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Illuminati Rule Hastings

Three-wheeled and four-wheeled bikes joined the ride, along with these two well-lit tall bikes. Photo Credit - Putaanga Waitoa

Small and tall bikes, fluoro, frog and moon bikes 80 of them in a spectacular cavalcade for Hastings' first Illuminati Night Ride on Saturday. Bikes that were lit up like Christmas trees, there were many outfits festooned with lights, and a mobile sound system to add to the party atmosphere

“We thought we might get 20 to 30 people for this first night ride, so to get 80 turn out on a chilly autumn evening was fantastic,” says organiser Neill Gordon of Bike Hawke's Bay.

A $200 cash prize for best decorated bike went to 10-year-old Austin Garside of Frimley Primary School, a member of the Hawke's Bay BMX Club, whose bike stood out for the amount of lights he'd managed to attach to it and for their artful deployment. “And the pièce de résistance was the flamingo he was wearing on his head,” Neill says.

Austin is going to put the $200 towards the new bike he is saving up for.

The ride, supported by the Hastings District Council, was all about promoting safe cycling and having fun.

Riders, aged 3 to 75, gathered at The Atrium at Tribune from 5pm and rode a 30 minute circuit around the city centre.

“Onlookers were quite clearly stunned to see our shining 200-metre long convoy approaching. Motorists were universally courteous and respectful – I think they were happy to sit patiently for 30 seconds and enjoy the spectacle as we cycled by,” Neill says.

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“One rider mentioned a highlight was grown men coming out of bars and saying 'Hey, I want to be part of that!'.

The only incident was the rider of a tall bike (a bike modified to be unusually tall) who fell into the library fountain.

“I didn't have drowning on my risk management radar so that was a bit of a surprise but he wasn't hurt, only moistened. Another rider lent him a dry jacket and he was good to go.”

The darker area around Civic Square showed the bikes off at their best but even in the well-lit area by the clocktower fountain the effect was “simply magical,” Neill says.

The event concluded at Brave Brewing, which now offers a 10 per cent discount for any customer arriving by bike.

Other prizes given out were a $250 Livall smart helmet, which incorporates indicators and motion sensor brake light, and a Lezyne light set donated by Evo Cycles Napier.

Waka Kotahi provided reflective straps and the Hastings iWay team donated 25 pairs of bike lights.

The youngest rider was three and a half-year-old Hastings boy Hans Goss, who powered around the whole circuit on his balance bike.

Hans' mum reported that “he had an absolute blast and fell asleep talking about it”.

Bike Hawke’s Bay is a group of like-minded people working to make biking in our region safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

We believe that biking is a great way to get around – whether it’s to work, school, the shops, or just for fun. And thanks to a moderate climate, flat topography, and a network of pathways and on-road bike facilities, Hawke’s Bay is an ideal place to ride a bike. But there is still room for improvement, and we want to make our region one of the best in the world for biking. We work with local authorities, the transport agency, other organisations, and the community to further this vision.

Spectacular night bike rides are held regularly, even weekly, in some cities around the world.

“Bikes are great for health, for air quality, for reducing traffic and great transport whether it's summer or winter, night or day. In low light though, cyclists have to light their bikes up for everyone's safety,” Neill says.

“Because bikes are such blindingly fabulous things, people sometimes suspect that cyclists will take over the world.

“That's why this event is called the Illuminati Night Ride. Basically, we cyclists are fessing up to being part of an all-powerful global elite whose goal is nothing short of transforming the planet. Resistance is futile. We are fit and funky and there's no stopping our perpetual motion machines.”

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