October 25 - November 3 2019!
October 25 - November 3 2019!

Festival 2016 - It's a Mum's world...

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Belinda Farmer from Nduro Events - organising WEMBO, racing WEMBO 2016...
Festival 2016 - It's a Mum's World...
words: Alison King
This is a man's world. But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing, without a woman or a girl

James Brown must have foreseen the rise of women at the Rotorua Bike Festival - half of the events have a woman in the driving seat, steering what they hope will be more mums, daughters and BFFs to choose two wheels for socialising and exercise.

While Belinda Farmer will be gunning for a podium spot at the WEMBO World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships (with Niner Bikes) - one of the events she and husband Tim are running through their company Nduro - the chance to be a part of the festival is more than about showcasing their events.
Their daughter Ella was three-months-old when they won the WEMBO bid for 2016. She's now 18 months old and Belinda is juggling balance bike riding with her own training.
"There are times I feel guilty going out for a ride but she's not old enough to comprehend it," she said.
"I feel proud that she'll be able to look back and be happy that I did this. Hopefully she'll get into mountain biking herself. Riding the 24 hours is a big goal but I'm really excited. I've done the hard work."  

Nduro is behind three of the events this year. As well as WEMBO there's the Redwoods Coast on Friday, February 12 and the Bike Speedway at the Government Gardens on Monday, February 15.
"It's great that more females are getting involved," Belinda said.
"It's about women having a go but there also seems to be more women being competitive."

The Revolve Rotorua crew - mad if they don't (Alick Saunders
There's a competitive edge to some of the festival events and one designed especially for women.
Though, the competitiveness can be in the field of best costume as well as speed.

The Dipper Dash is for any type of mountain biker, from the experienced through to absolute beginner. It's on one of the forest's most popular tracks and one that beginners tend to master first.
And all money raised will go to the maintenance of The Dipper, one of the first trails built in the Whakarewarewa Forest in the early 1990s. 25 years later that has grown to a network of 150 kilometres and IMBA gold status.

The premise of the Dipper Dash is to ride as many laps of Dipper as possible in an hour and is organised by Revolve Rotorua.
"One of the founding principles of Revolve Rotorua was to try to encourage as many women as possible to get into mountain biking, to be fun and social as well," said Dipper Dash organiser Laura Stuart.
"A lot of women think it will be hardcore, that they won't be fit enough or have the skills. Dipper Dash is about having fun.
"At Revolve we just want to encourage more women to give it a go."
(Sadly, Laura was involved in a very bad accident on the eve of the Festival, leaving her a paraplegic. All our thoughts were and are with her.
A fundraiser in May raised over $7000 for her and she is facing her new 'normal' with extraordinaruy courage and good humour).
Rotorua local, Paula Alexander, wants to get everyone on a bike (Agnes Arnold/Revolve Rotorua)

Giving it a go is where Paula Alexander comes in.
She is organising the MTB Beginner's Ride on Sunday, February 14 and is one of the team behind the Mountain Biker's Ball, which is the night before at one of Rotorua’s iconic venues, The Blue Baths.
"I want to open the mountain bike world to the locals.  I want to attract the non-mountain biker, those who wanted to give it a go but didn't know where to start," she said.

She said the more women involved behind the scenes the more appealing it will be to others. 
"Just like we are seeing today, I feel future events will cater more to the non-competitive side of mountain biking, which will open the activity up to everyone."

The ball, while not featuring any riding, was the chance to socialise with others and support a good cause.
"All money raised goes towards the James Dodds Memorial Fund which supports current and future mountain biking developments.
"You can get your tickets from the What's On page at www.bluebaths.co.nz and you don't have to be a mountain biker to attend.  A love of life is a good pre-requisite."

The Festival features a range of non-competitive, family-friendly events including Sport Bay of Plenty Go-by-bike, Tykes on Trikes and Family Fun Ride, Frocks on Bikes and QE Health Ride the Runway.

"This variety is the heart and soul of what we are about," said Craig Corbett from the Charitable Trust that oversees the Festival. "And all the team are extremely proud of that." 


Brillant image: www.larsscharlphoto.com
‘Ka hinga te tōtara o te wao nui o Tāne’
RIP Kelly McGarry