With a grim looking weather forecast I packed up the truck with bike and gear in tow and started my journey down to Rotorua.  My windscreen wipers on their fastest mode I drove carefully over the hill and down into Rotorua.  My plan had been to get in a ride before all the lovely ladies arrived.  Too be honest I was feeling a little annoyed with the weather.  I LOVE riding in the Whakarewarewa Forest by myself and wanted a little me time before the busyness of the weekend overtook.

Arriving at the house I was super impressed with the layout and decided I had picked a ‘good one’.  I fell in love with the bike room and my spirits started to rise.  Was that sunshine peeping through?  I quickly set up the house, got on my bike and rode to the forest YAY I was now in my happy space.

With mud on my clothes, bike and body I arrived back at the house.  The ladies were starting to arrive and get settled in.  Everyone happy to have arrived safely and ready for some cycling action.

An evening spent getting to know each other with a shared meal and lots of talking!!  Must be a girl’s weekend!!!

SATURDAY arrived with the forecast much improved.  Still with a VERY fresh wind and not expected to get much past 10 degrees.  We all wrapped up warm and got ready for the arrival of our very own shuttle bus.  I had never hired a bus before and since we weren’t going to fill it I had contacted the local women’s cycling groups Rotorua Revolve https://revolverotorua.com/and Cranky Diva’s biketaupo.org.nz/page/363073  to see if anyone wanted to join us for the day.

With our bikes loaded and all settled on the bus we rumbled our way to Waiotapu – our starting point.  The goal was to ride back to Lake Rotorua along the Te Aha Ara Cycle Trail and then back to our accommodation, about 50km.

We set off in two groups – a huge thanks to the Lynda and Barbara for helping for the whole day.  There is something special about girls who ride bikes.  Didn’t matter that we were all strangers as we had a common factor – the love of getting outdoors and cycling.   The day made all the effort that I had put into brainstorming and organising totally worth it.  Ladies coming together of all abilities and enjoying the moment.

The Te Ara Ahi Cycle Trail https://www.nzcycletrail.com/trails/te-ara-ahi/ is not one of those on the top of the to do list. I certainly rate it as a good ride for those who wish to experience a NZ Cycle Trail but are not quite ready for something more remote.  It is a step up from the easier rail trails (Hauraki or Otago) giving you a taste of single track, riding under the road in a tunnel, gravel roads, quiet country roads and a concrete pathway along State Highway 5.   What’s more is its hot steam vents and creeks full of hot water – where else can you get that?

https://www.nzcycletrail.com/trails/te-ara-ahi/

SUNDAY we hit the trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest under the watchful eye of Riding Flow.  A few weary bodies this morning but all still SMILING.  That’s is what I love most about my job – the smiles!  Whakarewarewa Forest is my favourite place to ride.  This is where I fell in love with mountain biking all those years ago.  The trails never disappoint, and it was great to introduce the ladies to this magical forest that smells divine and has such fantastic trails for all ages and abilities.

The weekend wraps up after a lunch at the café.  Next time let’s hope the new hot tubs complex is open, so we can have a good long soak before heading home.

Thank you, Rotorua for giving us such a fantastic weekend and massive thank you to Allie, Sue, Caroline, Teresa, Lynda, Katrina, Catherine and Jo for signing up for the weekend.

Looking forward to the next adventure with you already.  Keep an eye out for when & where it will be.

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Janet Stark

Author Janet Stark

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