Janine Kavanagh is a local mountain biker and a regular on race podiums from Enduros to the 2017 Singlespeed World women's title (and tattoo) on home trails last November. Always with a smile.

However, it turns out that Janine wasn't always a die-hard mountain biker.

"I used to be a runner, but my shoulder and my knee were starting to give me grief – so back in 2005 when a group of friends suggested I join them in an upcoming mountain bike race, I decided to enter and give it a go," says Janine.

"Much to my surprise, I ended up winning the race and $500."


Since discovering a love for mountain biking, she hasn't looked back and now she's passing that on to her son, Anton.

And that race was the start of something huge for Janine.

In 2012, Janine and husband, Tu Mutu, relocated from Hamilton to Rotorua, and helped set up Mountain Bike Rotorua - a business that has gone from strength to strength with a hub at the Waipa car park.

"Everything changed for us then," Janine continues.

"We launched into the new business, I bought my first ever full suspension bike, and I woke up pinching myself because we had the Redwoods on our doorstep. It was amazing."

Despite the new bike, the location and the business, riding had to take a back seat for a little while as Janine and Tu became parents. Although that didn't stop her getting a podium while four months pregnant.

"I remember being pregnant while Enduro racing was starting to gain popularity. I'd always wanted to do downhill, but at the time it was a bit intimidating. And I found cross-country was fun, but it didn't quite play to my strengths or have the adrenaline element I loved - so when Enduro came on the scene it seemed like the perfect type of racing for me."

Fast forward to 2018 (and many podiums later), and now life as a mother of two is about
balancing parenting with riding bikes. It's a busy life and Janine is also an ambassador for Liv, a brand that combines bikes and clothing specifically designed for women.


She combines training with forest adventures with 2-year-old Anton, using a Shotgun seat attached to the top tube. This is an innovative design for children 2 to 5 years of age.

The seat is fully adjustable to fit any mountain bike, and has rubber padding to protect your frame.

"Anton is our little adventurer, and he loves getting outdoors with me on the bike. It's great to be able to get a decent training ride in and also have him enjoy the ride too - it's the best of both worlds for me."

For more on Liv Cycling and Janine:

Shotgun seats: www.kidsrideshotgun.com

Mountain Bike Rotorua have teamed up with the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club to present this year's Giant 2W Gravity Enduro series (races that Janine has excelled in over the last five years).

Round one was on Saturday October 27. You can still enter rounds 2 and 3 (December 8 and February 9.

Proceeds go to club projects including the Emergency First Response Unit. www.enduronz.com