The bike business in Rotorua is like a cut diamond.

It's precious, very valuable and multifaceted.

Magnificent trails, some excellent road rides, clothing businesses, bike shops, builders and designers … and some super-talented mechanics creating magic in old-school workshops.

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Like Saul Webb of Soulride Cycleworks. He's 40 and has worked in the bike business for 12 years, although he started tinkering with bikes from a young age.

"I started Soulride to make money for me not someone else," he says.

"My amazing wife, Kat, is really supportive and pushes me to get the best out of myself."

With online sales and companies selling direct, he feels the bike industry is changing and making it harder for the shops.

"You can't get your bike fixed online - you still need a mechanic," Saul continues.

"Working from home I have set up my workshop in the garage and that keeps my overheads low. I'm so lucky to do something I love which is pull bikes apart, tinker and fix them and get paid for it."

Soulride is what the bicycle represents to him.

"And also the Soul/Saul thing," he says.

"When you hop on a bike and ride, after a while your body starts to relax and mould to the bike where it becomes an extension of yourself. The bike was the best thing for my recovery after a serious accident a few years ago.


"As soon as I could get back on one I started to recover quickly. If I don't ride for more than a week or two now my body starts to ache.

"Even when you are riding in windy, wet and cold weather you never think to yourself 'man, I wish I was at work'. Had a bad day? Go for a ride and you will come back feeling better."

Retro bikes and re-builds are two of Saul's big passions and his favourites are all steel-framed.

They include a Ritchey Logic road bike, a Soma Juice singlespeed mountain bike and a classic Colnago Master from the 1980s given to him by his father-in-law.

"Last year Kat and I went on a trip to Europe and visited her family," says Saul.

"Guess I got the tick of approval when I got given her dad Roland's Colnago. He's a passionate cyclist himself and has done many miles on this beauty and now I'm lucky enough to have this bike here in New Zealand. Over the past months I've given it some TLC and did a bit of a rebuild. One gorgeous bike to ride - on sunny days only …"

Soulrides offers standard bike services but Saul enjoys it most when he can help his clients find solutions for their specific needs. Rebuilding bikes, paint jobs, wheel building and bike set-ups are all part of the service.

"For certain parts of Rotorua I also offer a free pick-up and delivery service to take the hassle out of getting the bike to the shop.

"Contact me through Soulrides Cycleworks on Facebook or on 021 233 6052 for more information and pricing of jobs."

Saul's favourite trails: Eagle vs Shark, Te Tihi-o-Tawa and Billy T loop, Spilt Enz, Te Ahi Manawa, Kung-Fu Walrus.