Ride the Runway is baaaaaaack

Ride the Runway is back as part of the 2017 Rotorua Bike Festival, featuring the addition of some new and familiar events with a kiwiana twist, for a cranking good family evening out.

Made possible with the continued support of Air New Zealand and Holland Beckett Lawyers, next year’s twilight event is on Saturday 18 February at Rotorua Airport. New events to entertain the crowds include Bike Sheep Dog Trials, where different bike codes form teams to herd sheep around a specially designed course and into a holding pen, as well as an Elite Eliminator Race on a tight, spectator-friendly circuit on the runway, where the slowest rider on each lap gets eliminated until a winner is crowned.

Festival favourites are also back, including the Ride the Runway twilight zone event where riders young and old are welcomed onto the runway to strut their stuff on an array of pedalling machines, plus an Open Speed Session for those who want to challenge their mates and family members over different distances in a measured sprint zone.

Event organiser Jason Cameron from Rotorua Lakes Council’s Events Team says it’s great to be back for a third year and to keep building on previous year’s events.

“After the popularity of the past two years and over 1300 riders participating in 2016, it’s great to be back with new events to get people’s wheels spinning. We’ve also moved the event to the evening, to take advantage of the magic of twilight.

“New for 2017 is the Bike Sheep Dog Trials, where different bike codes – mountain bike, BMX, unicycle, tandem, downhill, you name it – will go head-to-head in teams to round up the Romneys.

“Also new this year is the Elite Elimination Race – picture a short, fast course with frantic and close racing over about 15 to 20 minutes. The rider at the rear of each lap is chopped until only one remains.

“The Open Speed Session is another event where we switch everything up a gear. Riders will have the opportunity to race their mates over various measured distances to post a fast time in the speed zone.”

Airport acting CEO John Harrison says the free event is a great night out for the whole family and is one not to miss.

“It’s a great opportunity for locals from Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty to get involved in the bike festival and have a ride on a runway – there aren’t many other places you can do that. The family-friendly event is all about having a go and celebrating Rotorua’s unique bike culture and it’s great the airport can team up with the festival for such a fantastic community event.”

On top of all the action on the runway will be DJs, live music, craft food and drink stalls, kids’ bike obstacle course, penny farthing and e-bike have a go, fire engines, a photo booth, prize draws and more. Rotorua Airport will also be fundraising for the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, where firefighters race up the Auckland Sky Tower’s 51 flights of stairs to raise money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Gates open at 5pm, with the final event held at 7.45pm, just as the sun dips behind Mokoia Island and the runway lights light up the tarmac.

It’s easy to enter and best of all it’s free. Just turn up on the day to register for the Ride the Runway and Speed Session events. For more information, keep an eye on the Rotorua Bike Festival Facebook page.