Big turnout for night ride

There were plenty of reasons not to go on the two-hour long Te Awa Light Night ride on Saturday but 1500 people decided to go anyway.

Looking after the first stop, the Craft Tent, were from left: Charlie Thompson, 11, Louie Ulmer, 11, Nina Davies-Colley 12, and sister Sylvie, 11, holding Cohan van der Scheer, 4, with his brother Emerson, 7, in front. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

A glorious day developed quickly into a bitterly chilly night and on television, the Warriors and then the All Blacks were playing.

But cyclists – some noticeably young ones on balance bikes – pedestrians and dogs made the effort and were well lit up for the event’s second year.

Getting ready for the rush are organisers and volunteers, from left Craig Rodger, Phoebe Ulmer (black helmet), Isla Trower (white helmet), Lily Cameron, Sarah Ulmer, Jen Palmer, Charlie Thompson, Emily Cameron, Louie Ulmer, Mark Thompson. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust trail manager Sarah Ulmer said the 3.5km stretch from the Velodrome to Gaslight Theatre was busy all night as were the food trucks and stalls at the start.

There seemed to be more pedestrians this year who heeded the call to keep left.

While the ride “officially” ended at 8pm, the clean-up took another hour.

Emily Cameron, Louie Ulmer and Lily Cameron behind the smokey eel, one of two James Wright sculptures on Te Awa. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Highlights were the well-lit diversion with fairy lights along the fence and lights in the concrete pipes, the two James Wright sculptures now part of the river ride art trail – Wag the dog and the smokey eel – the hot chocolate at halfway, the craft tent and a sky light show between Vogel Street and Te Awa.

Making its debut was the Riverside Adventures-Tamahere Lions e-TukTuk which allows wheelchair users to enjoy Te Awa.

People The News spoke to on the night said the event was very well run. All would support a summer version, and some said they would even look to attend the event being held in Ngāruawāhia later this month.

That light night ride starts from The Point along Waikato Esplanade to Market Street and back.

The Light Show between Vogel Street and Te Awa. Cambridge Riding for the Disabled moved the horses for the night so the public could enjoy the show. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

The stilt walkers were a popular attraction at the start along with the food trucks and stalls. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Sylvie Davies-Colley applies the bling at the Craft Tent. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The new eel artwork with its smokey display and volunteers from left: Brendon Cameron, Penny and Mark Thompson. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Ella Thompson entertains at the bottom of the Velodrome stop. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Te Awa Light Night ride. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Te Awa Light Night ride. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Craft tent in action. Te Awa Light Night ride. Photo: Supplied.

Hot chocolate time. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Te Awa Light Night ride. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Family fun and selfies at the start of the Te Awa Light Night ride. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.


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