The original bike hire company of the Central Otago Rail Trail is coming to Tasman, with a couple of cricketers wheeling the deal.
Owners of Mapua Ferry, Andrew Schwass and Nev Grubb, along with former New Zealand international cricketer Shayne O'Connor, are this year bringing Trail Journeys to Mapua.
Grubb started the business 14 years ago, and son-in-law O'Connor joined the team as manager nine years ago. Their shared industry experience bodes well for the success of the Great Taste Trail.
"Plus, it'll be Mapua's first bike shop, which is quite special," Schwass said.
Schwass, also a former cricketer, said he always planned to offer both ferry and bike transport from Mapua.
"We see it as a long-term venture. Mapua is growing, it's an ideal base."
The bikes will be the same as those used down south - custom-designed Avanti hybrids with puncture-resistant tyres.
People would be able to book online, as well as turn up in person, Schwass said. The benefit of him also owning the ferry meant customers could organise both forms of transport at the same time.
O'Connor and his family were in the area this week to trial the trail, which he admits he hasn't yet done. Along with Grubb, he would remain based in Alexandra.
While the Rail Trail was dominated by the 45-plus age group, the Great Taste Trail would likely be more popular with families, he said. Both would provide different experiences for riders.
"Until the Rail Trail, that area in Central Otago was quite remote," he said.
"It's a different landscape. Here, it's already a holiday destination."
The trail, which currently extends to Kaiteriteri, will ultimately be a 175-kilometre loop. When finished, it will link Nelson, Richmond, Wakefield, Tapawera, Motueka and Kaiteriteri, Mapua and Rabbit Island.
Figures show more than 16,000 cyclists using the Mapua Ferry last year, and thousands riding the trail every month.
Tasman's Trail Journeys would be launched on September 28, with a party and a bike giveaway.
- The Nelson Mail
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