With the Rotorua Bike Festival launching on Friday, the event is in good shape – and good hands.
"With such a diverse range of quality events in the programme there really is something for everything to ride in or get along and watch.” said David Crowley, from the Charitable Trust, a volunteer group that oversees the festival. “The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro has sold out and others are reporting entries flowing in."
Overall numbers reinforce this. “We can never guarantee the weather,” Crowley adds. “However, we’re tracking along nicely to match 2015’s 5000 entries across all the events over the 10 days.”
The MTB Beginners Ride and a photo workshop by Mead Norton on the opening weekend are over-subscribed. The Mountain Biker’s Ball and Revolve Rotorua’s women-only Dipper Dash are filling up. The Big Bike Film Night has a line-up that will appeal to bikers and non-bikers, alike.
Saturday’s QE Health Ride the Runway already has 500 riders registered. This is part of the Runway Project supported by Air New Zealand at Rotorua Airport.
The event features the Holland Beckett Lawyers People’s and Elite Flying Kilos. “The People’s event is only $10 and is open to everyone,” Crowley continued. “The whole Trust team are entered and it’ll be exciting to know how fast, or slow, we are over a kilometre. Bragging rights at stake.”
He’s also planning to enter the two orienteering events on the programme, the serious one, an MTB Rogaine, and the more light-hearted Adventure Quest. “Like so many of our events, this is a great one for families with a super-hero costume competition and finishing at the Rotorua Night Market for dinner.”
Other events for families are Sport Bay of Plenty’s Go-by-Bike and Fun Ride. They’re also running Tykes on Trikes. “Over 250 littlies had a ball at this last year,” said Lauren Atkinson from Sport Bay of Plenty, “with around 350 at Go-by-Bike and the Fun Ride.”
All these events are entry on the day, like the Redwoods Coast, Descend Rotorua’s Triple D, Bike Speedway, Bike Culture 16” Dual Slalom World Champs, Cycling Rotorua’s Hill Climb Fun Challenge and Frocks on Bikes.
Competitive riders aren’t forgotten. Rotorua BMX’s National Qualifier Meeting will showcase some of the finest talent in New Zealand with the Olympics just months away. Bike the Lake is a 2 lapper for serious riders and 1 lap around Lake Rotorua for a more leisurely approach for novice racers.
The second weekend opens with the spectacular Skyline Sprint Warrior including the Mountain Bike Rotorua Fundy Hundy (100 plus kilogram category) and the hukkit Sick Trick.
The festival winds up with the longest event. The WEMBO 24 hour solo world championships starts at midday on Saturday February 20. The event is supported by US-based Niner Bikes and will feature some of the finest endurance riders in the world in action on the trails of the Whakarewarewa Forest network.