It seems there is an epidemic of bike riding in New Zealand, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your family in on the fun. Check out some of these family-friendly bike rides in Christchurch.
Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s city of cycling, with more people bike riding here than in any other city across the country.
Bottle Lake forest park
Bottle Lake Forest Park offers a great range of long and short mountain bike tracks, suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. The mountain bike tracks wind through the 1000 hectare pine forest. The terrain is largely flat, but nearer the coast, planted sand hills provide some challenge. None of the hills are very big so you can choose to walk to the top and have great fun riding down the other side. www.ccc.govt.nz
Little River rail bike trail
The Motukarara to Birdlings Flat section has been open since 2006. It is very popular with weekend visitors who enjoy a great view of the volcanic hills of the Banks Peninsula and the wetlands and wildlife associated with Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The Birdlings Flat to Little River section turns inland and follows the shore of Te Roto o Wairewa/Lake Forsyth to Little River. Total length 20kms. www.ccc.govt.nz
North Hagley park
A lovely loop around the park – just under 5kms from start to finish.
Just 10km from the city, the 3150 hectare McLeans Forest section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park is a valuable and unique natural recreational area where you can relax and enjoy a range of activities, including picnicking, mountain biking, walking and running. There is a 15.5km mountain biking track. The track is sometimes closed for forestry operations. http://ecan.govt.nz/advice/recreation-and-parks/waimakariri-park/pages/mcleans-island.aspx
Heathcote river ride
This is a scenic riverside ride which will take you meandering along the Heathcote River from Pioneer Stadium all the way to its mouth at the estuary in Ferrymead. You can cycle next to the river most of the way, from the Clarendon footbridge detour through Woolston, and then take the off road unsealed path from Rutherford Street to the Ferrymead Bridge. You will need to be on the north side of the river at Rutherford Street to be able to cross under the Tunnel Road – to do this there is a footbridge between Gould and Bamford Street.
Track status: Partially Open (from Dyers Road to Mt Pleasant the pathways are unusable).
Safety points that count the most when on a bike ride
- make sure everyone has a snugly-fitted, damage-free helmet
- wear closed-in footwear
- wear bright-coloured clothing for visibility
- take lots of water for hydration and high-energy snacks
- make sure your child is riding on the right size bike
For more great rides in your local area, contact your local council or Dept of Conservation. Thanks to BikeWise (www.bikewise.co.nz) for contributing to this article.