Bikes try Hamilton's Western Rail Trail on opening day
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.
And, his part in the ceremony over, five-year-old Karaitiana was among the first to test it.
The Melville Primary student rides his bike every day, and wore a helmet bearing his own design.
"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."
Thousands of people would use the trail, he said.
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.