Taupo chas­ing top bike town plac­ing

Taupo Times - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STEPH RANGI

With more than 6800 nom­i­na­tions al­ready re­ceived, the NZ Trans­port Agency’s an­nual Favourite Places to Ride com­pe­ti­tion is prov­ing more pop­u­lar than ever.

This year the com­pe­ti­tion is big­ger and bet­ter with a new cat­e­gory the ‘‘Top Town’’ award.

Taupo is cur­rently in the top five of four cat­e­gories; Ur­ban ride, The New Zealand Cy­cle Trial, Off-road or ad­ven­ture ride and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

In 2016, ‘‘Taupo and sur­rounds’’ won the best ‘‘On-Road Ride’’ cat­e­gory.

NZTA na­tional cy­cling man­ager, Dou­gal List, said it was ex­cit­ing to watch the towns bat­tle it out.

’’The leader board has been con­stantly chang­ing as res­i­dents rally in sup­port of their lo­cal rides,’’ he said.

‘‘Auck­land, Welling­ton and Christchurch are all vy­ing for the top spot with smaller cen­tres like Ro­torua and Taupo also giv­ing them a run for their money.’’

Cath Old­field’s Kids on Bike ini­tia­tive is one of the nom­i­na­tions in the Com­mu­nity Fa­cil­i­ties.

Kids on Bikes sees Old­field travel around the en­tire Taupo dis­trict with a van full of bikes and get­ting chil­dren com­fort­able rid­ing on two wheels.

While their main ob­jec­tive is to have the chil­dren masters on their bike by the end of year 2, they also cater to adults who haven’t learnt to ride yet.

‘‘What makes us unique is we are mo­bile,’’ Old­field said.

‘‘We add new ex­pe­ri­ences and new op­por­tu­ni­ties to han­dle their bike prop­erly.’’

The rides per­form­ing well in the other cat­e­gories are the Great Lake Walk­way in the Ur­ban Ride Cat­e­gory, Great Lake Trail in the NZ Cy­cle Trail cat­e­gory and the Craters Moun­tain Bike Park in the Off-Road cat­e­gory.

Damian Coutts, Gen­eral Man­ager of Des­ti­na­tion Great Lake Taupo:

Des­ti­na­tion Great Lake Taupo’s gen­eral man­ager, Damian Coutts, said what re­ally sets Taupo apart is the in­cred­i­ble va­ri­ety of op­por­tu­ni­ties the town has

‘‘We don’t just have one type of rid­ing, we have it all, so we re­ally be­lieve the Taupo re­gion is New Zealand’s best rid­ing des­ti­na­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘We also have great year-round rid­ing due to our free-drain­ing pumice soil, and our scenery is spec­tac­u­lar.’’

In the 2016, cat­e­gory win­ners were the Otago Cen­tral Rail Trail [Over­all win­ner and the NZ Cy­cle Trail cat­e­gory], Ro­torua’s Red­woods [Best Off-Road or Ad­ven­ture Ride], Napier [Best Ur­ban Trail or Com­mute] and Taupo and sur­rounds [Best On-Road Ride].

The 2017 NZ’s Favourite Places to Ride win­ners will be an­nounced in early June.

* To nom­i­nate your favourite places to ride, visit nzta.govt.nz/ fav­places. Entries open un­til May 31.

STEPH RANGI/FAIRFAX NZ

Tawhir­i­matea South­wick-Hazelden shows off the skills he’s learnt since join­ing Kids on Bikes.

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