The former PM gave our cycle trails a push, writes Phil Taylor.

C'mon John, on yer bike, mate.

At the end of the day, you can't play golf all the time. The latest - and maybe one of the best - of what many people know as the John Key Bike Trails officially opens at the end of the month and the man himself won't be there.

This one is called the Twin Coast Trail. It's been a long time coming but is worth the wait. I rode it in December when the finishing touches were being added, so can vouch for it.

It goes from Opua in the Bay of Islands, to the Hokianga Harbour, and is the only one of the 22 Great Rides to cross the country.


The cycle trails became a thing because of the job summit Key initiated back in 2009 looking for ways to help the country through the global financial crisis. The idea of a bike trail the length of the country came from Graham Wall, a spruiker of flash real estate, but was shoved along by the PM.

The idea of a single trail running from Cape Reinga to Bluff was kicked to touch when they realised what it would cost and so we have the next best thing - as series of rides collectively called The New Zealand Cycle trail.

It's the thing from the jobs summit everyone knows about. Mainly because it is so tangible you can ride a bike along it

Possible reasons for Key's non-attendance:

A.) He will be playing golf in Hawaii.
B.) He is no longer Minister of Tourism, or the PM (the reason given to the Herald by his office)
C.) A series of cycle trails isn't the legacy he was hoping for. A new flag was.
D.) He hasn't ridden a bike since his Chopper was stolen from Christchurch's Jellie Park Pools in the mid-1970s (truly).

Whatever ... we're with Northlander Ray Clarke, who says Key is the man who made it happen.

Clarke took the punt a few years ago and set up a bike hire business, which should start paying him back now the Twin Coast Trail is fully open.

It may not be a flag, but the trails are already a big boost to tourism, producing $37 million a year according to a Government estimate.

For those interested in riding the length of New Zealand, go to: