The sun shone on the 200 people who started their Easter weekend with a fun, family-friendly 12km cycle along the banks of the Tukituki River for the Little Easy yesterday.

It was the first ride of the annual Big Easy cycling event, now in its sixth year.

After being cancelled last year because of poor weather - as Cyclone Debbie tore through the region - Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said yesterday "everyone was pretty excited".

"The trails are looking magnificent, and the best thing about this one was the new swing bridge so people could ride a loop."


A 100m-long swing bridge over the Tukituki River had just been installed, and part of the fundraising for it had been done by the 2015 Little Easy cyclists.

The ride was a great way to showcase the trails, she said.

"It's getting locals out, and it's somewhere a bit different. I don't think there are many people in Hawke's Bay who have experienced the CHB trails, so it's a really nice to get people down there.

"The bridge is an amazing drawcard."

Hawke's Bay Tourism event organiser Jenna Mabey said a lot of yesterday's riders were locals, although a number of cyclists had travelled there for the weekend's events.

"It's been a fantastic day, beautiful and sunny."

Today's event - the Big Easy - is on track to be the biggest ever. About 1800 cyclists will ride 42km from Havelock North's Black Barn Vineyards to Church Road winery in Taradale.

"It's the largest yet. We're a bit worried we're going to run out of T-shirts," Ms Dundas said.

"The out-of-town numbers for the Big Easy are probably close to 50 per cent this year, and people are coming from all over so we're delighted with the turnout."

The Little Easy Wairoa scheduled for Sunday was cancelled after concerns other events in the district might affect the turnout.

However, Ms Dundas said they were looking at holding the 5km-10km ride along the Wairoa River later in the year instead.