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Ride and buy . . . Checking out some of the off-road sights in the Waitaki district are Oamaru Coffee Riders from left) Toni Grey, Noel Ward, Jo Ward, Tony Travaglia, David Grey, Paul Hyde and Stephen Wood. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Members of the Oamaru Coffee Riders group are keen to not only get back out on their bikes, but support local businesses on their rides.

Membership cards being handed out to cyclists in the group offered discounts at several North Otago businesses and were designed to encourage spending in the district, Oamaru Coffee Riders founder Terry Hannan said.

“Everything impacts on everything around here, economically,” he said.

The Oamaru Coffee Riders group offers a social bike ride, culminating with a coffee, every Wednesday and Saturday morning.

It was very informal, with a turn-up-and-ride ethos, Hannan said.

“One of the great things about our informality is we never know who’s going to turn up on any given day.

“We have no joining fees and no rules other than consideration of others – nobody gets left behind.”

Riders would often be split into groups based on fitness levels, and everyone met up for coffee afterwards, he said.

Since the group was established last year, membership had continued to grow. At present there were 45 riders in the database, but the number of cyclists on each ride could vary from five to 18.

“It would be great to have a parent or two bring their kids along for a ride. Most places we go we can allow for that,” Hannan said.

“We tend to keep away from sealed roads and higher-trafficked areas due to antipathy and danger presented from a minority of other road users.”

Lindsay McLeod joined the group when he moved to Oamaru from Dunedin last year.

“I’d done a little bit of recreational biking, so I thought it’s a good way to meet up with some people and do different things,” McLeod said.

“It’s a social thing; it’s certainly not about racing anyone.

“For people who have just bought a bike and are thinking ‘it’s not for me’ – it is for them.”

As well as encouraging cyclists to support local cafes, membership cards also offered discounts at Oamaru’s specialist cycle stores and Hannan urged local riders to use them.

“Most major brands are represented somewhere at one of the three bike shops in Oamaru.

“Anything you want you can get here in Oamaru, and if they don’t have it they can order it for you.”

For times and locations of the rides, search “Oamaru Coffee Riders” on Facebook, or contact Stephen Wood on 27 748-3784.