Big Easy cycling easy success on 'amazing' day + VIDEO

By Patrick O'Sullivan -
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Hundreds descended and ascended the fifth annual Hawke's Bay "Big Easy" cycling events at the weekend.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said it was a record turnout.

"It was brilliant with a huge turnout on the day as well as all the ones that preregistered," she said.

Total turnout was estimated to be up to 1700 and the weather "was amazing".

"There was a bit of a headwind so people were a bit stuffed when we got to Church Road [Winery], but everyone was in good spirits and cafes along the way would have had a good run of riders through their doors."

The "warm-up" event, the Little Easy in Central Hawke's Bay, had to be cancelled on Friday because the tracks were not considered safe in the wake of cyclone Cook, which had dumped torrential rain on Central Hawke's Bay and brought down numerous trees in the region.

Saturday, however, dawned warm and sunny, with the 42km main event, Big Easy, beginning from Havelock North and taking cycling trails through to Church Road Winery in Greenmeadows.

In Clive there was a "Family Start" for the younger riders, where people were encouraged to check out the redeveloped Waitangi Park and celestial compass as they rode past.

A music concert wrapped up the day featuring Ladykillers Jackie Clarke and Suzanne Lynch and friends Annie Crummer and Rikki Morris.

This year the Wairoa District Council also straddled its saddle - alongside Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Central Hawke's Bay District Council - hosting the Little Easy North Ride.

Ms Dundas said up to 80 people cycled to Pilot Hill on a "beautiful day" and shared a barbecue while children played in a "bouncy castle" with "some brave souls" continuing to Mahia Peninsula.

"It was a pretty cool day - I hope they do it again."

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