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Crankworx King & Queen victory lap with Taupo's young biking community

After Crankworx Rotorua 2021, mountain bike power couple Vaea Verbeeck and Bas van Steenbergen visited the heartbeat of Taupo's growing bike scene. After two weeks in MIQ, 30 events, a few close calls, and 15 podiums, the King and Queen of Crankworx 2021 took a victory lap to Taupo for a flowy session at Taupo Bike Park.

They met up with fellow Crankworx rider and local dirt jump builder Mason Bryant to jump with the next generation of Crankworx riders. What began as a community project, the Taupo Bike Park is now the go-to spot for young riders to progress with their skills and, most importantly, have fun riding outdoors!

But these high-flying jumps aren't just for locals.

Bas and Vaea have raced on the world's best mountain bike tracks, from downhill racing in Mont Sainte-Anne to giant dual slaloms in Whistler.

So what brings them back to Taupo?

With Craters MTB Park just a few minutes drive and the resurgence at Taupo Bike Park, Taupo's mountain bike scene is booming.

“It’s obvious that the cycling community is alive and well at Taupo Bike Park. People of all ages and skill levels come and hang out. It’s a great place to meet new friends and learn from others.”

Vaea

Bike park of dreams

In 2015 then 18-year-old Joe Simpson (local rider and national BMX Dirt Jump winner) presented in front of Taupo District Council, asking for that land to build Taupo's first official dirt jumps.

A Fields of Dreams moment, Joe, his family, and his friends all supported the park's construction from the ground up. Since Joe has moved away, Mason Bryant has taken over, spending hours of his free time maintaining the jumps.

“The guys (Joe and Mason) owned it and built it. They found pleasure in shaping the jumps. It was something for them to own and make a difference for other people coming through.” - Cath Simpson

On weekend dig days, Mason invites local riders and anyone who can pick up a shovel to help. Many of the supplies, tools, and ideas for the parks are straight from the community during these jam sessions.

What was once an empty plot of land at Spa Thermal Park is now a thriving community.

“The goal for (Taupo Bike Park) is to make it a community destination, getting people on bikes, progressing, smiling, and getting kids...into the outdoors.”

Mason

Every Tuesday afternoon, Cath Simpson from Kids Bike Taupo brings a big van with 30 bikes so kids can jump straight on the tracks.

"The thing about Spa Park (Taupo Bike Park) and going down there every Tuesday is it's an opportunity for all levels of skill and for every member of the family. You have the littles on the first progression lines with their balance bikes while big brother or sister practice their skills on the bigger jumps. Meanwhile, the littles can look ahead to their older siblings and have something to look forward to. It's also an opportunity for the parents or grandparents to get advice about buying bikes and helmets."– Cath

This free service from Kids Bike Taupo and the Taupo Bike Park are monumental in getting kids out on bikes and enjoying Taupo's outdoors every week.

I love Spa Park because it’s a place where kids are just hanging out, playing, and there happen to be bikes there! It's all free and a very relaxing environment – it's about the kids having the same opportunities to be brave and have fun.

Cath

Riders from all around

This community effort made Taupo Bike Park the location for competitions like the 2020 NZ Dirt Jump Nationals. Riders from all over the country to international mountain bike legends have now come to ride these high-flying dirt jumps.

"It’s always fun to come ride at the Taupo Bike Park. Mason and the crew do an amazing job keeping things running perfectly. It’s a pretty mellow vibe at the jumps, so it’s always super inviting to ride!"-Bas

Mason and the bike park community push this momentum forward with expansion goals for the park. "The addition of a tar-heel pump track and dual slalom track to the park will be a game-changer for Taupo." -Mason

Taupo Bike Park is where locals and visitors meet and ride together, encouraging their love for biking and having fun outside.

Taupo Bike Park had a fun and chill environment. It was exciting to try bigger lines and jumps and also be able to watch everyone else ride their lines from anywhere. It was so cool seeing so many younger kids absolutely shredding the jumps! Having such an inviting scene is showing to be awesome for everybody!

Bas & Vaea

Next time you're in the Taupo region, join this thriving bike community at the Taupo Bike Park. The Taupo Bike Park is free to ride and open all year round– all of you need is a sense of adventure, and you're ready to start jumping!

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  4. Crankworx King & Queen victory lap with Taupo's young biking community