Cyclists getting a taste for new trail

SIMON BLOOMBERG
Last updated 13:46 31/01/2013

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The Tasman Great Taste Trail is only partly finished, but the results of a survey have shown that cyclists are already giving it rave reviews, rating the completed coastal section an 8.5 out of 10.

The first stage of the trail, a coastal section from Nelson to Mapua, was officially opened last Saturday, with a ceremony at a new suspension bridge over the Waimea River.

Although the 175-kilometre loop will be not be completed for several years, a survey of riders this month found that up to 330 riders a day have been using the coastal section.

Tasman District Council development engineer Dugald Ley said the survey, over the past two weekends, counted 330 riders at the Waimea River bridge on Sunday, January 20, and 260 riders on the "rail route" at the Wairoa Bridge last Sunday.

Mr Ley said the survey would provide baseline data for managing the trail, and the council would do follow-up surveys "to see how everything is tracking".

In addition to the big numbers, he said the satisfaction rating out of 10 for the trail was also pleasing, with riders giving it an average of 8.5 for the coastal section.

"That's very high, and quite a few riders said they didn't like the temporary section on Lower Queen St, so the rating should get better when we finish the trail behind Ravensdown. There were plenty of comments on how to improve the trail, but most just glad it's here and available."

The survey also showed that 82 per cent of the riders were from the Nelson region. Mr Ley said he expected the number of visitors to increase when the trail was completed.

He said tourists were more likely to come to Nelson to ride the entire loop, and it would take some time for marketing and promotion to have an impact.

Mr Ley said 54 per cent of the riders surveyed were between 30 and 50 years old, with 36 per cent over 50. Most were cycling in groups.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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