Graeme Simpson: Events for all riders in super busy weeks

By Graeme Simpson


Waitangi Day. It's an important occasion, though the meaning often gets clouded. Best to treat it as a really good opportunity to have a long, mid-week ride.

The first Rotorua Bike Festival is just days away. The team making it happen have really only been working on it for six months. However, it's an idea that was discussed often over the years.

While these sorts of events always fall into the category of "can't please all the people", the programme is a full and comprehensive one.

The Shweeb World Champs, Hard Court Bike Polo, mountain bike skills clinics, a fun ride for the kids on the new Hemo Gorge Trail, Mountain Bike Orienteering, a Street Criterium in the heart of town, a big Bike Parade and Pimp Your Bikeand The Redwoods Coast. OK, that's Saturday, February 8 to Monday, February 11.

Not even halfway through, so deep breath.

Tykes on Trykes (another one for the littlies), more road racing, a casual ride at Rainbow Mountain for experienced mountain bikers, with a BBQ and a dip in the Kerosene Creek hot pools to finish.

That's just Tuesday, February 12.

See what I mean.

Wednesday, February 13 features National Go by Bike Day, the Onepu Strawberry Bike Jam on the way to Whakatane and Ladies Shuttle Night.

It gets even busier as the week continues.

BMX Rotorua hosts Bicycle Speedway on Thursday, February 14. There is also the elegant world of Frocks on Bike and the Bryce Road Handicap Race for the roadies.

On Friday, February 15, the two-day MoreFM Bike Expo launches at the Rotorua Convention Centre with a wonderful collection of local bike builders and historical bikes. The Skyline Sprint Warrior sees mountain biking return to Mount Ngongotaha for the first time since the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships.

The second weekend of the Festival will showcase some of New Zealand's elite riders in BMX and cross-country and downhill mountain biking.

On Saturday February 16, the BikeNZ high performance team of Marc Willers, Kurt Pickard and London silver medallist, Sarah Walker will be at BMX Rotorua on Te Ngae Rd. The action will roll into the evening with the Rotovegas Jumps Jam.

In the forest, the best cross-county racers will duke it out for Nationals titles. 2012 Junior Men's world champion, Anton Cooper and London Olympian, Karen Hanlenare are entered.

On Sunday it will be the turn off the downhillers to show their stuff. Local favourite Louis Hamilton has moved up to the elite level and will take on Sam Blenkinsop and Brook MacDonald. Two times Elite Women's world champion, EmmelineRagot from France is entered.

Also on Sunday a brand new event will debut. The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro is a combination of cross-country endurance and technical down hill skill. Two of New Zealand's most successful mountain bikers of the past 10 years will start.

Downhiller Justin Leov, has recently re-signed with Trek World Racing and will compete in the World Enduro Series later in 2013. Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Rosara Joseph has signed to Yeti Racing for the US Enduro Series.

Get out and ride (or watch) some of these events. It's going to be another special week in Rotorua.

The full schedule is on theFestival website-


- Rotorua Daily Post

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