Hundreds of cyclists join two mayors to launch Great Harbour Way

The Great Harbour Way will provide a cycleway and walkway to link Wellington and Lower Hutt, so it was logical that the newly-elected leaders of the two cities – Celia Wade-Brown of Wellington (right) and Ray Wallace of Lower Hutt (centre) – took part in this morning’s mayoral ride.

Several hundred cyclists accepted the invitation from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and gathered under the sails on Queens Wharf in readiness for the ride.

Some of them will have been aware that the Wellington City Council’s waterfront company has announced the really bad idea of reducing the size of this open space so that it can enlarge one of the buildings on its edge – an idea which the new council must surely oppose.

Watched by the Duke of Wellington, the mayor removed her cycling helmet before she spoke to the crowd about her hopes for the Great Harbour Way. When it’s completed, it will run from Pencarrow round the edge of the harbour to the South Coast and on to Red Rocks. A brilliant idea.

The mayor’s speech indicated that while councils on both sides of Wellington Harbour support the project, some powerful government agencies, notably the slow-moving New Zealand Transport Agency, have not yet been fully persuaded. The Agency is considering a “triangle” report which should make it try harder to do what the two cities want.

There were plenty of young cyclists in this morning’s crowd.

Let’s hope that the slow-moving government agencies have been convinced to support the project before the children have grown up.

After the speeches, it was time for the great mayoral ride to begin.

The cyclists were organised at the starting line in groups of 20 – so they wouldn’t frighten Sunday-morning strollers. They’d each been given a cycling bell, and hundreds of bells were rung as the cyclists pedalled away.

They were told not to ride more than two abreast, and to keep well away from pedestrians.

They set off along the harbour promenade and on past Oriental Bay – this morning’s ride was due to end at Shelley Bay or Seatoun, where some riders were going to take the harbour ferry back to the city.

It was the start of an informal, cheerful and successful Sunday morning event for Wellington’s new-style cycle-riding Mayor.

From Wellington Scoop


I've also posted on the event at the Cycling in Wellington blog...