Strong partnerships are what drives a lot of mountain biking in our region.

Positive relationships with the Rotorua Lakes Council, landowners, iwi and sponsors are all an important part of the work of the Rotorua Trails Trust.

The latest to join the trust's family of partners is Specialized New Zealand alongside local bike shop, Cyclezone.

They have donated a top-of-the-range Specialized Turbo Levo e-MTB. With all the rain and wind the forest has experienced over the last six months, the number of trees down is at record levels.

Advertisement

Ash Edwards is the trust's go-to man for trail building and maintenance. Hiking in with gear, including a chainsaw, has hoovered up a lot of his available time and stamina. He's stoked about the arrival of the ebike and estimates that it will seriously reduce the time he takes to get to downed trees and out again. He'll also be using the Turbo Levo for trail surveys.

James Elvery, from Specialized New Zealand, is another a happy man. He helped organise the Rotorua Dig Day during Crankworx and got to see Mr Edwards at work, first hand.

"After getting to know Ash, we're really proud to be getting him on a Levo to help with his daily track maintenance efforts," says Mr Elvery.

"In the last 10 to 15 years the Rotorua trail network has grown to the point where it's now one of the top-rated riding destinations in the world. By supporting the Trails Trust and hosting the Specialized Dig Days, we're keen to help that growth continue into the future."

Grant Utteridge is the new chairman of the Trails Trust.

"It's great to see Specialized and Cyclezone collaborate to assist the trust. It really underpins what Whaka is all about," he says.

"We have limited resources to fund Ash's trail work, so the more time-effective he can be, the better and it's an innovative solution, using technology with low environmental impact, as well."

How good are young George Bennett's efforts at this year's Tour de France? To sit in the top 10 in General Classification is remarkable. Gary Sullivan, from Nzo, is my go-to guy for Tour information. He feels that George's best years are still ahead.

An excellent font of knowledge, from right inside the tour, is local hero and one of this country's finest ever cyclists, Julian Dean.

He's rider mentor for the Orica Green Edge team and posts on '
"Julz Dean" on Facebook after every stage. It's fascinating and insightful from a man who knows how tough the event is and how significant George's achievements are. Dean was master of ceremonies at Ride the Runway at the Rotorua Bike Festival back in February and donated his fee to the Trails Trust.

You can help the trust's finances, too: rotoruatrailstrust.co.nz/join
A high percentage of members have set up yearly recurring donations. It makes it very easy. Just saying.

The other way to make a difference is to get along to one of the trust's weekly working bees. The next one is tomorrow.

Meet at 9am at the Nursery Hill end of Long Mile Road. The trail being maintained is As You Do. It's dual-use, so runners and walkers are welcome. See Rotorua Trails Trust on Facebook for more.