Ride on the trail of a good book

By Roger Moroney of Hawke's Bay Today -
About $100 million has been invested in cycle-trail construction over the past three years. Photo / NZ Herald
About $100 million has been invested in cycle-trail construction over the past three years. Photo / NZ Herald

They may live in Wellington but there were never any doubts about where the Kennett brothers would launch their latest book - about the best spots to enjoy a cycling holiday in New Zealand.

"Hawke's Bay because it has the perfect trails - wide and smooth, and cafes ... you got to have cafes," Jonathan Kennett, who has co-authored Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails, said.

So there was no question about it, and as he explained, he and his two brothers and their wives and children would be heading for the Bay and the book launch which would take place at the Havelock North Function Centre tomorrow at 5.30pm.

"Ten of us in a van and with our bikes," he said, effectively adding that spending time in the Bay without turning a pedal was unthinkable.

Hawke's Bay had steered the way in terms of creating cycle trails which were accessible to all ages, all generations, he said.

"You got under way 10 years ago with your pathways - before the New Zealand cycle trails came along."

He paid tribute to the foresight of the Napier City Council and The Hawke's Bay Regional Council in pedalling ahead with sourcing and creating funding for what had become "remarkable" cycle trails.

"Hawke's Bay is now reaping the benefit of that decade of investment," he said, adding that more people were now planning and embarking on holidays on which they could ride their bikes.

"There are two regions leading the country and they are the Otago Central Rail Trails, although they take time to get to, and then there is Hawke's Bay."

He said people had told him that in recent years, during their visits to the Bay, they had got used to seeing large numbers of people out and about cycling.

"It's just a part of normal life there."

He predicted it would continue to grow as baby boomers took to the cycle trails in pursuit of health and fitness, and people who had grown up with the mountain-biking craze when it hit in the early 90s were now returning to the saddle - for more recreational and relaxed cycling.

It was also a fun activity they could participate in with their growing children.

About $100 million had been invested in cycle-trail construction over the past three years.

The Bay's cycle trails, given their width and smoothness, suited the youngest and the oldest, and were easy to access and meandered gently across scenic landscapes, Mr Kennett said.

"Pretty-well perfect. I've been up there twice already this year and we went three times last year."

For the book, with his brothers Paul and Simon, he rode trails from Kaitaia to Bluff, and Hawke's Bay threw up seven of the listed 46 trails.

Among them were the Puketapu Loop, the Water Ride, the Coastal Ride, the Tukituki Loop and the new Wineries Ride.

"This is the first complete guide to the official New Zealand cycle trails," Mr Kennett said.

"And Hawke's Bay is leading the way."

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