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Business to beat recession by blazing new trails

Media Release
Takaro Trails

1 September 2009
For Immediate Release

Blazing new trails

Business duo determined to beat recession by blazing new trails

A global recession and the turndown in tourism hasn’t daunted two women determined to kick start a new biking business.

Next month Jenny Ryan and Christine Gavegan launch their cycling tour company Takaro Trails, a first for Hawke’s Bay and an exciting addition to the country’s tourism experiences.

Self-guided cycle tours form the basis of the new business, with itineraries that include a day mountain biking on cross country trails and three or five-day tours of farmland, vineyards and villages.

For biking enthusiast Jenny Ryan it’s a refreshing and invigorating way to holiday, perfect for experienced cyclists or first-timers keen to explore the unique diversity of Hawke's Bay by bike.

“When I was on a cycle tour in Provence a few years back I realised Hawke’s Bay is the ‘Provence of New Zealand’ with its climate, gorgeous countryside and gourmet produce,” says Jenny.

“What could be better than being outside in a beautiful place on a bike with fabulous food and wine to savour along the way!”

Relocating from Auckland to Hawke’s Bay was central to Jenny’s long term plans, so she had to create an opportunity for herself in the region. This goal was reinforced by a determination to be in control of her destiny after the experience of working for a big corporate in recessionary times.
“It was from here that I started to explore opportunities to achieve these two things and the cycling tours idea became the perfect fit,” explains Jenny.
The business concept was fine-tuned as Jenny and business partner Christine trained for a marathon earlier this year. The motivated duo has complimentary skill sets, a love of outdoor adventure and six decades of combined travel industry experience.

Opening at Labour Weekend became their key goal, and in true athletic style they decided difficult economic conditions would be viewed as an energising challenge rather than an obstacle to success.

“One key to a successful business is recognising a need in the market and filling it, which is exactly what we’ve done,” says Jenny.
“Some US commentators have labelled fitness as a ‘recession-proof industry’ and so far the fitness industry in New Zealand seems to have lived up to that.”
Takaro Trails is in good company when it comes to setting up shop in tough times.

Businesses that have flourished from small entities into international success include Hyatt Corp, who opened the doors of their first hotel during the Eisenhower recession of the 1950’s. Sports Illustrated magazine was launched at the tail-end of an economic downturn and MTV Networks debuted during the economic slump of 1981.

The fact is kiwis love cycling, with more people now cycling than playing rugby.

Biking has become one of the top five ways Kiwis choose to spend their leisure time, which makes it a national pastime says Stephen McKernon from the Cycling Advocates Network.

Recent statistics show over 1 million bikes were imported into New Zealand for the five year period from 2001 – 2006. According to SPARC, 15% of adults and 19% of teenagers cycle on a regular basis for fun, for fitness or as an alternative to driving.

In response to this rise in popularity, the Ministry of Transport has published a national strategy to help encourage more enjoyable and safe cycling on our roads.

Another factor in favour of Takaro Trails’ road to success is the Government’s announcement to invest $50milion over the next three years in a national cycleway.

“The cycleway will encourage more active tourists to travel to New Zealand, and we’ll look after the ones who are keen to experience Hawke’s Bay in a healthy way,” says Jenny.

For Jenny and Christine having fun is as important as enjoying the outdoors, hence the name of their new venture. Takaro is the Maori word for ‘play’ – an essential element to every holiday.

Along with the good times, Takaro Trails’ self-guided cycling tours provide everything from top-of-the-range Scott Sportster bicycles, training on basic bicycle maintenance and free hi-vis vests through to route maps that showcase the best scenery, accommodation, food and wine Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

It’s a unique option for travellers who have previously enjoyed a cycling holiday, and for those who have always wanted to.

It’s also a positive way for people of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness to be more active. That’s more important than ever, given the recent alarming obesity statistics that put New Zealand as the seventh most obese country in the world, with 20.9% of the population falling into the obese category.

For Jenny, cycling tours are a great way to introduce children to the joy of active holidays and help them form good exercise habits into adulthood which is one of the reasons they have developed a family-friendly, three-day option.

Biking also provides the perfect balance to the plethora of gourmet treats around the region just begging to be enjoyed.

“Everything tastes even better when you’ve had to work for it – and there’s no guilt about savouring everything on offer because you’ve used up plenty of energy getting there!”

Takaro Trails – just for the fun of it!


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