How much stoke did this summer bring with mountain biking in Rotorua?

Philly Angus is a local rider involved a range of MTB projects and so is perfectly placed to answer that.

"This summer was epic," she says. "Being super dry, it meant plenty of hot, dusty rides in my favourite playground of Whakarewarewa Forest. All of which, bar a handful, were done with an incredible group of women, who I like to call my Girl Gang."

They have helped Angus become a better rider, through sharing knowledge, technical ability and the desire to improve themselves.

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"We're not afraid to speak about sections of trail that intimidate us, knowing that one of the girls is more than likely able to master it and is happy to go and session it. As well as being equally happy to say, 'next time' if you're just not feeling it on that particular day."

This summer Philly realised that this goes way further than the group of women she regularly rides with - to an extended group who all share the same love of riding. "Rotorua Mud Maidens, Revolve Rotorua, Rotorua Forest Birds and the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club are just some of the groups building confidence for women on bikes."

The Ladies Summer Shuttles returned for 2018/2019 with Cyclezone, and the response was phenomenal. "The January event saw an incredible 98 women out riding the shuttles and trails and led to the creation of the first-ever Low Key for the Ladies – one timed descent on the iconic Billy T, giving women the chance to experience a racing environment in a super chilled and hugely supportive environment."

The growth of entries in the Women's 4 Stage Categories of the 2W Gravity Enduro was also steady. "As a member of the 2W Steering Committee, we'd love to see more ladies in the 6 Stage Categories – will this be your season to step up to the challenge?" Angus asks. www.enduronz.com

"I'm also extremely proud of my association with local bike shop, Cyclezone, a true bastion in women's riding who've hosted Women's Ride Month every October for the past seven years, providing events and stoke for women to connect, ride and inspire each other.

"They also offer Beginners' Tech Classes, free of charge – sharing their knowledge for changing a flat tyre, lubing a chain, setting tyre pressure, how to correctly wash your bike and so much more. These are hands-on classes, which means you're empowered to learn more about your bike and build confidence to take on these tasks yourself." The next class is scheduled for Tuesday May 28 - register at info@cyclezone.co.nz and check out www.cyclezone.co.nz

"I'm already looking forward to the events on the way with Cyclezone for Women's Ride Month, Ladies Summer Shuttles and Low Key for the Ladies with the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club," says Angus.

"In the meantime, we've got a winter of riding ahead, with events in the pipeline to keep you pedalling over the cooler months. Keep in the loop by following the Cyclezone Facebook. "I'm really looking forward to seeing you and your girl gang out in the forest."

Angus' busy schedule also includes being part of Harcourt's Dancing with the Stars on July 28, raising funds for a great cause, Rotorua Hospice. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.co.nz or at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.