Congratulations to Brendon Flanagan from Wellington. This year was his 20th consecutive ride in the big Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge event. Just consider there were over 7,000 riders who trained 250-300km every week for the last six weeks, since the start of October, to be able to compete and still stand up the next day.
An indication of how popular biking has increased so much in popularity is the numbers participating in this big event.
For the first year – 1977 – they had 26 riders. Now for the 42nd event, there were over 7,000 with 14 different event categories attracting over 16,000 visitors to Taupo (halfway to everywhere) needing over 800 volunteers from over 30 local organisations to provide all the back-up and pit stops, etc.. The entire community gets involved. Outstanding!
The weather for the 2018 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge was simply appalling. The riders got all seasons in one ride – hot, cold, dry, wet, etc. Everything the elements could throw at them to make it more difficult. Yet the huge smiles of satisfaction to achieve such a challenge (we knocked the b____ off!) were everywhere.
Isn’t it great to see how biking is back in fashion. Judging from the numbers of cars sporting bike racks and the number of bike trails that have appeared in the last ten years, the popularity is still increasing.
On right is another ‘young’ retired couple, Michael & Robyn Hughes from Blenheim, who were also booked in to TRM at the same time. Their bikes are slightly different, known as e-bikes. Their enthusiasm for biking is wonderful to see.
After their life style enjoyment potential was threatened by health concerns such as hip replacements, etc. the bikes have extended their physical activities so significantly. For them it was like a new lease on life. So lovely to see.
On right is the Dominique family from Canada who embraced the advantages of biking the river trails to find undisturbed pools in the beautiful upper river environment.
At TRM we meet many anglers who have lost the strength and agility in their legs from so many years stumbling over the river boulders, or whatever reason – nothing at all to do with old age of course….
But once SWMBO has convinced them to try out a specially equipped TRM bike on the Tongariro River Trail, to achieve easier access to famous pools (Kamahi, Cattle rustlers, Stag Pool, etc. which they had thought were beyond their ability), it is rewarding to see them return next visit with their own bikes! They convert into biking fishos and relish riding the river tracks almost as much as the fishing. Their additional time spent fishing (not necessarily “catching”) makes the bikes such a good investment.
Bikes make it all so relatively easy and less stressful such as when anglers cruise 2-3 km to a pool only to find someone was there ahead of them, then it is no big effort to bike on to the next pool. The bikes are also very appreciated when they have to carry their heavy limit catch back to TRM.
Now summer is almost here the number of bikes seen regularly using the Tongariro River Trail far exceed walkers and anglers combined. The variety of bike styles encourage the entire family to get involved and share the recreation experiences.
Tomorrow TRM Daily Report features the local volunteer army that maintain the Tongariro River Trail to make it even easier for bikers – otherwise it would never get done… Plus the plans for extending the Tongariro River Trail? Don’t miss it.
Other Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge images below…