Graeme Simpson: Cycling mecca extends well beyond the forest

By Graeme Simpson


Megan Dimonzantos is a new member of the Rotorua mountain bike family.

She's one of New Zealand's top endurance mountain bikers and moved here to work for MoreFM, one of the sponsors of the Rotorua Bike Festival. Megan will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record at the Festival - more about that news soon (

Over to Megan for her view on Rotorua riding: "I only moved to Rotorua six months ago, but it has been home to me for much longer. Never have I felt more fulfilled than when I am freewheeling around the forest, shrouded by trees under a blue sky surrounded by a faint sulphuric aroma. I have long been of the impression that cycling here begins and ends in the forest.

How wrong I was.

This seems an appropriate topic to see in the New Year. When we all form resolutions that will keep us occupied for the next 365 days. Resolutions to get fit, lose weight, save money and be more environmentally aware.

And it's all as simple as dusting off that rusty old bike in the garage and riding to work.

Only once I moved here did I realise our cycling mecca extends well beyond the forest. We are within a stone's throw of New Zealand's most iconic adventure rides and some amazing road riding. We reside in an incredibly commuter-friendly city. From Lynmore, I can ride through the forest, scoot under Te Ngae bridge, then via Sulphur Point.

All the way into town without touching the road, often in less time to drive to town and find a parking space.

Then in the afternoon, I can sift off into the trees and detour through the forest, taking in some of the best trails in the world on my way home. If you haven't seen the sun set from the top of Katore Rd, you truly haven't experienced all our town has to offer.

Riding to work keeps us fit, which means we lose weight, and feel better about ourselves. It means less congestion on roads and a smaller impact on the environment. Financially, we save on fuel costs. Taking it one step further, we can also save on our grocery shopping when we go by bike, shopping wisely within the limitations of what we can carry home in a backpack.

We are so fortunate to live in such a wonderful town that makes travel by pushbike such a surprisingly feasible option and a pleasant one.

I recently attended the opening of the new Te Ara Ahi cycle trail that begins in the corner of the Te Puia carpark and sidles along the river through Hemo Gorge.

If I had to choose one thing our government got right in its current term, it would be the National Cycleway Project. And we are getting it so right here in Rotorua.

The benefits are obvious for cyclists. For the town there are economic benefits.

And for the greater community? Well, you decide yourself how you make the most of it. For me, cycling is a way of life, and Rotorua allows me to live that way of life to its full potential. For many others, it's a successful solution to your new year's resolution conveniently packaged in two wheels."


- Rotorua Daily Post

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