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The first Rotorua Bike Festival
You don’t have to pedal to have fun on a bike.
That idea is at the heart of a brand new event that will feature at the 1st Rotorua Bike Festival in February.
The Redwoods Coast (or the Inaugural NZ Mountain Bike Coasting Championships) is the name of the game. Riders will start at the top of a section of tarseal on Nursery Road, just inside the southern edge of the city’s magnificent Whakarewarewa Forest, home to one of the best mountain bike trail networks in the world.
“No pedaling, just momentum,” says race organizer, Dave Donaldson. “Nursery Road is steep and terminal speed - even coasting - will be 50 to 60 kilometres per hour, so it's not for the faint-hearted.”
At the bottom of the hill the riders will roll out onto the flat on Long Mile Road.
“Whoever coasts furthest, wins,” Donaldson adds. “The rider doesn’t only receive fame and glory, but settles many of the raging debates that torment the mountain-biking industry - which tyres are best and at which pressures?,” continues Donaldson, with a chuckle. “Which diameter wheels roll best – 24” 26” 650’s or 29”? Does lycra give you a better ride than merino...the list goes on.”
The name of the event reflects the nature of the environment.
“One of Rotorua’s many tourist attractions is the magnificent stand of coastal Sequoia or Redwoods on Long Mile Road,” says Donaldson. “So the event name was a bit of a no-brainer.”
The Rotorua Bike Festival will be a 10-day celebration of cycling - a mix of events and entertainment in one of New Zealand’s premier tourist and adventure sport destinations.
The website for the event is live – www.rotoruabikefestival.com - with a growing programme of events from the serious to the light-hearted.
“It really is great to see a range and variety of events,” says Martin Croft from Rotorua Events and Venues, who are backing the Festival in its first year.
"There are mountain bike skills clinics, a Bike Polo tournament, the World Shweeb Champs at Agroventures, fun rides, mountain bike orienteering, BMX events, street crits, the Rotorua Bike Expo and Rotovegas Jump Jam with a lot more to come." adds Croft.
Enthusiastic event organizers are crucial to the success of the Festival.
“Dave D is a real legend of local cycling and is usually helping organize World, Oceania or National Championships, so it’s fantastic to see him having a bit of fun with something like The Coast.”
The Festival will launch with Rotorua’s longest-running mountain biking event, the Cateye Moon Ride starting on the evening of Friday February 8.
An exciting and dynamic new event, the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro will feature on the final Sunday of the Festival, February 17. This is a multi-stage format that will highlight the fast and flowing mountain bike tracks in the world-renowned Whakarewarewa Forest trail network.