Mountain bike enthusiast Jonny Martin draws immense satisfaction from getting people into the outdoors – especially on a bike.

Born and bred in the Bay of Island, Jonny has returned to the North and is turning his passion into a successful business.

Jonny’s commitment to becoming a key operator in the booming cycling tourism industry has been recognised with the company’s successful application for Top Energy’s $30k Business Development Fund.

Paihia Mountain Bikes offers quality bike hire, transport services and all-inclusive accommodation packages. The aim is to be a sustainable, community focused world class mountain bike service that embraces Northland’s rich cultural heritage.

Northland is fast becoming a cycling mecca with the opening in 2016 of the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park and the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. Prior to this it was slim pickings for people on bikes wanting to pack their paniers and get in the saddle to explore the region.

Already the bike park and cycle trail are proving to be massively popular with national and international tourists and with anticipated annual growth expected to be in the thousands.

Jonny says a key benefit of the new cycling facilities is that it extends the tourism season into the winter months – a departure from Northland’s more traditional focus on ocean and water based tourist activities. This creates a flow on effect for the employment potential offered by the burgeoning adventure cycling sector.

A potential that Jonny and his team from Paihia Mountain Bikes is well placed to maximise as an official rental, shuttle and guiding company for both the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park and the Twin Coast Cycle Rail Trail.

The small but clearly dynamic and resourceful team of six at Paihia Mountain Bikes have big plans for a rapid expansion and intend to use the Top Energy fund to boost the company’s servicing of Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.

This will include setting up a base near the carpark to streamline operations, making it easier for visitors to hire the bikes on site rather than having to shuttle them from the town centre. A repair and bike servicing is also a natural development for the company, as is retail in bike essentials such as tires, tubes and accessories such as clothing and bottle holders.

Jonny is also looking to add another spoke to his wheel with the establishment of a guiding and skills clinic within the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.

Which, he says, is a regularly requested service and one that would position the company alongside other major tourism operations offering kayaking, walking, and sightseeing tours. He would like to see mountain biking becoming a ‘Must-Do’ tourism activity as ubiquitous as ‘Hole in the Rock’ or ‘Cape Reinga’ trips.

All of these initiatives support his main priority of getting ‘more bums on bikes’ and people out riding experiencing the outdoors is the overall aim.

Jonny is pretty clear about the employment opportunities that growth in the business will offer. He intends to leverage the year round business operating on an all-weather bike park to ensure the workforce is tied to the region.

He also recognises the enormous training and upskilling potential it could provide local mountain bike guides and fledging bike mechanics – a trade that will be sought after nationally and internationally.

The judges said that the Paihia Mountain Bike application stood out amongst some very hard competition. The passion and commitment to make this venture a success was clear as was the desire to create opportunities for the local workforce.

Top Energy launched their Business Development Fund in 2014. The scheme is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in the Far North. Grants of up to $30,000 are awarded twice a year for local business ideas or initiatives that have the potential to grow or diversify the Far North economy.

The money is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.

For more information on the business development fund go to:

For more information on Paihia Mountain Bikes go to

For more information contact Philippa White, 021 2418740