Former TV and film producer launches NZ’s first e-bike festival
Having created some of New Zealand’s most successful television shows and films Dave Gibson’s latest production is Cyclorama, New Zealand’s first e-bike festival.
Gibson spent four years as chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission before moving to rural Queenstown to join his partner and take up e-biking.
“It only takes me 15 minutes to get to Arrowtown and you can go to people’s places for dinner, and you’re not even sweating,” he said.
While enthusiastically researching his new pastime on the internet he came across an-e-bike festival in Verbier, Switzerland, and another in Flachau, Austria.
“They are these high mountain, winter resort-type places and this has suddenly become the summer thing to do.”
The similarities with Queenstown were obvious.
“This is a really great place for it. I thought that if I didn’t do it someone else would.”
The area is increasingly becoming known for its cycle trail offerings with hundreds of kilometres of off-road trails, mountainbike events and tours available.
A recent report commissioned by businessman Rod Drury – another local biking enthusiast – found biking in the region could become almost 50% of the size of the ski visitor economy by 2026.
Gibson, who created and ran Gibson Group producing films such as The Silent One and television programmes including Public Eye, The Strip, Duggan and The Insider’s Guide to Happiness. pulled together a team of event professionals and e-bike enthusiasts to create Cyclorama.
The inaugural festival, which is having a delayed launch after being scuppered by Covid-19 regulations last year, is scheduled for Labour Weekend in October. It includes six separate events, all non-competitive, and with a focus on fun.
Most are self-guiding and include enjoying the most of the region’s wine and food offerings.
The Tour de Gourmet is a progressive degustation-style ride in the Wakatipu Basin, the Hop Trail visits craft breweries, and Peddling Pinot includes lunch with renowned Gibbston winemaker Grant Taylor.
The Ginology trail includes gin tasting, and blending your own gin at a taxidermist studio.
If participants don’t feel as in control of their e-bike as they should afterwards, there is an option to be picked up and returned to Arrowtown, for a small charge.
Other rides include a bird-watching tour around Lake Hayes and a “Ride to the Sky” with local e-MTB guide Shay Muddle up Mt Rosa, one of his favourite and hard to access rides.
Gibson anticipated hundreds would book for the rides and hoped many more would visit the e-biking hub on Arrowtown’s Butler’s Green, which would include bike retailers, free tips and tricks sessions, a bike doctor, bike jumps, coffee and food.
“You spend a day on a bike in nice surroundings with a bunch of people and have some nice food and a glass of something, and have a good time.
“That’s the vibe.”
There would be no requirement to wear lycra and people of all ages were already booking their spot, he said.
And while those with regular bikes were welcome, the festival was intended for people with e-bikes, he said.
The large and growing number of trails in the region meant there was plenty of scope for the festival to continue to evolve in the future.