27 year old Luke Alexander from Cape Foulwind faces challenges that have seen the young adventurer having to rely on neighbours, family and friends to get around. However all that has changed with an e-Bike.
The Kawatiri Coastal Trail terrain is wide, flat and smooth for most of the way, making it a safe and ideal trail to ride an e-bike. They can be ridden with a combination of pedal power and battery power, and some have a throttle which offer power without pedalling.
With his new found independence and new lease of life, Luke has notched up an impressive 1,000kms on the Trail since getting his bike last November.
We asked Luke to tell us about his new set of wheels, how they’ve changed his life, and what he loves most about riding the Trail.
Photo: Luke Alexander
How has your e-bike and the Trail given you a new lease of life?
I’ve been making the easy ride to town up to three times a week. I feel safe on the Trail and love the social interaction with the folk I meet along the way. I can now ride to see my Mum and Dad (and raid their fridge). The opening of the Omau Section was great timing as it coincided with my parents moving to Tauranga Bay. It takes me just 10-12 minutes to cycle from Cape Foulwind to the Bay, which is great.
What does having the Trail on your doorstep mean to you, and others who face similar challenges?
I no longer need to rely on anyone, which means I’m independent. I used to have to ask friends and family or neighbours to take me. Now I can go whenever I want to, and get fresh air and exercise which is good for me too. I now use the Omau Section to visit family independently, and I’m looking forward to the Ōkari Section opening, so I can visit my friends the Brownlee’s.
How important is the Trail’s terrain for you in order to undertake your rides?
The way the Trail has been built makes it really easy for me to bike to town a few times a week, and visit my Mum and Dad, sometimes all in one day. It’s smooth, wide and I feel safer biking off-road. I’m pleased to say I haven’t had any accidents on the e-bike so far. And I always take my high vis vest, a bottle of water, lock and power cord for the bike whenever I set off.
Photo credit: Diane Chandler – Omau Section
Have you ridden other cycle trails?
I’ve biked some of the Kawatiri River Trails and at the Domain. It was great when the Pūwaha Section opened and I got to explore somewhere new. I make sure I scan all of the QR Codes which are along the Trail too.
With 9 Sections of Trail being built, which other Sections will be on your list?
The Ōkari Section to head over to the Brownlee’s, and I’m looking forward to biking across the new swing bridge. I’m also on the lookout for blue penguins!
What are you looking forward to most?
Lots of things, but mostly I can’t wait for the Pūwaha, Kawau and Omau Sections to be joined, as then I’ll feel even safer biking to town. At the moment it can be a bit tricky once I’m off the Buller Bridge in town. It will be great when the River Trail links up with town and I don’t have to use the road.
Photo Credit: Diane Chandler – Kawatiri River Trails