Pride, so they say, can come before a fall.

Hopefully, without demonstrating too much hubris, here are a few of the things that made
my chest swell in the last year.

Starting with donations of around $30,000 from the Rotorua Singlespeed Society to a list of great causes. The main one was Lifeline with smaller gifts to the Mountain Biker's Ball fund that covers the cost of psychological help for those in most need, but are unable to pay, the Rotorua Brain Injury Trust and equipment and signage for the fantastic team of volunteers who do the hard metres maintaining our trails.

The final and smallest gift was in combination with Ride Rotorua. This was for new desks and benches for the poorest of three schools I visited on the Mekong River in Laos in September. It's a country where a little money goes a very long way.


This also pushed lifetime donations by the Singlespeed Society to over $60,000.

Not bad for events that focus on costumes, consumption of beverages and tattoos for the men's and women's winners.

Ride Rotorua took a big step up last year. It was set up in 2007 as website to inform mountain bikers about all the trails in the Whakarewarewa Bike Park along with a select group of the best places to eat, drink, sleep, have fun and big hits of adrenalin, relax, get healed and more in town.

This year Ride Rotorua finally embraced Facebook. The result was zero page likes to 20,000 in six months. This was based on a strategy I've used before for the Rotorua Bike Festival (16,000 page likes) and Trails Trust (over 6000).

The managers of Ride Rotorua, Gregg Brown from the Pig and Whistle Social House and Gary Sullivan from Nzo, gave me the green light to push it as hard as it would go.

Because of the financial support from a terrific group of local businesses, Gregg was able to share ten new Giant bikes to four local schools. And fund a project by local photographer and video producer, Graeme Murray, taking portraits of riders, asking why they love mountain biking in Rotorua and what their favourite trail is.

The results of this are on Ride Rotorua's Facebook and Instagram pages.

My proudest, most heart warming moment of the past 12 months came last week, when I received an email from Marilyn Bowler from Te Puna.


"Every Saturday I look forward to your Mountain Bike column. Perhaps surprising since I am immobile and 75 years of age. What I enjoy is the variety of topics you discuss. My husband, Mostyn and I have both thoroughly enjoyed Erik Westra's book you recommended recently. Long may you continue to inform and entertain us with your stories."

Marilyn also wrote that they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. We send them very best wishes and congratulations on a wonderful milestone. Kia ora.

■ The final round of this summer's Giant 2W Gravity Enduro is coming up fast on February 9. The series has been a raging success this summer so if you want to enter don't leave it too late. Remember proceeds benefit the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club: