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Cycling

FIVE Most enjoyable bike rides

As a keen and regular cyclist in the Mercury Bay Region for a number of years, the Editor has asked me to contribute a few words for both locals and visitors alike about some of the most enjoyable cycle rides to be had over the Christmas and summer holiday period. 
 |  Jack Biddle  |  ,

Sadly, you wouldn’t call Whitianga an overly friendly cycling town, because there is a lack of a dedicated joined cycling network to cater for those who simply enjoy a cycle outing ridden on a well-maintained pathway and separated from an ever-increasing vehicle traffic count. Obviously, over the holiday periods that traffic flow only gets heavier, so one tip from the outset is to always ride in single file and if you are new to cycling, stay away from the main roads especially if you are riding with the company of young children.    

1.Relax at Cooks Beach

For a nice relaxing ride – jump on the ferry at Whitianga and head to Cooks Beach where you will find flat and quiet roads to explore the beautiful surroundings. At the Southern end of the beach there is a delightful picnic area leading to the Purangi estuary.  Set the bike down, take a dip or walk the beach before heading back for the return ferry ride to Whitianga. From the ferry it’s around 3 kilometres on what can be at times a busy road to the turnoff to Cooks Beach with once again no cycle specific lanes to separate vehicles and cyclists. The ride to Cooks Beach and return to Ferry is around 15 kilometres but can be extended to at least double that if you wish to detour into the recently developed Longreach subdivision or ride the total length of Cooks Beach.     

2. The Whitianga Bike Park

For family groups that include young children, the local Bike Park located in Moewai Road is a great destination. It’s an easy bike ride from town and cyclists can use one of the few dedicated wide pathways on offer that runs parallel to SH25. A dismount is recommended to cross the main road opposite the airport before heading up to the Bike Park located at the end of Moewai Road. It’s an industrial area which tends to be very quiet in weekends, and in holiday periods.  

The Bike Park which is operated and maintained on a volunteer basis has a number of trails and obstacle courses while the BMX track is always enjoyed by a wide age group. Loan bikes and helmets are on offer for kids at no cost. Don’t expect a state-of-the-art facility but it’s an idyllic setting for a family picnic in beautiful surroundings plus there are walking trails to explore as an added bonus. Entry is free with donations gladly accepted and appreciated. 

3. Kaimarama Road If you don’t mind riding on a maintained gravel surface and love the tranquillity of a rural landscape then there are a couple of options. Kaimarama Road is around 6 kilometres from town heading south which once again includes a main SH25 ride or a 5-minute drive by car. Once on the Kaimarama Road, which is sealed in parts, cyclists will enjoy a mainly flat out-and-back ride totalling around 10 kilometres.  Mill Creek Road is another hidden gem for cyclists with bikes more suited to gravel surfaces and is located a couple of kilometres past Kaimarama Road on SH25. It’s another approximately 10 kilometre total out and back flat ride taking in picturesque farm land, surrounding hills and quiet country roads. 

4.Waterways 

A look at the ongoing development of the waterway canals by bike is always a nice casual way to spend time in Whitianga and while it’s another shared road experience there are a couple of wide pathways to divert onto.  

5.Head to Coroglen 

For active, keen and experienced road cyclists, an anti-clockwise loop ride is a staple outing for locals starting in Whitianga and heading out to Coroglen, Whenuakite, Purangi, Cooks Beach, Ferry Landing and finishing with a short ferry ride back to Whitianga. It’s a total ride of around 45 kilometres which is at times, undertaken on roads with little to no safety shoulders for cyclists to move into in busy times, so extreme care is recommended. Once again single file is the only way to safely ride this route.

 

WHITIANGA BIKE SHOP The local bike shop in Coghill Street, Whitianga is open over the Christmas New Year period and they are only too willing to carry out a repair or fix a puncture at short notice where possible. Phone ahead to check work load etc is always recommended (07 866 0745).

Enjoy your travels by bike, take care and pick a route that best suits your experience and ability.