Not just MTB...
Monday January 19 (NZST)
A unique new event will officially launch the 3rd Rotorua Bike Festival in four weeks on the evening of Friday February 13.
The Runway Project will open Rotorua Airport’s runway to the public after 7.30PM. There’ll also be a 4-kilometre scratch race open to all-comers, on any bike.
Then, as the sun sets over Mount Ngongotaha, riders with Cycling New Zealand elite race licenses will compete in the straight-line, Flying Kilo time trial.
Road bikes are compulsory, but with cash prizes at stake, riders from other disciplines are expected to line up.
“It’s a once-a-year opportunity to ride and race the runway,” enthused event organiser, Jason Cameron. "And then witiness some world-class riders race the kilo."
The Runway Project illustrates the essential nature of the 10-day Festival. It’s a combination of community events, open to all, right through to elite athletes, in head to head competition.
Rotorua's Dirk Peters is a mountain biker first, but enjoys a work-out on a road bike (
Photo: Nick Lambert Zero Seven).
Rotorua is best known as the world’s premiere all-year-round mountain biking resort with over 150 kilometres of world-class trails.
“And the city also boasts a vibrant road cycling scene," said Bike Festival event coordinator, Martin Croft. “The Festival really reflects that.”
Tour de France veteran, Julian Dean, will ride in the family event at the Airport with his young sons, Tanner and Val, and is looking forward to enjoying the rest of the festival.
Best known as one of the country’s most successful road cyclists, he started his career on the BMX track in Waihi and also loves to get out in the Whakarewarewa Forest on a mountain bike.
Rotorua has been an ideal, off-season haven for most of his career.
“This really is the perfect, lifestyle city with so many different bike disciplines so close at hand,” he said. “It creates a healthy and stimulating culture that resonates throughout the community - to the point where you hear stories about the most unlikely people ending up on a bike, something that has to be good for the health of the population.”
Another event that unites the biking tribes debuts on the evening of Saturday February 14. The Park Ride is a sprint race up and down a multi-story car park in the heart of downtown Rotorua.
It is open to all-comers on all bikes - mountain, BMX or road.
Continuing the road bike theme, there will be a women-only ride on the morning of Sunday February 15.
“It will be casual and in a relaxed, supportive environment,” said Agnes Arnold from Revolve Rotorua, who are organising the ride, along with two mountain bike rides for women, as part of the festival. “And no one gets left behind.”
Cycling Rotorua will run a street criterium on the evening of Tuesday February 17 and a road race on Thursday February 19.
Then, on the final day of the Festival, Sunday February 22, there’ll be the second Summer edition of Bike the Lake.
This is a circumnavigation of Lake Rotorua, starting from the Village Green. Race start is at 7.30AM, in the cool of the early morning.
Around 500 riders entered Bike the Lake at last year’s festival and organiser, Shane Hooks, is pleased to be back.
He’ll have a busy weekend, as he’ll be running XRace Rotorua, an adventure event for kids, on Saturday.
“It’s wonderful to be part of the festival, again, in 2015,” said Hooks. “Rotorua is always a great venue to run events and during festival week with so much on, there’s a real biking buzz."