The perseverance of the cycling community has been instrumental in the huge success that is the region's cycleways, says Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.
Work on attaching a cycleway to the Chesterhope Bridge will begin next week, after a blessing ceremony was held on site on Wednesday. It was followed by coffee and a muffin, along with short speeches, at the Zepplin Cafe in Clive.
Mr Yule told the gathering that the cycling fraternity must be congratulated on their perseverance.
He said flying onto Hawke's Bay these days gave the best view of all the limestone cycleways that had proliferated over the past few years " showing just how much work had been done on the paths that had helped make the Bay the cycling capital of New Zealand.
The addition of a cycleway to the 400m Chesterhope Bridge will make Pakowhai Rd much safer for cyclists.
Mr Yule admitted to the breakfast crowd that he had not been fully convinced of the value of the cycleways at the beginning, but had bowed to the "superior cycling knowledge of Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers and other keen bikers".
"They have been proved right and the cycleways have become important on very many levels."
This week Mr Yule said the paths had become a "very real tourist attraction, our residents make great use of what is a relatively easy asset to maintain, they help knit our region together, and they have proved successful at attracting events, small and large".
"Without the limestone cycleways wending their way through our beautiful rural areas, through the vineyards, there would not have been the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay Marathon this month.
"It is a testament to the beauty of Hawke's Bay, it's climate and the flatness of the Heretaunga Plains that it was the second place chosen to hold that marathon after the first was initiated in Queenstown a couple of years ago."