What's On: Rotorua Bike Festival

By Alison King

It's all about the bike this weekend as the Rotorua Bike Festival gains traction with the opening events.

The festival, which has been two years in the planning, opens on Saturday. It runs until next Sunday and features more than 20 events.

There are competitive elite races and free family fun rides with everything else you can imagine in between - all aspects of bikes will be celebrated. And if riding isn't your thing then you can still get involved by spectating at races and visiting the MoreFM Bike Expo, which will showcase Rotorua bike builders.

"It's very exciting," said Rotorua Events and Venues manager Martin Croft.

"There's plenty of choice for people to jump on board. Even if you're not into riding it will be great to support those people who are.

"We're delighted that so many people have decided to do something for the festival."

He said the concept of a bike festival was discussed with the cycling community in 2010.

"A lot of the event organisers are doing it for the love of cycling.

"They, and the Rotorua Trust, deserve credit for backing the idea."

All aspects of bikes will be celebrated, from BMX, mountain biking, road racing and pedal power at the Shweeb. Innovative cycling events include the Redwoods Coast - a race in the Redwoods without pedalling, the Rotorua Bicycle Speedway, described as "the craziest action you will see on two wheels" and the RotoVegas Jump Jam where there promises to be spectacular high-flying action at the BMX track.

This weekend there is a Let's Ride MTB Skills Training session, the North Island Bike Polo Tournament at Kuirau Park, the World Shweeb Champs at Agroventures, a free Family Fun Ride at Waipa, Orienteering BOP MTB Adventure Quest, Victoria Grove Costume Hire "Pimp my Bike" and the Rotorua City Street Criterium and Parade.

Mr Croft said there would be the opportunity for people to have a go at bike polo and he was looking forward to giving it a go himself.

The World Shweeb Championships were also a first, the tourist attraction is the world's first human powered monorail. Adding to the festival's exciting activities is the criterium, which will take over the city streets. Diners in Eat St can watch cyclists race past at 40km/h before the parade of bikes.

"This tells the story of Rotorua as a cycling city," Mr Croft said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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