Huge number of cyclists ride the Airport runway
Hundreds of cyclists of all ages and abilities took part in a rare opportunity to bike down the runway of the Rotorua Airport on Friday 13th February 2015 and the first evening event for the 2015 Rotorua Bike Festival. Official participation numbers have been calculated at 850 cyclists and over 350 spectators – far exceeding expectations of event organisers.
The first ever Rotorua Airport bike festival event offered riders the chance to ride on the runway of the city’s airport, a rare treat for members of the public. The evening took off with Ride the Runway, a family event for the general public, and ended with The Flying Kilo, a 1km straight line drag race for professional riders.
“It is a rare, possibly first ever, chance for cyclists to ride the runway, but more exciting is the opportunity for the public to see the stars of elite cycling open their throttles in the inaugural flying kilo event” said Rotorua Bike Festival ambassador and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson,
Among the participants was Rotorua born and raised Olympic cyclist Sam Bewley, 27.
“It is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. It is going to be fun, it’s a unique experience and has brought the crowds. Everyone wants to do something different.
“I have done the kilo before but I have never done this on a runway.
“I think it’s going to be awesome, every year the festival gets larger and larger.
“Eventually we want to get everybody on bikes, and not just for a week.”
Olympian, Tour de France professional and Rotorua local Julian Dean said he and his sons Tanner, 9, and Val, 6, were also participants in the evening’s event.
Rotorua Bike Festival ambassador Gary Sullivan was stoked with the turnout.
“It is way bigger than any of us thought it was going to be. I am blown away. It has affirmed really that Rotorua loves bikes.
“You’ve got people who are full-time professional Tour de France riders here.
“It is incredible, I am absolutely amazed. It is a good sign of things to come for the rest of the festival.”