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Ulmer has passion for bicycle trail

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Sarah Ulmer
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

FAMILY FUN: Champion cyclist Sarah Ulmer, with daughters, Emily, left, and Lily, expects the Te Awa River Ride to be popular with families.

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Her bike may be more recreational than racer, and there's a few extra seats fixed to it these days, but Sarah Ulmer's love for cycling is unmistakable.

It was her passion for the sport which led the champion cyclist to sign up as a trustee for the Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust.

It's been a busy few months for the trust as work gets under way at two locations along the planned 70km Te Awa - The Great New Zealand River Ride.

Construction teams are currently at Lake Karapiro building a 2km section which will stretch southwards from the Mighty River Domain.

The section, which features elevated views of the lake, will eventually link with the completed 5km section connecting Leamington to the domain.

Further north, the trust has finalised plans for a 3km section at Horotiu, linking the Horotiu Bridge with the start of the Hamilton section.

The Horotiu section will also open up access to the Mangaharakeke Pa site - one of the biggest pa sites in the Waikato.

The two sections are due to be completed by April next year and Mrs Ulmer said they will give the public unparalleled views of the Waikato River.

"It's just brilliant. It's a legacy that we're creating for the region. Eventually you be able to start in Ngaruawahia and head all the way to Taupo because the Te Awa River Ride will link up with the Waikato River Trails."

Last month, Hamilton City and Waikato and Waipa district councils signed agreements committing their councils to Te Awa - The Great New Zealand River Ride.

Mrs Ulmer said the councils' backing showed the river ride was a community project.

"To have the support of these councils highlights the fact that Te Awa isn't just a Waipa thing or a Hamilton thing, it's a true Waikato experience. I think it will be a catalyst for people to get on their bikes or get walking or running.

For example, people could come out to Leamington, then scooter, bike, walk or buggy out to Lake Karapiro to watch a rowing regatta. And it's all free."

Approximately 20km of the river trail is complete, including 15km of track through Hamilton.

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- Waikato Times

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