A mountain biker tears down the trails in the Ben Lomond
forest. Photo by Derek Morrison.
Celebrated as the southern hemisphere's biking mecca,
Queenstown will host its third Bike Festival from next week and
organisers have promised events for the family, the extremist
and the casual bike rider.
Making its third consecutive appearance in the Wakatipu, the
Queenstown Bike Festival is back, bigger and better than
ever. Running from March 22 through to April 1, the 10-day
festival is packed with events for the casual weekend warrior
and the hardened professional.
With 25 events in total, there is something for everyone.
Nearly every genre of cycling gets a look in - mountain
biking, cross-country, downhill, freeride and park. Road
biking, casual pedals, even kids' rides. It's not just
activities on the bike - there are bike films, parties and
more, all in celebration of cycling culture.
Some event highlights include:
The family favourite, the New World Tour de Wakatipu is back,
starting at Millbrook Resort and winding its way through the
basin to finish at Chard Farm Winery. This cross-country race
is open to all riding abilities and has become a firm family
favourite over the years.
Those looking for a bit more action with their adventure need
look no further than the Super-D. This gondola-assisted race
is never short of ups, downs, thrills and spills. Likewise,
the Vertigo Bikes Dirtmasters DH is a hearty challenge to the
best downhillers, not only in Queenstown, but also to a host
of national and international athletes testing their skills
in the Queenstown Bike Park.
Returning for a second year is the Teva Slopestyle, held in
central Queenstown. The event is now a FMB World Tour Silver
Event. Top pros and invited up-and-comers launch themselves
on massive jumps and man-made features all under lights and
to the roar of the crowd. This spectator-friendly event is
not only free to watch but the adrenaline highlight of the
festival - not to be missed.
New to the Festival this year is the R&R Sport Mega
Avalanche. Starting high on the slopes of the Remarkables
skifield and ending at the lake, this test of endurance,
courage and brakes is something that will surely be a fan
favourite. With a mass start and motorway speeds predicted,
this is the sort of race where legends are born.
With over 5000 entrants and attendees at the 2012 festival,
bringing in more than $2 million to the local economy, the
Queenstown Bike Festival has become a summer fixture and a
valuable asset to tourism in general for the Queenstown area.
Organiser Geoff Hunt has high hopes for the festival: ''This
year, we're aiming to provide unique, affordable and
achievable events for people to participate in or attend. We
want to create a festival that appeals to a wide swath of
biking culture - mountain bikers, road riders, BMX, freeride
- even tandems and unicycles. At the same time connecting
with a range of riders - men, women, baby-boomers, the youth
market, kids, racers, spectators and visitors to
The Queenstown Timeshighlights the events to look out for
during the 10-day event.
Saturday March 23
Super D: At Queenstown Bike Park, an Enduro uphill and
downhill race that runs for six hours non-stop 10am-4pm.
Costs $110 individual, $80 per team member.
Super D bike party: Surreal bar. Watch the action of
the day with a beer followed by a prizegiving. Starts 7pm.
Sunday March 24
Crown Range ride: Arrowtown to the Crown Range. This
is a social ride from the intersection of Speargrass Flat Rd,
Lake Hayes/Arrowtown Rd and Hogans Gully Rd. Cyclists will
climb the zig-zags to the top of the Crown Range and return
to Arrowtown. A road bike is advisable. Starts 8.30am and is
Kids Mini X: Butlers Green, Arrowtown. A small course
designed around the Arrow River reserve for ages 4-14. Time:
Monday March 25
Go-by-bike day: All over the Wakatipu. Ride to work or
with the kids on school holidays, whatever you are doing make
sure it's on two wheels. All day. The amount of petrol you
are saving means it costs you in the minuses.
Vertigo Giant Skippers Special: at Skippers halfway up
Coronet Peak. A supported ride into Skippers canyon at 2pm.
Night-time mountain bike ride: Queenstown. Riding with
your mates at your own pace on the trails we all know well
enough to be riding in the dark. 6pm and beyond for free.
Tuesday March 26
Girls-only coffee ride: Starting Frankton Beach. Girls
on any type of bike riding the trails and roads of Queenstown
before stopping at the same destination for coffee and a
yarn. Start 10am. Free entry.
Dirtmasters Downhill practice: Queenstown Bike Park.
Watch the pros practise ahead of Wednesday's competition.
You're more likely to catch the spills and sharp cornering
and with a smaller audience. From 10.15am to 12.15am, then
2pm-4pm. Passholders $90, others $130.
Through the lens: World Bar, films capturing all of
Queenstown's hot spots such as the bike park, the Gorge Rd
jump and biking in the Southern Lakes region. At 7.30pm.
Costs QMTBC members $5, non-members $10.
Wednesday March 27
Slopestyle practice Ballarat St car park. Practice for
some of the world's best freestyle riders ahead of the first
FMB World Tour event in New Zealand. All day for free.
Dirtmasters Downhill: Queenstown Bike Park. The
downhillers utilise one of the country's best bike parks
using a gondola access way. From 10.15am to 12.15am then
2pm-4pm, prizegiving at the Lone Star from 7pm. Passholders
$90, others $130.
Brecon St downhill finish party: Brecon St stairs.
This is very nearly the favourite to watch. The world-class
riders leap over these steps and perform tricks like you
wouldn't believe with some local DJ commentary. Good
atmosphere and right in the middle of town. From 1pm to 5pm.
Free. Thursday March 28 Hilton Coffee ride: Hilton Hotel for
those who like coffee and pedalling, this is a dream Thursday
morning social ride. Riders will take the Queenstown trail
and enjoy the sites before rewarding themselves with coffee
and cake back at the Hilton. At 10am, and it's free. Teva
Slopestyle: Ballarat St car park. A discipline of mountain
biking that holds the best tricks judged for style and
difficulty. Flatspins, can-cans, flips and Supermans in front
of a usually giant crowd. Practice all day, competition 6pm
Friday, March 29
Konica Minolta Bikes in the park: Earnslaw Park. Think
unicycles, dress-ups, bike jumps and children. This is the
perfect day out with the kids. Starts at noon. Free.
League of ladies: Seven Mile. An exclusive ladies
event for teams and individuals. Not a serious event, but
dressing up is seriously recommended and the event will be
followed by a drink at the Lone Star afterwards. From 5pm to
7.30pm. Gold coin donation.
Saturday March 30
The Tour de Wakatipu: From Millbrook to Chard Farm. A
45km elite and recreational ride from Millbrook to Chard Farm
via some of the Wakatipu's best trails and tracks including
unique access to the Close Burn Station. Starts 8am, $75
adult, $45 junior, $45 runners.
Sunday, March 31
Mega avalanche ride: The Remarkables. The start is
high on the main ridge line visible to Queenstown at 1980m.
Riders will descend the main ridge through wild country
riding on track, rocky drops, tussocks. Time: 10am practice,
2pm race. The Full Monty costs $205, Deluxe $145, Hardcore
Bike made in NZ with love: AJ Hackett bungy centre.
Made in New Zealand's competition winner 2013 will be
crowned. Cycle builders from all over the country,
professionals, gifted amateurs, artists and dreamers have
been encouraged to show their creation. Builders enter road
bikes, cruisers, cross, mountain bikes, downhill bikes, hot
rods, porteurs or commuters. Any bike Made in New Zealand
''with love'' could be entered. Time: 6pm; costs $10