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.

Cycle safely!

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. I belong to the Ebike Social Riders Hawkes Bay group and we cycle this route often, about every 6 weeks because it’s a favourite ride. Weather permitting, the group is planning to ride this new section next week. Several members have already tested it out and are impressed. None of us wear lycra and the majority are gold card holders. We cycle for fun and exercise. Give us a wave when you drive past.

  2. $717,000 wow, that’s a tremendous amount of money for a pathway. Surely that kind of money would be better spent on pathways to homes? What is it with Hastings DC and their fetish for leather and lycra? Te Mata Peak anyone?

  3. I’m a fat-wheel cyclist, and this ‘Mad Mile’ cycleway is going straight to the top of my list. It’s got everything that a great cycleway should have, views, interest, not too steep, and a destination at the end of it. Thank you Councils and landowners.

  4. My wife and I cycled that road over five years ago and vowed never ever to repeat that madness due to the nature of the road and the aggressive drivers that dam near killed us. The new track is a Godsend and I’m convinced it will become a real favorite with a great variety of cyclists.

  5. The “Tukituki loop” is one of the most popular ride for cyclists, whether individuals or groups, sports or leisure, electric or conventional.
    A popular version of the ride is to start at Clive, ride via Blackbridge to River Rd, then over the hill, past Craggy Range to Redbridge Cafe then back up the other side of the river to Haumoana and back to Clive.
    The new trail enhances this ride and removes the need to negotiate the least safe section…the narrow road section up the hill before descending to Craggy Range.
    Only open a week, the trail is already being well used in spite of the weather.
    A huge asset to the area which will increase numbers of visitors to an already popular attraction.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *