A proliferation of e-bike sales has put Coromandel cycling businesses among the winners of lockdown as people who were forced to drop their overseas winter holiday redirect those savings into a two-wheel revolution.

"Don't underestimate the power of the local tourists," says Chris Coombes, of Whangamata business Paddle and Pedal, who has sold 30 bikes in the last two weeks post-lockdown.

"The first three days of this month was our entire turnover from last year. We had no turnover in April, but just the boom post the lockdown period in cycling has been pretty significant.

"This month has offset, for us, the loss in that whole March-April period, which is Beach Hop, Easter, school holidays and Anzac Day. So that's a big thing."


Chris says from a business point of view if people have one product to sell, they are not going to survive in this region.

His business has always maintained three products - cycles, mowers and watersports which he bought in because it "padded out" other sectors. He also does guided SUP and kayak tours, and hire.

"I'm pretty comfortable going forward from here. We've lost all our international tourists, but we'll gain all the inbound tourists.

"And a key thing is the people that would normally be spending overseas have made no secret of the fact that that money is now buying an e-bike, a kayak or a SUP, but mostly in e-bikes."

His customers are generally 60-65 plus age groups investing in their health buying e-bikes to keep themselves moving and to have more fun than slogging up and down hills.

"In Whangamata, we're locked in by hills, so as soon as you throw an e-bike in you can ride to Onemana or ride to Tairua even for the day.

"With electric bikes, the benefits are so much better. The whole cycling thing in the Coromandel region is on the up," he says.

"Our proportion per head of population is totally out of kilter with the rest of New Zealand. That's because most people come from the cities where time is of the essence, and they come here and want to ride a bike with the locals."


Waihi Sports and Cycles owner Shane Mouat has also seen a surge in interest. "We've had a tonne of enquiries in e-bikes, our biggest problem is getting them," he says. "I've got standard bikes and I'm just about out of them. I've just about cleared my floor of bikes at the moment."

Shane faced the challenge of covering costs from lockdown closure with having to buy in stock but said his business had been helped by diversifying to fishing products and mobility scooters.

"May has always been the best month for snapper fishing and we do mobility scooters as well. It's juggling, you have to keep your eye on it."

Chris' growth in sales has required a subsequent investment in stock levels by a third, with e-bikes costing up to $6000 retail each. "You have to react to it."

He says investment in infrastructure like the Hauraki Rail Trail has contributed to the rise in cycling.

Chris and fellow local Steve Bagnall have created a cycling group on Sunday mornings that will allow people to ride out of town safely.

"We've had 20 people who've immediately said they're going to be there, we might get 40."

The Whangamata group rides on Sunday morning at 25km/hr speeds on the road, while mountain biking with lights is held on Wednesday nights at Whangamata Mountain Bike Park and a 4pm Thursday group caters to women wanting to mountain bike together.