The ‘Waimarama Road off-road cycle trail’ officially opened on Tuesday.
A minor improvement immediately comes to mind — it needs a more accurate, if not more inviting name. Maybe a naming contest is in order?
One could as readily and correctly say this trail goes to Ocean Beach, Clifton (the long way!) or Elsthorpe. How about the ‘Mad Mile Cycleway’?
As someone who drives almost daily from ‘Waimarama’ (actually the Red Bridge) over ‘that dangerous hill’ that separates us country folk from the big cities of Havelock North, Hastings, Clive and Napier, I’ve watched the evolution of the trail with great interest.
And a certain amount of skepticism.
Over the 16 years I’ve been driving this beautiful stretch of road, I’ve rarely encountered cyclists. And at least 90% of those I do see are lycra-lads, which means they are riding on narrow tyres that will never touch this or any other limestone path.
So they’ll keep using the road, but usually in groups large enough to provide a bit of visibility and safety. I’m all for their enjoyment of the open road … and always give a wide margin.
With the advent of the new 2.5km off-road trail, a marvel of cliffside gouging and engineering, maybe the “Build it and they will come” aspirations of trail promoters will be realised and the handful of fat-wheel cyclists will blossom into a regular convoy … encouraged as well by the timely surge in electric bikes.
I hope so. Both for safety and to recoup the $717,000 cost, of which $323,500 has been paid by the Hastings and Regional Councils.
And I do applaud the civic-minded landowners who have cooperated in making this cycleway possible.
Of course I would like to see hundreds, thousands of mums and dads and kids safely traverse the sides of Te Mata Peak, cruise wistfully by Craggy Range and — hopefully if not pulverised on Red Bridge itself — enjoy a refreshment at Red Bridge Coffee.
And maybe a very hardy handful will throw caution to the wind and with electric assistance continue the hilly and life-threatening journey all the way — 18.7km — to the trail’s namesake terminal, Waimarama, in time for some delectable chips at Waimarama Store.