Bike hire in low gear despite busy cycle trail

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 13:00 04/02/2013
John and Anita Gardner
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
BRAKED: John and Anita Gardner, who have 21 bikes for hire, say users of the new cycle trail are bringing their own bikes.

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The opening of a new cycleway for the region has brought a flood of visitors but, to the dismay of one business owner, so far they have brought their own bikes.

Last weekend marked the official opening of the first stage of the Tasman Great Taste Trail, with the unveiling of the C B Kidson Bridge over Waimea River.

Nelson Cycle Hire, based in the HNZ building at Nelson Airport and owned by John and Anita Gardner, offers up to seven-day cycle hires to Nelsonians and tourists who want to travel on the new cycle trail.

Mrs Gardner used to manage boat building and repair company Dickson Marine in Port Nelson, but moved over to the cycle business in November in anticipation of the Tasman Great Taste trail opening.

The new trail could be compared to the successful Otago Rail Trail, but the Nelson region had a few advantages over Otago, she said.

"We have a longer period of nice weather, stable weather, although that's not been the case obviously in the last few months."

As well as the normally calm climate, the region had a more varied trail, and plenty of businesses keen to take advantage of the visitors.

So far the reports from visitors who had taken the trial were "glowing", she said.

"They love it. It's a great trail. People love coming to Nelson."

People enjoyed the variety, particularly the ability to stop and have a swim at beaches along the way.

But so far people were bringing their own bikes, she said.

"Which is good, that's part of what you want, but if you set up a business like ours you want to hire bikes to give to users of the trail.

"That will come in time once New Zealand hears of the trail."

Even if the cyclists had their own gear, her business could also help by picking up goods and presents they bought along the way, she said.

There was also interest in guided tours, with guides showing tourists the sites and areas that they were interested in, providing a more in-depth experience of the region than they would get without a local eye.

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