Kaiteriteri-Mapua section of cycle trail put to the test
A keen, snow-sharpened wind off the Arthur Range did not chill Jonathan Kennett's enthusiasm for Tasman's cycle trail between Kaiteriteri and Mapua.
"It's rideable now," said Kennett, the project manager for the NZ Cycle Trails. "It just needs a bit of fine tuning."
With backup riders Dugald Ley, Tasman District Council's cycle trail project manager, and Stuart Hughes, the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust's project manager, Kennett stood no chance of getting lost during his final inspection ride yesterday.
"I need to test if someone with no knowledge of the area can ride the trail and not get lost - directions are after all the biggest cause of arguments between couples."
Kennett also checked grades, trail surfaces and the availability of toilets while getting to enjoy the changing scenery from fresh-snow covered mountains to Kaiteriteri's sandy coves.
The easier the trails were to ride, the more people would ride them, he said.
It's not Kennett's first visit to the region. He has already ridden between Richmond and Kaiteriteri and Richmond and Wakefield to check on progress and sign off on completed sections.
He raved about the experience and the changes he has seen. "This section has really been transformed from what I saw six months ago," Kennett said of the Kaiteriteri to Mapua trail.
"The other thing I have experienced on the Tasman trail is the number of really good cafes and shops - which is what you would expect to experience on the Great Taste Cycle Trail.
"The number of businesses which have engaged with the project is the main strength of this region's trail. You have 170 businesses signed up now - more than any other trail in the country."
Hughes and Ley said many landowners had been especially accommodating, offering to move fences and supplying machinery to carry out the work so the trail could get away from roads.
Kennett said he had seen similar community support in the other trails he was involved with around the country. He hoped the Tasman District Council would be successful in gaining some government funding to help complete its trail.
"Finished ones always return more to the local economy."
The Hauraki Rail Trail, near Waihi, had returned some $5.2 million into the local economy in its first year of operation, he said.
"After all, all cyclists need is a hot shower, good food, a warm bed and cold beer," Kennett said.
"And good wine," Hughes added as the trio headed downhill from the Tasman View summit with the wind behind them.
The Nelson Mail