New cycle trail provides access to 'little gems'
The first leg of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is almost complete, prompting a few riders to take a sneak peek this week.
Clutha-Southland MP Bill English joined Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms and Southland District councillor John Douglas for the 12.5-kilometre Kingston-to-Fairlight ride on Wednesday.
With them were pink-adorned riders from the Lumsden-based group FBG (Fat Bottom Girls), along with engineers who have been working on the project and several local business owners.
Around the Mountain Cycle Trail Ltd director Mike Barnett said the Kingston-Fairlight section of the $8 million trail, from Kingston to Lumsden, through Mossburn and the Mavora Lakes to Walter Peak Station and Lake Wakatipu, was 90 per cent complete.
It was a Southland District Council and central Government initiative born from Prime Minister John Key's nationwide cycle trail plan.
Mr Douglas, an experienced cyclist, said he was impressed with the flat-terrain track.
"The surface is smooth, hard and fast and that's ideal for cyclists of all ability. There's no excuses now."
One cyclist took part on an electric bike. "There are so many opportunities for people to be able to do this."
Part of the trail was through productive farm land, another section up against the Eyre Mountains, and the group discovered a valley that would make a great picnic spot.
"These are areas and opportunities the average Joe Bloggs doesn't get to see. This trail opens up those little gems."
He loved the track as a cyclist, but was also excited by the economic and social benefits.
There is no official opening date for the trail.
The Southland Times