A bell without a bicycle
A patchy history of bike riding since childhood was no bar to Prime Minister John Key receiving recognition for his services to cycling from Jane Dawson of Cycling Advocates Network.
The group said yesterday that it honoured Mr Key because his national cycle trail was such "an awesome idea". The group had hoped to get Mr Key on a bike on Parliament's forecourt to receive the award. But the prime minister's office cited time pressure before his departure for Copenhagen as the reason for his refusal.
Mr Key has admitted that despite his passion for the cycle trail project, he has not ridden a bike much since he was a child. He plans to ride one of the new trails with his family.
The cycle trail network was one project to come out of the Government's February jobs summit. The first sod was turned last month.
A 1400-kilometre series of national trails from the Far North to Bluff received $50 million in the Budget. The Government says it will create jobs as well as a big tourist attraction.
The first stretch is being constructed to ensure a Waikato River Trail is completed for next year's world rowing championships at Lake Karapiro. Work has also started on a 245km Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks trail.
Others earmarked for a quick start are the Hauraki Rail trail, a Far North trail, the Central North Island rail trail, the St James trail and one in the Southland and Queenstown Lakes area.