Bikes try Hamilton's Western Rail Trail on opening day video

Stuff.co.nz

Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Hamilton Mayor Andrew King opened the multi-million dollar Western Rail Trail. The 2.7km shared pathway links Hamilton’s south western suburbs with the city centre.

The crowd stepped back and Karaitiana Tauhara rode up with a pair of scissors in his bike basket.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges helped him snip the ribbon at Hamilton's Norris Ward Park and open the $6.7 million Western Rail Trail on Friday morning.

The 2.7km shared path runs along the rail corridor to link the city's southwestern suburbs with the city centre.

Karaitiana Tauhara, 5, delivered the ribbon-cutting scissors to open the Western Rail Trail.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Karaitiana Tauhara, 5, delivered the ribbon-cutting scissors to open the Western Rail Trail.

And, his part in the ceremony over, five-year-old Karaitiana was among the first to test it.

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The Melville Primary student rides his bike every day, and wore a helmet bearing his own design.

The 2.7km shared path links the city's southwestern suburbs with the city centre. Rhode Street School students came to ...
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The 2.7km shared path links the city's southwestern suburbs with the city centre. Rhode Street School students came to try it out.

"It's my friends [on the helmet]," he said.

Bridges, who also went for a spin on the path, congratulated workers for completing it speedily, recalling his visit to turn the first sod in August 2016.

"[Former mayor] Julie [Hardaker] and I were here, literally, was it even six months ago? And you've done it."

Hamilton Mayor, Andrew King, transport minister Simon Bridges and Hamilton East MP David Bennett didn't want to be left ...
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Hamilton Mayor, Andrew King, transport minister Simon Bridges and Hamilton East MP David Bennett didn't want to be left out of the fun.

Thousands of people would use the trail, he said.

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Mayor Andrew King told the crowd biking is close to his heart, as his son Malcolm is a professional triathlete.

Hamilton City Council approved a $920,000 funding boost for the rail trail in December 2016.

Former Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer was at the opening and said projects like this could help lure back a lost generation, who see road cycling as dangerous.

And the Western Rail Trail would eventually connect with the Te Awa Cycleway.

Funding for the trail has come from a variety of sources: a contribution from the Government's Urban Cycleways Fund, the NZ Transport Agency and Hamilton City Council.

 - Stuff

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