Home' Special Publications : Holiday Guide 21st Contents 2 ---THE NELSON MAIL Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Thejoysof cycling in Nelson
than my friends to
learn how to ride a
bike, I feel I've been
making up for lost
time ever since.
I remember the
feeling of dread
when we had cycle
safety lessons at
school in the 1990s. Along
with the Nelson Police, cycle
safety tutor Rosemary Lee-
Oldfield would come to
Central School to help us
weave through plastic road
cones strategically placed on
the front field and teach us
how to indicate. However, the
first year she came, despite
my parent's efforts, just
staying upright on the bike
was beyond me, let alone
Training wheels would
have been too
embarrassing so I
tried to feign
illness on those
early bike safety
days (the parents
never bought it)
pressure of trying
to keep my peers
from knowing how
was, I figured out the
dynamics of biking. I was
I've had all manner of bikes
over the past few decades,
from a banana-seated rusty
low-rider to mountainbikes to
retro cruisers in many
different cities. I've had a few
near-death experiences on
Auckland's too-busy roads,
have somehow accidently
biked through New York's
Times Square and puffed my
way around Edinburgh's
Arthur's Seat, and I can
honestly say, biking in
Nelson is both comforting
The inner city is flat, and
cycling up the Maitai Valley
to cool off in the river (best
spots are Smith's Ford and
Denne's Hole) is a great
I recently rode from Nelson
to Mapua with a group of
friends along the Great Taste
Trail, which was spectacular,
one of the best things I've
done in Nelson since coming
home. We started in Nelson
City, cruised along Rocks
Road, with perfect cloud
cover, then on to the start of
the off-road cycle path out by
the airport. The track is wide
and varied with plenty of
beautiful views, including the
Waimea Estuary .
Dashing through the pines
trees on the Rabbit Island
track to catch the ferry to
cross over to Mapua was
exhilarating and exhausting.
Some of the group sped ahead
to try and stall the hourly
bike ferry while the rest of us
lagged behind. We made it
just in time, bounded on to
the ferry for the five minute
cross, then piled into the
Golden Bear brewery and
cafe, feeling the brews and
mexican food were well-
deserved. If that cloud-cover
that worked so well to keep us
cool while biking had
disappeared, then a jump off
the Mapua wharf (another top
swimming spot) would have
been a perfect end to the day.
There are plenty of good
resources in Nelson where
you can learn about good bike
paths, both on and off road, as
well as mountainbike tracks,
you can start by checking
Department of Conservation
Only UNIQUE public
visits for Jan 2014
OTHER TRIPS AVAILABLE
Contact: Gary & Ellen orchard
Pelorus Tours, RD2, Picton
Phone/Fax 03 573 4203
Cycling advocate: Paul Jennings among the bikes in his Wakapuaka garage.
Photo: PATRICK HAMILTON/FAIRFAX NZ
Mountain bike tracks are graded
on their incline, tracks quality
Grade 1: Fairly flat, wide, smooth
track or gravel road.
Grade 2: Mostly flat with some
gentle climbs on smooth track
with easily avoidable obstacles
such as rocks and potholes.
Grade 3: Steep slopes and/or
avoidable obstacles possibly on
narrow track and/or with poor
traction. There may be exposure
at the track s outside edge.
Grade 4: A mixture of long, steep
climbs, narrow track, poor
traction and obstacles that are
difficult to avoid or jump over.
Generally exposed at the track s
outside edge. Most riders will find
some sections easier to walk.
Grade 5: Technically challenging.
Giant climbs, narrow track and
numerous hazards including
dangerous drop-offs, sharp
corners and difficult obstacles.
Expect walking and possibly bike
Grade 6: Downhill/free ride
specific tracks. Extremely steep
sections with large drop-offs and
other unavoidable obstacles. May
include man-made structures and
One of the best ways to see Nelson, es-
pecially over the summer, is from the
seat of a bike.
