This time five years ago a small group of locals were getting the first Rotorua Bike Festival up and running. Gary Sullivan from, Nick Lambert from Zero Seven and I were focused on the marketing and media with Graeme Murray chipping in with some iconic images to sell the event.

The idea for a festival had circulated for a long time without getting over the line.
This time Martin Croft from the Rotorua Council Events team had fired everything up, organizing a mid-Winter meeting of event organisers, club and other stakeholders to set some dates.

Time was short and we got going almost immediately, even before a budget was struck.

Martin ended up being the unofficial festival director and promised he would find the money.


We trusted him and knew that would happen - and it did.

There was no time to over-think the process; decisions were made fast and almost all of them paid off. Five years on and the philosophy remains the same - community first and events for everyone - and so does the brand architecture. What has changed for 2018 are the Festival dates - from mid-February to October.

Martin has supported a diverse range of events. That includes the Rotorua Singlespeed Society events like the 2010 and 2017 World Championships.

Note to those who oppose Council investing in this sort of thing: all RSSS events since 2008 have returned profits donated to good causes and the official economic benefit to the city from the 2010 Worlds was $2.3 million.

Last week, Martin emailed local organisers to tell us he was leaving the Council, though, it does sound like he is staying in the event space.

Kia ora, thank you, e kare, for all the hard work you've done over the years.

One sure thing about the Bike Festivals is the continuing value added by the photographers who've worked very, very hard on them.

Take a bow Alan Ofsoski, Allan Ure, Alick Saunders, Mead Norton and Mike Vincent.

Mead's glorious photo of a Rotorua mountain biking favourite, Sonia Foote, finishing Cycling Rotorua's Hill Climb up Mountain Rd, captures the joy of the Festival and its family friendly nature.

Literally. Sonia has a 'baby on board', son Theo, and her partner, Mark Leishman, aka Cabin, is another important cog in the local mountain biking community.

Both Sonia and Mark represented New Zealand, competing at very high level in a range of races.

Mark's worked on events in town including Ride the Runway and the WEMBO 24 hour Solo World Championships (both at, yes, the Bike Festival) and is a coach and mentor.

Allan Ure is unavailable for the Singlespeed Worlds in November. However, the rest of the Festival photo team, along with Nick Lambert, Mike and Sue Breen, Leigh Bellerby and Helen Brumby, will be capturing race day, all for T-shirts, beers and the Sunday morning breakfast.

Today is the last opportunity to enter to guarantee a very classy, one-off T-shirt by Gaz Sullivan from Nzo:

This year the beneficiary is Lifeline Aotearoa.

Next major event on the calendar is Nduro Event's Whaka 100 on October 22. As well as the metric century there are 50 and 25 kilometre options.
Enter at