A pair of Taranaki men known for dressing up in old clothes and riding old bikes in a round-the-mountain cycle race gave the new Bell Block velodrome a whirl yesterday.
Noel Ashcroft and Frank Hofmans said they thought the new cycle park which officially opens this Sunday was a great addition for cyclists in the region.
"It's a great starting point for the young ones," Mr Ashcroft said.
He and Mr Hofmans have twice ridden in an around the mountain race on their 20kg single-geared vintage bikes which they bought from opshops. "It takes about 8 hours and they give us a head start because we take so long," Mr Hofmans said.
The ride around the new cycle park is considerably shorter.
A 1.75km closed road circuit and a 333-metre banked velodrome at Hickford Park replaces the old track at Rugby Park which was removed during upgrades to Yarrow Stadium in 2000.
Taranaki Velodrome Trust chairman Russell Martin said the road circuit was a fantastic addition to the track, offering a safe space for training and education as well as competition.
“Following our national competitive successes on the track over recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of track cycling, and we're looking forward to being able to train riders and host track events in Taranaki again,” he said. But it's not a free-for-all road for anything with wheels.
Scooters, skateboards, other non-bicycles and anything with a motor aren't allowed in the park.
“It has been a long process, and opening this new facility is a major achievement for both the Velodrome Trust and Taranaki's cycling community,” he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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