The government said that work on the first seven cycle tracks which were promised earlier this year will start in the summer. This will cost $9 million. Another $41 million will be spent later. Together these cycle tracks will be called “The Great Rides”. (Listen to May 24th 2009)
These cycle tracks will probably be used by Australian tourists and Kiwis who enjoy mountain biking. Already we have a very popular cycle track in Central Otago which brings in around $7 million to the local economy. Hotels and restaurants along the way provide jobs to local people.
Five of these new cycleways will be in the North Island and two in the South Island. These are the North Island ones: in the Far North, a 90km track from the west coast to the east coast; Coromandel from Paeroa to the sea: along the Waikato River; the Central North Island Rail Trail; Mt Ruapehu along the Whanganui River to the sea. In the South Island, St James near Hanmer Springs; Southland around the mountains. Some of these are flat tracks but others will be hilly. Tracks using old rail trails or along rivers are flat but all the others are hilly.
Building these cycleways will provide jobs for about 300 people.