Several hundred riders gathered at Mechanics Bay to ride with drug-cheat cyclist Lance Armstrong, who invited New Zealanders to join him on a fun bike ride through the streets of Auckland this morning.

Riders start to gather at Mechanics Bay to ride with Lance Armstrong. Photo / Greg Bowker
Riders start to gather at Mechanics Bay to ride with Lance Armstrong. Photo / Greg Bowker

Armstrong encouraged people on Twitter to meet him at Mechanics Bay at 6am today to do a "cruisy waterfront loop around Tamaki Drive and Cliff Road".

• LISTEN: Lance Armstrong speaks to ZB's Andrew Dickens

NewstalkZB's Andrew Dickens said many taking part in this morning's ride were there because they simply wanted to ride alongside the former Tour de France winner.

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The crowd this morning was mainly adults but children were there too and the atmosphere was one of excitement.

The pack thinned out considerably as the cyclists rode along the waterfront. A few vehicles travelled slowly behind the pack as it looped back towards Mechanics Bay, but there didn't appear to be any issues with traffic along Tamaki Drive.

Asked how the ride was Armstrong grinned.

"It was good."

He wasn't quite sure how many people there were but was happy with the turnout.

He said he's always surprised and humbled when anyone shows up - and he never knows what to expect.

He said it's nice to know he still has some support.

Throngs of people trying to get a selfie with Armstrong back at Mechanics Bay were moved by a police officer who said people at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter centre couldn't get to work with the crowds in the way.

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Andrew Patterson ready to ride alongside Lance Armstrong this morning. Photo / Tess Nichol
Andrew Patterson ready to ride alongside Lance Armstrong this morning. Photo / Tess Nichol

Andrew Patterson came as a cycling fan and an Armstrong fan.

He said Armstrong's book, It's Not About the Bike, was an inspiration to his wife when she had breast cancer and he admired the work he'd done for charity.

People gather to meet Lance Armstrong. Photo / Greg Bowker
People gather to meet Lance Armstrong. Photo / Greg Bowker

He said despite Armstrong's fall from grace he had achieved amazing things in his time as a top cyclist.

"I think it came from the top. It's a real shame but I think they've cleaned it up now. I hope they have."

He said the opportunity to ride with Armstrong was too good to pass up.

Nan Stock, a keen cycling enthusiast, said it had been a pretty special morning. Photo / Tess Nichol
Nan Stock, a keen cycling enthusiast, said it had been a pretty special morning. Photo / Tess Nichol

Nan Stock said she came along this morning "Just to be part of a big event involving Lance. He's a bit of a legend in cycling."

A keen cycling enthusiast, she said it had been a pretty special morning.

"It was really cool. It was a really cool buzz."

Armstrong admitted to doping in 2013 and was subsequently stripped of his seven Tour de France medals.

The 45-year-old American arrived in New Zealand on Sunday to film a cautionary tale for Lion Breweries.

The brewery giant, which bottles beers such as Steinlager, confirmed yesterday it had brought Lance Armstrong to the country - but wouldn't say why.

However, an email sent to Lion staff - and seen by the Herald - said Armstrong was in New Zealand for a film shoot.

Cyclists gather to ride alongside Lance Armstrong. Photo / Tess Nichol
Cyclists gather to ride alongside Lance Armstrong. Photo / Tess Nichol

"We are using Lance to tell a cautionary tale called 'The Consequence', which depicts how much you stand to lose when you pursue success at all costs.

We wanted to highlight that actions have consequences and we couldn't think of anyone better to demonstrate that than Lance," the email said.

The cyclist was stripped of seven Tour de France cycling titles and received a life ban after confessing to benefiting from a sophisticated covert doping programme.

Armstrong, who was riding with Kiwi cyclists in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges yesterday, invited others to join him doing the same ride on the edge of the city on Monday and Tuesday morning.