Taupo chasing top bike town placing
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.
Tawhirimatea Southwick-Hazelden shows off the skills he’s learnt since joining Kids on Bikes.