On ya bike: In part three of a five-part series looking at the best cycleways in Auckland, we head to the North Shore.

For my first ever cycle ride north of the Harbour Bridge I sampled the Lake Rd cycle lanes that have generated so much local dissension.

As a confident cycle commuter, I found them great, a narrow strip of relative safety. A more-recreational cyclist believes they are "suicide lanes" for children and those of moderate cycling confidence.

"They're not safe and they cause congestion," said Fay Schaw, 69, of Devonport, out for a ride with her husband Bruce and two friends.

But this foursome, who kindly permitted me to tag on to their morning ride, are enthusiastic about cycling in the quieter parts of their suburb.

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Before I met them I had noticed a sort-of cycle lane painted on the Lake Rd footpath and on the road and footpath from Winscombe St, beside Narrow Neck Beach, and past the inviting Vauxhall Rd cafes to Torpedo Bay. After that I was stumped for cycle action - until I spied Bruce's fluoro vest and hunted him down.

Team Schaw led me to the mid-point of the Devonport-to-Takapuna Ride which, had I done more research, I would have seen highlighted on the Auckland Transport website.

The route is a mix of back-alleys, quieter streets and shared cycle and pedestrian paths. It leads you bay-hopping across the suburbs that extend into Waitemata Harbour.

Broken asphalt tests my hard, skinny tyres on the pull up to Ngataringa Rd. We plunge downhill to Plymouth Reserve before our roller-coaster path drags us over Bayswater and to a flash bridge, then on through Northboro Reserve to the final climb up to Esmonde Rd. My circuit has taken me 16km in just over an hour.