A Twizel-based cycle company has purchased a shuttle service in the hopes of making the Alps 2 Ocean trail journey easier for cyclists.
Cycle Journeys announced it would be purchasing The Cook Connections shuttle service in June to help with cycleway booking and support for the Alps 2 Ocean (A2O) cycle trail.
Chairman Geoff Gabites said the purchase of the shuttle company would help the trail grow as people would have the infrastructure to get to each place.
It would enable the company to provide everything for customers from bike hire, luggage transfers, accommodation booking and shuttle transport from anywhere along the trail.
“Customers need to know that they can get from Christchurch to Twizel with their bikes and get back from the end of the trail,” he said.
“Currently coverage is very piecemeal and the sector from Oamaru to Twizel / Mt Cook has no commercial service.”
There were also plans to eventually make the whole trail off-road to make it safer for those using the track, Mr Gabites said.
“There is a growing need to have as much of the trail built off-road as possible and we look forward to working with the organising committee to continue the fundraising necessary to achieve this.
“It will be important from Kurow through to Oamaru to ensure that riders feel safe and still able to enjoy the scenery without fear of sharing with other traffic.”
The Cook Connection owner Allan Gash said, after operating the company for the the last 15 years, he was glad to hand it over to Cycle Journeys, as the company would be able to develop to its full potential.
“While they will bring their greater marketing power to bear in order to grow the business, I’m sure the personal touch for which the company has become famous will not be lost.”
A2O chairman Mike Neilson said planning for the second phase of development was now under way.
Nearly $4 million will have been spent on the first phase and it was expected to be a similar amount in the second phase.
The aim was to get all the trail off-road and to have an alternative starting point from Lake Tekapo, he said.
The Alps to Ocean Cycleway is jointly owned by the Mackenzie and Waitaki District Councils and the trail officially starts from Mt Cook.