e-bikes could top 500,000 in Auckland by 2036, so where are the best places to go riding?

Known as the city of sails, Auckland could also lay claim to being the city of trails - bike trails that is.

Snaking their way through parks and along coastlines, the city's network of tracks and cycleways provide endless riding options both within the inner city, its suburban fringe and out into regional parks.

And it's just as well. Surveys are showing the number of people in the city hopping on bikes - especially e-bikes - is rising fast.

An Auckland Transport (AT) survey estimates there are now 41,000 e-bikes in Auckland (to June 2018) while a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) report predicts that by 2036, in a best case scenario, there could be up to 1.5 million e-bikes in New Zealand with 500,000 of these in Auckland.

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The AT survey also shows a big increase in all forms of cycling. More than 500,000 people (about 38 per cent of the population) cycled at least once a month in the year to June 2018, a 3 per cent increase on the year before and 18 per cent up on 2014.

These increases, especially in e-bikes, are not unexpected according to German-based e-bike systems manufacturer Bosch which entered the New Zealand market in 2017 and has components in 70 bike brands worldwide.

The company's regional technical manager (Oceania) Cameron Burke attributes the trend both to the "great strides" being made in cycling infrastructure in Auckland and because e-bikes reduce the "sweat factor" for riders.

"For us the mobility of the future is electrified, automated and connected," says Burke.

"The e-bike leads to more movement and fewer emissions and these are important aspects for health and sustainability; this is why we want to inspire more and more people to take up e-biking."

The figures suggest this is happening. "Sales numbers for e-bikes are hard to come by, but import numbers suggest 20,000 bikes came into the country in 2017, up on the 14,000 the year before," the AT survey says. "It wouldn't be surprising if a large proportion of the total fleet is in Auckland."

So, where can all these new cyclists go riding? With the help of an Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) list following is a selection of some of the best rides – whether for going to and from work, for exercise, shopping or just getting out with family and friends.*

Tamaki Drive Promenade: Cyclists can follow the bike lane on the footpath from the edge of the city all the way out to St Heliers, a distance of about 8km. Along the way there are stunning harbour views and picturesque bays and beaches.

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Woodhill Forest: A biking mecca, this sheltered sand-based forest is one of the city's most popular adventure destinations with purpose-built tracks and jumps for both beginners and advanced riders. It is located off SH16 about a 40 minute drive to the north-west of downtown Auckland.

Pohutukawa Coast: Beginning at the Omana Regional Park, this spectacular route - up to 18km long - takes riders along beaches and through forest between Maraetai and Beachlands. Suitable for riders of any level it is about 45km south-east of Auckland city.

Hunua Ranges trails: The biking trails in this regional park located about 40 minutes from the CBD, follow lush forest, rolling farmland, waterfalls and swimming spots and range from easy to advanced levels.

Takapuna to Devonport: With cafes, beaches and shopping at both ends, this ride is a popular one. From downtown Auckland it is a short ferry ride across the harbour to historic Devonport from where the mostly paved cycle tracks wends along paths and across boardwalks and bridges for the 6km to Takapuna.

Auckland City waterfront: A short, easy cycle it enables riders to explore the central city, travel past the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter and on to Westhaven Marina.

Henderson Creek: Situated in the heart of west Auckland, this easy 7.8km path follows the creek through parks and areas of native plantings; it also links the northwestern cycleway to Henderson township.

Pakuranga Rotary shared path: Suitable for a family outing, this runs along the shoreline from Prince Regent Drive in Farm Cove to the Panmure Bridge. The 9km route is fully paved, flat and entirely off-road and features regular signposting to explain the area's historic and environmental features.

Te Tara Tahuna Estuary, Orewa: This 7.6km trail is an excellent ride for beginners or families. Located about a 40 minute drive north of the city, it features tributes to the estuary's past as a significant food gathering place for Maori and passes through a variety of environments including beach, estuary, parkland and bush.

Northwestern Cycleway: A 13km track running from Lincoln Rd in Henderson to the CBD, it is popular with people commuting to and from work. But on weekends it is also perfect for a go-slow outing with friends or family – and accesses Te Atatu Peninsula.

*Before deciding where to go e-biking, it is advisable to research the type of trail as some listed here (especially Woodhill Forest and the Hunua Ranges) are more suitable for off-road or mountain biking.