From ambling along the Great Taste
Cycle Trail for refreshment stops at local
cafes, wineries and breweries through to
intense mountain biking up the Brook,
Nelson has tracks for all abilities.
Cycle enthusiast Paul Jennings who is
the president of the Nelson Mountain-
bike Club, a member of the Tasman
Great Taste Cycle Trail Trust and has
competed for Great Britain in track cyc-
ling at the Olympics, says he's still dis-
covering great tracks in Nelson, despite
living here for the last five years.
''One of the things in our favour is the
range of tracks, there's some extreme
ones from a global scale. People move
here for the back country trails, and op-
posite to that we have the Great Taste
Trail which is 70 kilometres of grade
two, wide, flat and well-surfaced track.''
Once completed the whole track will
cover a distance of 162-175km and will
run from the Nelson Airport, to Rich-
mond, out to Tapawera, along the Motu-
eka River Valley to Riwaka, and then
back to Richmond through Motueka and
Mapua. Paul says this track is good for
all ages and abilities and will be good for
day trips, or overnight.
And while off-road tracks like this are
great for tourism, Paul says they are also
''opening up little networks through the com-
''The slower pace of riding means you're
more inclined to say hello and see people,
people are getting out of their cars and
interacting more with their natural environ-
If it's a more adventurous ride
you're after, once again Nelson has
something for all abilities.
For young kids, Paul recommends
heading out to Rabbit Island. There's
an off road track which is pretty flat
and goes through the pine trees.
Teenagers wanting to get into
mountain biking should try parts of
Codgers track up Brook Street.
''It's a great place, there's a range
of tracks, and there's Dun Mountain.
There's grade three to five tracks,
but there's good places to learn in
there. The Dun is fantastic, you go to
an Alpine environment, then drop
down to the Maitai valley, It's pro-
fessionally built and well-graded.''
For those really into their biking
he says the back country up around
the Maitai Dam has world-class
For novices, Paul says you need to
start somewhere you'll enjoy your-
self which is not too hard.
You also need to be able to fix a
puncture, and know the basics of
how your bike works.
Village Mall, Mapua - Phone/Fax 03 540 2799
OPEN 7 DAYS
Cover photo: Enjoy the scenery of the Nelson
region on your bike.
Photo: ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
Bookworms can head along to the Elma Turner
Library on Thursday from 6.15pm to chat about read-
ing, play some games and enjoy light refreshments,
games and discussions. The theme will be #ques-
tread -- so anything goes.
Nelson Outdoor Summer Theatre comes to Fair-
field, from this Friday until next Sunday, January 31.
You can pack a picnic and head to Fairfield House to
see the Body in Space Theatre Company present The
Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas classic story
sliced, diced and served on the point of a sword.
Donation entry, every day at 6:30pm, and 2pm this
Friday night is for dancing, and you can do so at the
Boathouse with the Moondog Gypsy Blues Band, who
play blues with a kick of rockabilly and something
shameless. With a combination of howling covers
and originals, Moondog has been playing blues for
over 35 years and is influenced by Lightning Hopkins
and Tom Waits. From 8pm, $20 entry on the door.
Tease up your hair, wear your tightest jeans and
rock along to Paul Madsen s Queen tribute night at
The Playhouse this Saturday. Expect all the classics
like We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody and We
Are the Champions. Paul Madsen gained fame when
he performed on TV show Stars In Their Eyes and
has been playing venues around the country for over
20 years. Entry is $20, a buffet dinner is an ad-
ditional $35. Dinner starts from 6pm, the show is at
8pm. Dancing and bar open till midnight.
Local singer-songwriters Jacquie Walters and Steve
Mitchell are joining forces in a fundraising gig to
assist the Philippines aid effort following the devas-
tating typhoon last year. They will each play an indi-
vidual set each and then join together for a few
duets. The concert starts at 3pm this Sunday at the
Yurt at The Free House. There will be a $10 door
charge with all money raised going to the Red Cross
for the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort.
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