From Friday till Sunday evening, over 4100 happy bikers enjoyed a rich variety of events, smashing previous opening weekend numbers. On Friday, people rode to work and school and they coasted in the Redwoods.

The BMX community raced on Saturday in a National Qualifier meeting. A sold-out Giant 2W Gravity Enduro was based at the Blue Lake/Tikitapu.

Photo – Allan Ure

At the city’s Airport, under blue skies and in soaring temperatures, around 1300 riders of all ages, on all sorts of bikes took part in the QE Health Ride the Runway, watched by a crowd of 400. It was a cross-section of the Rotorua community taking a unique opportunity to cruise the smoothest 2 kilometres of tarmac in the Bay of Plenty and enjoy entertainment on The Rogue Stage. There was also serious racing in the Holland Beckett Lawyers People’s and Elite Flying Kilos.The whole show was proudly supported by Air New Zealand and organisers are already discussing 2017.

Photo – Allan Ure

In the evening it was party time at the Mountain Biker’s Ball – a fundraiser for the James Dodds Memorial Fund. Legendary US mountain biker, Ned Overend, was a guest and described Rotorua in glowing terms, comparing it to his home town of Durango in Colorado.

Sunday dawned cool and overcast, perfect conditions for Bike the Lake. It’s a 2 lap (serious) or 1 lap (recreational) circumnavigation of Lake Rotorua. Orientering Bay of Plenty’s MTB Rogaine and the MTB Beginners Ride were big successes out at Waipa.

Photo – Allan Ure

Descend Rotorua’s Triple D is a short-course dash down Old Exit Trail in the Whakarewarewa Forest. It was possibly the 1st-ever, dog-friendly downhill with a seperate K9 category. The dogs wore special timing chip collars. This doubled as a subject for a photo workshop run by Festival photographer, Mead Norton.

Monday featured the sold out Big Bike Film Night with a diverse range of films – road, mountain bike, BMX, unicycle, travel and personal journeys and triumphs. The 16” Dual Slalom World Championships underlined the light hearted side to the Festival on Tuesday.

The 10-day Festival is presented by, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and The Southern Trust. It continues till Sunday with Sport Bay of Plenty Tykes on Trikes and Family Fun Ride, the women’s only Dipper Dash, MTB Adventure Quest, Skyline Sprint Warrior, WEMBO 24 Hour Solo World Champs and Niner Bikes 24 hours of Nduro, a Hill Climb challenge up Mount Ngongotaha for road and MTB bikes and Frocks on Bikes.

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