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    The defining celebration of world-class mountain biking has signed its longest contract to date, committing to Crankworx Rotorua for the next 10 years. 
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    Plan your cycling holiday to intercept one of these events and you’ll have a far deeper, richer experience … and we’re not just talking about the lactic acid in your muscles or that post-event party fog. Here are the best events to explore each year … 
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    “The only thing I miss about Auckland, is going to Rotorua for the weekend”. That's the world according to Gaz, who caught up with mountain bike writer Graeme Simpson. Drop that name into a conversation with a lot of New Zealand (and Australian) mountain bikers and you will get a knowing nod in return. Gaz, or Gary Sullivan as his mother called him, is a life-long biker. He was a New Zealand representative on the track back in the 1970s … best known for his fierce riding skills and a mountain bike clothing business called Nzo. 
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    Lewis Ryan only recently turned 18, but that didn’t stop the mountain biking and off-road triathlon star from wrapping up the 15-19-year-old division of the Xterra Asia-Pacific Tour in Langkawi, Malaysia, in May. He just may be the friendliest guy in adventure sport, but he doesn’t rest easily on his laurels. Just last weekend he raced to the overall victory at Xterra Lake Tahoe, California. It was his first overall win in this intense off-road triathlon genre. We caught up with Lewis in his hometown of Rotorua before he jetted out for his first leg of international events. 
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    RideNZ's Scarlett Hagen takes a closer look at adventure photographer Camilla Rutherford’s special journey around the Central North Island. Complete with a couple of 1970s VW Kombi campervans, this journey was entrenched in style right from the beginning. 
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    The Central North Island provides the perfect selection of easy going trails for families that are new to mountain biking. This fun activity will create memories that your family will cherish for years to come. 
  • Brook MacDonald at home in Napier, Hawke's Bay. Photo: Derek Morrison
    He may be a regular Top 10 rider in the UCI World Cup Downhill circuit, but when Brook Macdonald returns home to Hawke's Bay at the end of each year, he loves nothing better than blasting around Pan Pac Eskdale MTB Park with friends. We caught up with the rider nick-named Bulldog at his home in Napier and took him out for a few laps in his backyard. 
  • Justin Leov rides Kataore – one of his favourite trails in Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo: Derek Morrison
    When Justin Leov touches down in Rotorua he has one forest on his mind. talks to the 32-year-old professional downhill and enduro mountain biker about why he loves the trails of Whakarewarewa Forest and why Rotorua has become the heart of mountain biking in New Zealand. 
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    Taupo is a town with the spirit of tourism running through its veins. From its magnificent lake stretching south to where it meets the mountains of the volcanic plateau glistening in the distance, to its hub and bustle centre, Taupo knows how to thrive. It has also become a cycling hub and as mountain biking writer Graeme Simpson found out, biking has become a big part of what Taupo has to offer. 
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    The Central North Island cycle trails are a great destination for recreational cyclists looking for a weekend of laidback adventure. The scenery is spectacular and travelling through the farmland, mountains, valleys and past lakes from the seat of your bike is a very different experience to whizzing by in a vehicle. You will see others out on their bikes enjoying the sunshine, you will smell the fresh air, swim in the lakes and rivers and take photos from the vantage points of some magnificent bridges.