Avanti’s superb bikes – I rocked up unannounced to their Hastings shop on Saturday morning to hire a bike, and got talking about how cycling in the Bay is developing. When they learnt I was from Cycle Action Auckland, they provided me with a superb new hybrid bike, exactly as I requested, free of charge, to take to for a spin. I can honestly recommend this team as friendly and smart, fully equipped and ready to help with all your cycling needs.

Hawkes Bay Clifton TrailAs we left the Bay on last Sunday’s glorious weather I was impressed by the succession of cyclists silhouetted against the sparkling sea, riding on the elevated coastal route off-road route connecting Napier to Bayview. It was very hard to tear myself away to head back to Auckland.

The cycle trail network across the country is constantly expanding. I barely touched the sides of the routes on offer last summer in the Kennett Bros Cycle Trail guide. I hear the 5 day ride from Mt Cook to Oamaru is fabulous, so it’s on our radar for February, and I know I won’t be able to resist doing the Clutha Gold Trail while I’m down south. I expect I’ll need to vist the Timber Trail at Pureora, the Motu River trail at Opotiki and Hawkes Bay trails again as they are all so varied and rewarding. I can see ‘Gone Cycling’ will be my email auto reply this summer.

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