Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Great Rides" Coming to NZ

Photo: Real Adventures

No, it has nothing to do with improving Kiwi sex lives. It's the next step in the evolution of our Prime Minister's "cycling route the length of the country" plan.

That plan was hatched at a summit about employment back in February. While a long-distance cycling route along the whole country had a nice ring to it, the PM backed off when someone painted a $300 million price tag on it.

Instead, we are now looking at $50 million committed to a series of scenic, multi-day cycling routes throughout New Zealand, to be known as the "Great Rides".

This comes off the back of the hugely successful "Great Walks" which have brought hikers from around the world to New Zealand to experience some of our best scenery on foot. The rides will no doubt be aggressively marketed in the same way, and look to keep people in the country for longer, and visiting more parts of the country when they come.

No announcements have been made yet about where these Great Rides will be. Every community or region with a cycling route that could use some upgrades, or a disused rail line that could be converted into a cycling route, is now lobbying for their share of the cash.

It will be fascinating to see what comes of this, and whether New Zealand becomes as well known for cycling holidays as it now is for "tramping".

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