More than 1400 people used the new 4.5km Waipā section of the Te Awa River Ride on the weekend, including the council’s chief executive.
Garry Dyet and wife Donna parked their car at the Cambridge Gaslight Theatre, rode through to Hooker Road and back again before grabbing a refreshing drink at the Velodrome.
The couple recently completed a week-long bike tour in the South Island so are keen to keep the participation levels up on their e-bikes.
Another couple tried a different way of using the $6.7 million shared ride which includes three bridges, 5.4kms of concreted footpath and 1.2kms of timber boardwalk.
Elizabeth and Ian Hicks put their pack rafts in at the boat ramp below Fergusson “Low Level” Bridge and had a nice relaxing paddle 7kms down the Waikato River to the second picnic area by the waterfall.
The pack rafts weigh just over 2kg, can fold up and get put into a day pack.
Elizabeth said the couple planned to do other river trips.
“It is always better to walk up stream and then paddle back down. In preparation for this trip, we biked the new section of the Te Awa trail during the week to check out the condition of the river and the places we could safely get out of the river,” she said.
Their next trip would be a paddle all the way to Hamilton Gardens where they will treat themselves to lunch and then catch the bus back to Cambridge.
Te Awa Ride trustee and former Olympic cycling gold medallist Sarah Ulmer and partner Brendon Cameron, a former Commonwealth Games cycling medallist and high performance coach, were also out on the ride but for a different reason.
They were tidying up signage and identifying tagging, which has already begun to appear.
Ulmer said she was annoyed at the tagging and appealed to ride users to report anything they saw to the council.
Meanwhile securing a 19ha Maungatautari property for the extension of the Te Awa River Ride from Karāpiro to Waipuke Park completes a long-held Waipā District Council vision.
The council bought 40ha of land in 2001 at Waipuke to create a swimming, picnicking and kayaking spot for Waipā residents and their families.
Since opening the park in 2015, the council have added accessways and a playground.
Property Projects manager John Miles told the Cambridge Community Board last week the new property adjoins Waipuke.
“The key was to buy it while it was on the market, to get it for a cycle route. We’ve got the land, it’s just a matter of getting the funding in the Long Term Plan to tidy up that piece of track,” he said.
The ride in the Waipā district would take people from Whakanui Stud to Waipuke, he said.
“So go on your bike and go for a ride,” said Miles.