Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

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Relay bikes being prepared for transport (2007).
Relay riders waiting for their teammates (2007).
The bagpiper on Hatepe Hill (2007).
Aftermath crowds on the Taupo Domain (2007).

The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is New Zealand's largest mass participation cycling event.[1] First held in 1977, it takes place on the last Saturday of each November and circumnavigates Lake Taupo, a volcanic crater lake in the centre of the North Island. The ride starts and finishes in Taupo with one full circuit being approximately 160 km. Around 7,000 riders take part each year.[2]


The event aims to cater for all riders, from the elite racers to those just wishing to make it around. This is reflected in the range of finishing times - from under 4 to over 10 hours. Riders are asked to nominate finishing times and staggered starts are used to group riders by ability.

Subcategories of the event are (2017 data):[3]

  • Round The Lake: A one lap circuit of Lake Taupo for individual riders. Approximately 160 km.
  • Half The Lake: Ride the second half of the Lake Taupo circuit. Approximately 80km.
  • Quarter Lake: Ride the last quarter of the Lake Taupo circuit. Approximately 40km.
  • Lakesider: A 16 km leisure ride for recreational cyclists, mostly off-road.
  • Kids Heart Ride: An option for children under 10, a 5 km distance into Taupo.
  • Enduro: An option for individuals who ride multiple laps of the lake circuit (normally either two, four or eight, - this is certified as a qualifying brevet for Paris–Brest–Paris and RAAM).
  • Huka Mountain Bike: Mountain bike challenges of 35km, 60km or 85 km, and an 85 km elite licensed rider race.
  • Men's Classic Road Race: An official BikeNZ sanctioned race. Participants set off before the rest of the riders, competing in a full-on race, with a current racing license required, and entry limited to 100 riders. Riders must have a previous best time in the main event of under 4:30.
  • Women's Classic Road Race: A women's only 100 km race for licensed riders from Taupo to Turangi and return.


  • Fastest Round the Lake (male): Aaron Gate 3:39 (2016 Men's Classic winner)
  • Fastest Round the Lake (female): Susy Pryde 3:57 (1999) [4]


  1. ^ "Injuries dog Taupo cycle race". Herald on Sunday. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Griffin, Peter (11 October 2007). "All in the timing for radio tag team". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Great lake bike ride". The New Zealand Herald. 8 November 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge - Cycle records"

External links[edit]