Thursday, 26 November 2020


BikeMercuryBay - a way of coordinating cycling in the wider Mercury Bay area

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of people out walking and cycling in recent times. It has no doubt been helped by the COVID-19 lockdown where getting out of the house to beat the boredom as much as getting some much-needed exercise was the catalyst for the increase in walking and cycling traffic. 

But with everyone now settling into a new normal post the lockdown, the numbers of those continuing to pound the local streets on foot or by turning pedals has remained very high.    

The number of people on electric bikes especially has never been higher and all indications are it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Mercury Bay is not alone, with numbers across the country reaching new heights. Greg Clark owner of the Bike Man in Coghill Street, Whitianga says business has been very good of late and around 50 percent of his new bicycle sales are for electric bikes. “It makes social cycling in particular so much more enjoyable and achievable for many, while those who thought trails and off-road cycling was beyond them are having a new lease of life,” he says. “There is also an affordable and expansive range of electric bikes to suit ones needs as well.”  

So, for those wanting to join in with other like-minded groups of cyclists of similar ability, how do they go about finding out more?  After all cycling is not all about the riding, the social side and post-ride coffee and chat are just as important.

In Mercury Bay area there are a number of different groups that fall under the umbrella of BikeMercuryBay (BMB). It’s not an official club or organisation as such. It’s made up of people who enjoy all forms of cycling and is used more as a communication network for the very social to the more competitive riders, and also the different disciplines that cycling offers. 

BMB is headed by local cycling enthusiast, Grant McDonald, and he sees it as a way of coordinating cycling in the wider Mercury Bay area. “There is no formal structure, we are just providing a hub for our various cycling groups to come together under one umbrella to help support and grow the local cycling scene,” he says. “The riding groups all use WhatsApp chat groups and organise their own schedules amongst themselves.

“New members are always welcome to become part of BMB regardless of fitness levels or past cycling experience. BMB also has a newsletter, BikeChat, that is emailed out once a month to all cyclists listed on our database, which has proven to be a huge success. Bryan Layton is the man behind the e-newsletter, which includes rider profiles, technical tips, an overview of all the different activities going on, plus riding schedules and contacts.”

Groups and contact details

Whitianga Bike Park - Work is ongoing at the Bike Park (volunteers are made most welcome) to improve existing facilities which include a BMX track and to create new mountain bike trails for all abilities.
Contact person - Jon Maud (027 366 4606).

Tour de Friends Biking - A very social group who meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday mornings and stick mainly to the flats around Whitianga. They ride around 23km in total, followed by coffee. Riders meet at the Whitianga Marina car park on The Esplanade at 9.00am and depart in groups that match fitness levels.  E-Bikers welcome.
Contact persons - Lance Cook (021 048 8475) and John Gregory (027 278 0002).

Whitianga Road Cycling - A competitive group who ride on Saturday mornings. Distances can range from 50 to 80km with regular average speeds of between 29 to 31km/h. Coffee and chat after each ride.
Contact person - Jack Biddle (027 3087 001) or Robbie Stephenson (022 182 3865).

Easy Pace Group - A semi-competitive group that is a step up from the Tour de Friends group in terms of distance and average speed. E-Bikers welcome.
Contact person - Bryan Layton (022 155 8944).

Whitianga MTB Group - A group of cyclists who enjoy riding the unsealed roads and local forestry tracks in the Mercury Bay area. 
Contact persons -  Rick Wakely (022 307 7940) and Kevin Purcell (021 939 386).

Cook Beach/Hahei Group: A group of mainly road cyclists of varying fitness levels who organise regular rides among themselves or join in with other group activities. E-Bikers welcome.
Contact persons - Marc Osborne (027 460 0052) and Shelley Osborne (027 4739 836).

For those wanting further information on BMB or receive the BikeChat newsletter, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone Grant on (022) 082 1230.

Pictured: An electric bike that is for sale at The Bike Man in Whitianga.


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