Editorial: Cycle tracks real asset for region

This morning at 5.30am I was on my bike. I'll be on it again tomorrow at the same time.

I don't own any skin-tight cycling clobber. Nor do I own much of a bicycle, just one of those easy-rider roadster bikes with a comfy seat.

In serious cycling circles, I'd be considered a bit of a joke.

But that doesn't stop me getting on my bike every morning before work. The fact that I have a fabulous limestone cycling pathway along the coast from my home has made the morning bike ride an irresistible ritual.

I only tackle a tiny part of Hawke's Bay's 187-kilometre cycle track network before heading home for a hot cuppa and a slice of toast, then it's off to work.

But what a way to wake up and on a morning like we had today, with the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean in one of its gentler moods, well, you'd be hard to beat the experience anywhere in the world.

So I tend to agree with Brian Fisher, the owner of Fish Bikes on Napier's Marine Parade, when he says the Bay's now extensive network of cycle tracks is far more than just a tourist attraction.

Of course, the tracks will become an increasingly important lure for tourists - perhaps more so than many locals believe.

The Otago Rail Trail has boomed, showing just how big a demand there is for cycling tourism from both domestic and overseas visitors. Hawke's Bay can now offer its own unique cycling experience for tourists. They can explore the entire region, its cities, villages, vineyards, coast and country on two wheels. They can plan their own (ahem) bespoke bicycling adventure depending on their wants and needs.

The Bay's cycling tracks offer options for everyone from age 8 to 80, in fact you could be younger or older even than that and still have a great holiday adventure providing you are fit.

We should expect to see cycling tourism boom in the Bay and we must applaud the combined councils and community groups who have made the network of tracks a reality.

That will be great for businesses such as the one run by Mr Fisher but he is also keen to see more Bay locals on the bike tracks. As he comments in Hawke's Bay Today (see story p4), the cycle track network is an asset for the entire Bay.

"It's okay talking about it from a tourism point of view but I think what we need to do now is get Hawke's Bay people to cycle to work every day," he says.

Well, I might not get quite as far as work every morning but I can certainly recommend a daily outing on two wheels.

From Hawke's Bay Today