Three potential "great urban rides" through Auckland streets are being considered for hitching the city to the Government's $50 million national cycleway.

Visitors and local recreational cyclists may be offered a choice between a Ponsonby heritage route, a "volcanic" ride past Mt Eden and Mt Hobson, and a circuit taking in sea air from Waitemata Harbour as an antidote to traffic fumes.

A joint proposal from Cycle Action Auckland and the Nextbike hire company drew an enthusiastic response yesterday from the city council's transport committee, which has asked staff to investigate reallocating budgets to carry it forward.

Although the first batch of cycleway projects to win Government support are through rural New Zealand, Cycle Action membership secretary Pippa Coom said the beauty of the Auckland plan was its use of existing streets to show off the city's landmarks. The main cost would be for producing route signs, on which graphic designers had already provided plenty of ideas free of charge.

Julian Hulls of Nextbike said the three proposed routes, which have been refined from an Auckland Regional Transport Authority network plan, would give tourists ways of inspecting at close hand the best the city had to offer.

Auckland was the arrival point for 80 per cent of backpacking tourists and the routes would provide an opportunity to showcase the city.

Mr Hulls said tourists on bikes tended to spend more than pedestrian visitors, and would be able to find information on routes chosen to allow them to jump off their bikes at such spots as Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Auckland Museum.

The routes were designed to take advantage of Auckland's coastline and long ridges, which were gentle enough to have carried trams in the early days, and would also encompass Eden Park for the convenience of visitors during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Cycling ambassadors could assist visitors and traffic measures such as lower speed limits could be considered to encourage drivers and cyclists to share the roads with care.

Mr Hulls said Auckland City had a chance of gaining funding support from the Ministry of Tourism as part of the Government's national cycleway scheme, but if there was nothing forthcoming from that quarter, could seek a 75 per cent subsidy from the Transport Agency for signage.

City development chairman Aaron Bhatnagar welcomed the proposal.

"It is timely now that we've had this great cycling network debate - it is encumbent on us to get some of the action for Auckland," he said.

Transport committee chairman Ken Baguley also backed the idea, putting forward a resolution supported by the other councillors for officers to investigate reallocating cycling budgets to cater for it, and to report in November.