Tales from the Trail
Kaiapoi Cycling Folk

It’s never too late to ride a bike…

Regardless of age, fitness, or the list of aches and pains, most people can enjoy the freedom, fun and health benefits of biking. Cycling can improve cholesterol and memory and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It’s an ideal exercise to improve strength and balance, has low impact on joints, and many of us will cycle well into our 70’s and beyond.

Biking is also a great social activity, so encourage family and friends to ride with you. Joining a bike club can also help improve skills, and you’ll meet likeminded cyclists to ride with on the trails. Biking with friends offers extra support and encouragement to meet new goals, and places you might not have tackled alone become achievable for your group.

Photo credit: Richard Nichol – Kaiapoi Cycling Folk 

The Kaiapoi Cycling Folk Group…

One such group is the Kaiapoi Cycling Folk from the Waimakariri District in Canterbury. The social cycling group originally set out to undertake 30km bike rides and return home by lunch. But with many of the group on e-bikes, the crew often cycle further. They range in age from 60 to late 70’s and are a mix of men and women. We hear they’re also into tasty food, cycling holidays, adventure rides, and have been known to enjoy a drink or two and sing a few songs badly (their words not ours).

They have completed several rides in the North Island, including The Rimutaka Cycle Trail, Timber Trail, and Forgotten Highway. Adventures in the South Island include, The Otago Central Rail Trail, West Coast Wilderness Trail, Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, and Around the Mountains Cycle Trail. Each trail offers something great for the group, who recently rode the open Sections of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail, adding on Jackson Bay and Lake Brunner to make the most of their time in the Top of the South.

Photo: Kaiapoi Cycling Folk enjoying the Pūwaha Section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail

A West Coast Adventure…

The Kaiapoi Cycling Folk recently spent five days in total on the West Coast. Initially a couple of days on the coast in Lake Brunner and Greymouth, and then Westport for two nights. Several of the group stayed for three nights, making their base at the Buller Bridge Motel.

Previously, Nigel Cook and Caroline Davidson visited Westport and rode the Trail before bringing the group over. Nigel Cook told us, “We find the locals to be friendly, and the Trail is fantastic. Gibbys make a good breakfast and coffee too. One highlight during our stay was a campfire on the beach, together with some particularly good fish and chips! Some folks also really enjoyed a trip to the Northern Buller Museum in Granity, exploring the exhibits over two hours.”

Photo: The Kaiapoi Cycling Folk fueling up at Gibbys in Westport

The wider group also expressed their love of the Trail, citing positive experiences relating to the easy trail surface, rest areas, and excellent heritage and interpretation panels, with everyone keen to return and ride the full 50km Trail once complete. Nigel expressed a hope in future for an added ride which might extend out of Westport. With the Kawatiri Trails, there is the potential to head north, eventually connecting with other walking and cycling tracks.

Once the Trail is complete there will be supported tours available, offering planning, transport, and local knowledge. Similarly, there will be bike hire, luggage transfers, shuttle options, accommodation and eateries to support and encourage visitors to incorporate overnight stops.

Photo: The Kaiapoi Cycling Folk 

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