There is a long list of contributors to the growth, popularity and visibility of mountain biking in Rotorua over the past three decades.
Since 2003, New Zealand Mountain Biker has been one of those.
The magazine was founded by Bruce Wilson as publisher and editor. The growth curve for mountain biking was in its early days. The magazine rode and documented that upward curve with major contributions from Rotorua-based art director Nick Lambert and photographer Graeme Murray.
Bruce and Nick put the programme for the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships together as part of a super-sized issue. This required approval both in New Zealand and from the UCI HQ in Aigle, Switzerland operating on European time. There were some long days and nights and the pair's professionalism shone.
In 2008 the idea for New Zealand Singlespeed Championships was floated. Three people signed on to support the event without hesitation - Gary Sullivan from Nzo Industries, Gregg Brown from the Pig and Whistle, and Bruce.
Change was in the air. Bruce sold the magazine to Spot On Publications in 2009. New editor Carl Patton was already a friend to Rotorua and the support continued.
In October 2010 Carl rode the Singlespeed World Championships and his story about the event with photos by Nick was one of the best of all the coverage round the planet.
In Spring of 2012, the first Rotorua Bike Festival was coming to fruition. Carl and the Spot On team were generous supporters, with a preview, full page ads and extensive coverage, a significant part of the ongoing promotion and success of the next Festivals.
It was the same with national single speed events in 2013 and 2015 and another world championship in 2017.
Liam Friary from Pedal Press took over the magazine that same year with a new style and design palette.
Rewind to 2003. Nick introduced me to Bruce and the major feature for the first issue was Big Red, a story about a terrific visit to Sedona in Arizona to mountain bike the rocky, desert trails of the Southwest of the USA.
I'm no journalist, so getting that story in print gave me the confidence to write more for the magazine over the years, including about world championships, UCI and Singlespeeds, the Rotorua Bike Festival and bikes that have their genesis in our place – steel Jeffson, at one end of the spectrum, and carbon Zerode Taniwha with Pinion internal gearbox, at the other.
My favourite stories were profiles of some of the very special local personalities that make our community so special. Like Brian Stewart and Jack Shallard, two over 70-year-olds still hammering the trails, Maori MTB entrepreneurs, Rawiri Bhana and Tak and Tu Mutu, and Mike Robertson who recuperated from a massive accident partly by picking up a camera.
I also got my one and only cover – a photo by Graeme Murray of me ploughing through a stream crossing on Tree Trunk Gorge on the central plateau. For an average rider like me, total stoke.
Kia ora, Bruce, Nick, Carl and Liam and all the team for their vision over the last 16 years. Ka tino pai.
To subscribe to the magazine: nzmountainbiker.com