There were flat tyres and rusty chains and cables as far as the eye could see along New Plymouth's coastal walkway yesterday.
The Big Bike Fix-up was a popular, and free, promotion for the hundreds of people young and old whose bikes were in need of some loving care and attention.
The New Plymouth District Council dipped into its share of the funds from the Walking Cycling Model Communities to offer the basic repairs to bike owners for four hours at the windwand, the council's sustainable transport co-ordinator Nathaniel Benefield said on site.
Bike owners with more complex problems were given $25 vouchers towards the cost of repairs at a bike shop.
The fix-it troop – volunteers from bike shops, O2 Project, Mitchell Cycles and Cycle Inn – were kept hard at it getting the bikes in top shape for summer.
Mr Benefield said similar events were being held in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch as part of a national campaign organised by the Cycling Advocates Network. The North Taranaki Cycle Advocates group pitched in with the volunteers.
"The whole idea is to make sure the bikes are street legal and safe and get everyone out cycling," Mr Benefield said.
Free bike bells were handed out along with advice on how to keep left and watch your speed on the walkway.
Matt King, of Cycle Inn, was delighted with the turn-out. " It's busy but good."
The main problem he saw was rusty chains and cables. He advised people to clean their bikes after going along the foreshore. "Sea salt is incredibly damaging."
David West, of New Plymouth, was impressed with the initiative and intends to return to using his bike to travel to work.
"So many bikes are hanging up in garages and not being used."
He had four punctures in one month and gave up riding to work.
"I thought the cause was broken RTD bottles but it turned out to be a staple.
"I apologise to the drunken revellers," he joked.
It is likely another event will be held as a result of the obvious community need, Mr Benefield said.
- Taranaki Daily News
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