1 March 16: RideNZ.co launches travel website for cyclists

RideNZ.co is a new travel website bent on simplifying the cycling and mountain biking trails, networks and Great Rides of the Central North Island, New Zealand.

The first of its kind, RideNZ.co features a rider-matching trail selector, a geographical "explore by map" trail finder and a fully bookable itinerary builder.

The idea for RideNZ.co started more than two years ago with a desire and need to show the depth and breadth of trails and rides in the Central North Island region.

"Nowhere else in New Zealand do you have the sheer number, quality and range of cycling and mountain biking trails, 365 days a year," explains Tania Bui, chair of the Cycling and Mountain Biking Tourism Marketing Network for the Central North Island (CMB TMN). "There’s something for everyone and all within two to three hours’ drive of Auckland."

The trail-matching feature of RideNZ.co means a visitor can select which type of rider they are, which then filters the trail selections accordingly. Experienced riders can easily find the best adventure and backcountry trails, while those new to biking can quickly filter down to just the trails that are best suited to them.

"There are so many world-class mountain biking and cycling trails in this region," explains CMB TMN marketing manager Derek Morrison. "And the trail builders are working hard every day to add more. We wanted to present all the trails in a simple, easy to understand way and make them accessible to everyone - from those new to cycling to more advanced riders looking for adventure."

Tourism New Zealand’s special interest marketing manager Tony Rogers has watched the development of the trail portal closely.

"RideNZ.co does a great job of showcasing the depth and diversity of the cycling offering in the Central North Island region adding more strength to the overall appeal of New Zealand as an international cycling destination," Rogers said.

Morrison said riding in the Central North Island was distinct in three ways.

"It has trails that can be ridden all year - even through winter," he offers. "It has trails to suit all levels of riders and it has such a wide variety of terrain, from perfectly formed flowing trails to the family-friendly scenic rides that are proving so popular. RideNZ.co makes it easy to discover them all."

Bui said the site was laden with all the info a rider needed to make a decision to go and ride. When you added to this the "local knowledge" and tips for more than 30 trails or networks you had something unique that truly showcased why the Central North Island was such a great place to ride.

Morrison said the CMB TMN team recognised early on in their planning that cyclists and mountain bikers liked to ride together and share their experiences and this was why they muscled up the sharing elements of the RideNZ.co platform.

Building an itinerary on RideNZ.co allows a visitor to then share this with as many people as they like - by email, or through social media - directly from the mobile-friendly website.

"RideNZ.co aims to take visitors on that journey from discovery, to planning a trip, to booking it and actually embarking on their adventure," said Morrison. "RideNZ.co connects the riders with everything they need to bring their cycling holiday dreams alive."

RideNZ.co has been developed by Terabyte for the CMB TMN, which represents eight Regional Tourism Organisations: The Coromandel, Hamilton-Waikato, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, Eastland, Hawke’s Bay, Great Lake Taupo and Ruapehu. The CMB TMN is also supported by Bay of Connections, Bay Trust, Sport Bay of Plenty, Motu Trails and Rotorua Airport Limited.

"The CMBTMN has been working closely with Tourism New Zealand to align what we are doing with TNZ’s ‘NZ Inc’ program, capturing what visitors want in what we are offering," Bui said. "This is all about adding value and meeting a need."

RideNZ.co was also about enhancing that ride experience by ensuring the trails matched the expectations of each rider.

"We want someone new to cycling to come away with a grin and a desire to explore more of the incredible cycling network we have in New Zealand," explains Morrison. "If we achieve that and we get more people out on bikes enjoying our country then we have achieved success."