As part of New Zealand's fastest growing recreation, recreational cyclists from the four corners of the country now have their own 'national tour.'
BikeNZ, through its recreational cycling community RideStrong, have launched the RaboDirect RideStrong Ranking Series.
Encompassing eleven of New Zealand's biggest and most iconic recreational cycling events this summer including the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge 160km Solo, riders complete just two events to receive a nationwide recreational rider ranking.
Over 35,000 riders are expected to complete series events. The series tagline 'It's not about winning; it's about beating your mates' certainly captures the spirit of these recreational riders.
Fun, participation, and just the right amount of competition are the main focuses of the series, so the major prize will be drawn randomly from all entrants. The major prize package includes a Tour de France Experience for two from RaboDirect, and major prizes from SKINS, Suunto, Bluebridge, Adidas Eyewear, Leppin and Thule.
The ranking series is promoted as a golf handicap, but for cyclists. Riders are able to track their progress from year to year and create friendly rivalries with riders from around the country.
"Kiwi's are turning to cycling like never before," says BikeNZ series organiser Benji Hall. "Over 80,000 cyclists are entering cycling events each year.
"The growing cycling scene includes a fantastic cross-section of New Zealanders. It is becoming a real sub culture for busy workers looking for fun, fitness and social interaction after a tough week."
Last year's pilot series saw Steve Wright from Tauranga ranked number one. His closest rival was his mother's partner Cyril Hibberd at 69 years old, showing age is no barrier! Labour MP and former Minister of Sport Trevor Mallard finished an impressive 15th. Otago University Marketing Professor Sanna Wooliscroft was the top placed female.
To help riders develop their skills and abilities, the series is promoting 'Top Tips' from national coaches and experts in their field at http://ranking.ridestrong.org.nz .
"Riding in a group is a great way to socialise, but also a fantastic way to get better and pick up safe riding techniques. To help new riders be involved in the series we've introduced a Team's series for this summer too."
Teams of three to five riders can enter the series from only $60 per team.
For details on how to enter the series and for top riding tips visit www.ridestrong.org.nz