Bikes and carriage, the perfect marriage

Imagine biking to the railway station, loading your bike, and relaxing on the train ahead of a weekend ride.


Patrick Morgan

3/6/20231 min read

Imagine biking to the railway station, loading your bike, and relaxing on the train ahead of a weekend ride.

You are off to Te Kuiti to ride the Timber Trail. Or to Greymouth for the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Or Kaikoura for the Hurunui Heartland Ride.

The train includes dedicated space for bikes, comfortable seating, yummy meals and refreshments. Instead of battling traffic, you arrive relaxed and ready to ride.

After exploring cycle trails for a couple of days, the train whisks you home. Easy peasy.

This is my vision for the future of rail in New Zealand.

Trains plus bikes go together.

They combine the speed and comfort of rail, with the point-to-point convenience of biking. Less traffic congestion, less carbon, safer, and quieter. We'll get more value from our investments in cycle trails. This will create jobs, especially in the regions.

An evaluation of the New Zealand Cycle Trails in 2021 found that:

  • Over 12 months 2.2 million trips were taken on the Cycle Trail Great Rides network.

  • 98.5 percent were domestic users.

  • 27 percent of the adult population has participated in cycle tourism.

  • Health benefits of $11 million resulting from trail use for cycling, such as improved sense of wellbeing and mental health; an increased appreciation of the natural environment; and physical fitness improvements.

  • Cycle trail users brought a direct economic contribution to regions of more than $950 million.

This vision is possible. A couple of decades ago we had passenger trains throughout New Zealand, as described in André Brett and Sam van der Weerden's book, “Can’t Get There from Here”.

As New Zealand embraces a low-carbon future, let's make train plus bike tourism the easiest option.

A selection of rain plus bike trips.
  • Auckland or Wellington to Te Kuiti - Timber Trail - Taumarunui return

  • Auckland - Waikato trails

  • Wellington - Taihape - Gentle Annie - Napier - Wellington

  • Wellington - Taumarunui - Forgotten World Highway - New Plymouth - Wellington

  • Wellington - Ohakune - backroads - Papanui Junction - Hunterville - Whanganui – Wellington

  • Christchurch - Greymouth - West Coast Wilderness Trail - Hokitika – Christchurch

  • Dunedin – Middlemarch – Central Otago Rail Trail – Clyde – Lawrence – Mosgiel – Dunedin