The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has awarded Rotorua with their most prestigious gold-level ride centre status. This positions the destination as one of six preeminent Ride Centres in the world.
The official International Association for Mountain Biking, IMBA has been dedicated to enhancing and preserving mountain biking experiences since 1988. With more than 35,000 individual members and over 100,000 supporters, IMBA is the global authority for all things mountain biking.
Four years ago a tiered recognition system was introduced to recognise the very best trails and ride centres in the world, and to be announced as one of the elite few is a great achievement.
"Rotorua has emerged as a world-class venue for mountain bikers," says Mark Eller, IMBA's communications director. "It was an easy call to recognize Rotorua as a gold-level Ride Centre because it offers everything we look for, from lift-served gravity trails to extensive riding in natural settings."
Staff at IMBA select candidates for Ride Centre recognition on an invitation-only basis. The destination can then submit a detailed application before being assessed in line with strict evaluation criteria. To achieve the gold-level rating, the Rotorua Ride Centre scored an exceptional grading of 92 out of a possible 100.
President of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club Gregg Brown said that the gold-level status is a credit to Rotorua’s passionate Mountain Biking Community.
“In Rotorua we have a legacy of two to three decades of volunteers going out into the forest and building this amazing network of trails. This recognition is testament to their hard work, dedication and passion for the sport we love.”
Adding to the international exposure received from the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua and held in March 2015 and the Rotorua Bike Festival, every February since 2013, the city is continuing cementing itself as the world’s premier all year round mountain biking destination.
It is the only MTB destination in the world to have hosted a UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, a round of the UCI Trials World Cup (2009), the Singlespeed World Champs (2010), Crankworx and a round of the Enduro World Series (2015).
Rotorua will add to this impressive roster when the 2016 WEMBO 24 hour Solo World Championships features on the second weekend of next year's Bike Festival.
“IMBA gold status is a sensational achievement for our community” says Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, who is also Economic Growth Portfolio lead and chairman of Crankworx Rotorua. “It perfectly complements our focus on Mountain Biking as one of the key drivers of our Rotorua visitor economy alongside the likes of contemporary Maori culture and Spa & Wellness” says Dave.The Bike Festival returns from Friday February 12 to Sunday February 21, 2016.
10 days, 30 events, 10,000 wheels.
Biking for everyone.
Rotorua Festival on Facebook
Photos: Graeme Murray
Words: Ash Palmer
• Rob Paul on the Puarenga - this runs alongside the stream of the same name and, in Maori, means 'flowers of sulphur'. Rotorua is famous for its remarkable geothermal landscape, too. This is what attracted Victorian adventurers to the region in the mid-1990s and was when tourism in New Zealand was 'invented'.
• Carole Tew on The Dipper, one of the original trails in the park - built in the early 1990s by pioneering builder, Fred Christensen.
Want to see more great trails in Rotorua? Support our friends at the Rotorua Trails Trust
and earn Trail Karma
while you're at it.