‘Give It A Go’ Adaptive Mountain Biking Day In Rotorua To Bring Freedom For Those With Disabilities
Those interested in having a go at adaptive mountain biking will hit the Rotorua trails on Saturday 29 May supported by a group of organisations providing a range of bikes to support a ‘Give it a Go’ day.
#AdaptMTB with Mountain Bike Rotorua, and supported by Parafed Bay of Plenty and Parafed Auckland, is hosting the ‘Give it a Go’ day at 33 Waipa State Mill Rd, Rotorua so that those with disabilities can learn how to mountain bike in a supportive and helpful environment.
From 9:30am - 3:30pm, Saturday 29th May those with physical disabilities will be out on Rotorua’s trails to test out a range of adaptive mountain bikes with the support and help of other adaptive riders and volunteers.
This event is free for its participants who can book a 1 hour session via the website
. Based on uptake at previous events, the organisers expect it to be fully booked.
In recent years the advancement of electric-mountain bikes and trikes has made it possible for those with a physical disability to return to mountain biking or to try it for the first time, a recreational activity they can enjoy with friends and family.
James Littlejohn of #AdaptMTB, rides an e-mountain bike, which gives him the ability to ride any of the trails his non-disabled friends ride.
James says “Mountain biking has many benefits for a disabled person like myself, exercise of course, but mainly it's given me the chance to get outdoors with family and friends just like before my accident.”
Rotorua local and #AdaptMTB board member Andrew Burt says “The sports and care organisations, equipment suppliers and Rotorua community have all jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this event since we first started to plan it a little over a month ago.”
“Mountain Bike Rotorua is providing e-mountain bikes, Parafed Bay of Plenty and Parafed Auckland along with Melrose chairs and Trikes NZ are all bringing a huge range of exciting adaptive bikes and trikes for people to try. We’ve also had experienced adaptive riders offer to bring their own gear along so that others can give it a try. You definitely get the feel-good factor when you have such an outpouring of support.”
Kim Littlejohn #AdaptMTB board member says “We decided that mountain biking is about getting out in the great outdoors and enjoying the natural environment in all its shades. Unless some major weather event hits the country we will be riding rain or shine!”
The week before the ‘Give it a go’ day #AdaptMTB is presenting at the Green Pavlova Parks and Recreation Conference in Rotorua (25 -28 May 2021) on increasing accessibility of parks and recreational spaces to disabled people in New Zealand.
#AdaptMTB – building an adaptive MTB community
#AdaptMTB board member James Littlejohn took up adaptive mountain biking in 2018 after an accident in 1999 left him without the full use of his legs.
“For non disabled people it can be relatively easy to take up recreational mountain biking, they can rock up to most mountain bike parks in New Zealand and hire a bike or even just borrow a bike from a friend.” says James.
“But for a disabled person wanting to get into mountain biking, either after an accident or who has never had the chance to try, it's not so easy. A handful of trikes can be borrowed from various disabled sports organisations but there are usually only one or two available for a whole region of the country. Then you have to get the usually large, heavy and cumbersome equipment to the trail and organise enough support people to ride with you should something go wrong. That could be something as simple as a narrow access barrier that you can’t get through, or a tight bend you can’t get your trike round.“
“We want to change this so one of the goals for our organisation, #AdaptMTB, is to provide regular opportunities for disabled people to ‘give it a go’.”
James says “#AdaptMTB wants to build a strong community of adaptive mountain bikers and friends here in New Zealand who can share their experiences and knowledge about the adaptations they’ve made, the bikes they ride and where they ride.”
“We also want to encourage and support adaptive mountain bikers by advocating for the inclusion and needs of adaptive mountain bikers at bike parks and events. We were stoked to work with Ari Tibble and the Crankworx Rotorua team last year to make the event accessible to spectators - and to include adaptive athlete categories. It was a huge step forward for the sport in New Zealand and globally!”
Kim Littlejohn of #AdaptMTB says “Since forming #AdaptMTB the response has been incredible from participants and from supporters. So many people are keen to be a part of what we are doing. Through social media networks we have made contacts internationally with adaptive riders and similar organisations overseas, sharing ideas they have or equipment they have tested. We know the need and want is here in NZ, we just need the backing to build similar setups that we see overseas here.”
#AdaptMTB was founded by James and Kim Littlejohn in 2019 and became a registered charitable trust at the beginning of this year (2021). Already the organisation has attracted participants across the North Island, through running events that enable and encourage people with disabilities into the sport of adaptive mountain biking.