Cycling enthusiasts got up early this morning to ride on the Mapua Ferry for the inaugural cycle commuting service from Mapua to Rabbit Island.
Avid cyclist Roger Waddell, together with Mapua Ferry, the Tasman District Council and Bicycle Nelson Bays organised the first commuter crossing that will run every Friday until Easter.
The man behind the initiative, Roger Waddell, said he was motivated because he was a great cycling enthusiast, he lived in Mapua and he was generally passionate about getting people on bikes.
"When petrol is $3 a litre and living so close to Richmond, it seems more viable for me, especially when you take traffic congestion into account.
"Where else can you commute via beaches, forests, mountains and not be smug?"
"I think it's just such a cool way to get to work that is pleasant, avoids traffic, it's healthy and it's environmentally friendly."
It was also a great way to celebrate the end of Bike Wise month.
He hoped the initiative would take off and maybe in a year or so it would be well ingrained as a form of viable transportation, he said.
He was also proud to see his daughter flying the bicycle flag high.
While 16-year-old Briar Smith-Waddell was primarily out today to support her dad, she loved biking and thought it was a really great idea.
She predicted the ride to Waimea College would take about 45 minutes.
Tracy Waddington, who was one of the eight commuters onboard, said while she was not a regular cyclist she was very keen on supporting the idea.
If she found she could complete the ride to work easily, she would consider riding more often.
Mapua Ferry Nelson owner and operator Andrew Schwass said while he was a supporter of the initiative, he had to make sure it was financially feasible from a business point of view.
"I've got to start work three hours earlier and travel all the way from Appleby."
After owning the business for 1 years, he found he was only breaking even. "Now that the council has cut the funding of the Great Taste Trail, it has thrown another dimension into the viability of the Mapua Ferry.
"I would be lying if I said I was not worried. Our business really relies on the trail."
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