Despite dislocating her shoulder, breaking the humeral head and damaging nerves in a mountain bike crash last weekend, Carey Bennett considers herself "very, very lucky".

She had ridden the Challenge Trail at Whakarewarewa Forest "a bunch of times" but she "took a nasty tumble" when she went over a drop in the muddy, slippery conditions.

The Malfroy School teacher was biking with friend Peter Nijssen, on a "fun Saturday morning" in the school holidays, but by the early afternoon she was in Rotorua Hospital.

"So I could not get up for starters and there was a lot of other people on the track and they all stopped, quite concerned, and they helped me get up.


"They looked after all my gear. They looked after my bike. They made sure the person that was with me was okay because he [Nijssen] was quite concerned."

Nijssen said he would not have known how to get Bennett out "without doing further damage" had it not been for the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club First Response Unit.

"As soon as she came off, she was not mobile. Two gentlemen behind us rang the response team. Within less than 10 minutes they were there ... She had no feeling in her fingers, so it was wonderful to have them."

It was Bennett's first crash on her bike.

First Response Unit member Mike Roberston with Carey Bennett at the Waipa mountain bike hub. Photo / Ben Fraser
First Response Unit member Mike Roberston with Carey Bennett at the Waipa mountain bike hub. Photo / Ben Fraser

"I'm sure it will be a quick recovery. It definitely could be worse" she said.

"I don't think I was surprised to feel so much support. Probably because the cycling community is like that. There's always someone there to help.

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"I am definitely humbled by all the riders who stopped."

She also said the help from the First Response Unit was "amazing" as she was protected from bike traffic, assessed, given pain relief and taken on the buggy to meet an ambulance on Nursery Rd.

Nijssen said: "Mike from the unit was just great. You don't realise what a relief it is to have them there until you need them."

The First Response Unit has been operating since December 2016, and, since Waitangi weekend 2017, professional responders have been contracted in peak times during summer, weekends, public holidays and school holidays to help riders, walkers, runners, and horse riders in medical trouble.

The club had fundraised tens of thousands of dollars to supply the buggy, first-aid gear, phone line, and contracted professionals with the help of ACC.

Club volunteers and Mountain Bike Rotorua staff run the service in off-peak times.

"The staff who operate the unit are pre-hospital, emergency care trained at a minimum. We have got everyone from first-aiders through to paramedics to nurses," unit member Mike Robertson said.

"It is a unique set-up. I have not seen it anywhere else. There are a lot of private operations that have a similar thing, but the club made it happen because it has got some really good people behind it."