From its humble beginnings in 1977 with 26 participants, the event has grown significantly but still retains a unique community feeling – it is now owned and organised by the Rotary Club of Taupo Moana and involves 1000 local volunteers belonging to 43 groups who provide much-needed support to the participants throughout the weekend.
Cycle Challenge is now one of New Zealand's most popular sporting events. It is a largely non-competitive bike ride around New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo, a distance of 160 km.
It provides a challenging but achievable 160 kilometre ride for individual riders – alternatively, teams of two, three or four can participate in the team event, which is an achievable goal for new or less experienced riders.
Recent introductions of mountain biking solo and relay events have proved to be popular additions to the day’s activities.
The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is New Zealand’s premier cycling event and is accredited also part of the UCI Golden Bike Series
It is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers and professionals with the necessary expertise to deliver a safe and enjoyable event for the participants.
It was originally owned and operated by the Taupo Cycling Club – the Rotary Club and Taupo nui–a-Tia College took it over in 1994, which was the beginning of a massive expansion for the event. This leadership saw the introduction of initiatives such as the relay, endurance rides, major spot prizes, races for professional riders, and admittance to the UCI Golden Bike series.
It now solely owned and operated by the Moana Rotary Club of Taupo it continues to grow to meet the demands and needs of cyclists from around the world and New Zealand.
International cyclists form a special part of the event with the 2011 Cycle Challenge attracting 397 riders from 16 different countries.
Over $1.2 million has been distributed to the community through volunteer payments and through the Rotary Club over the last 15 years.
Cycle Challenge injects an estimated $4.64 million into the Taupo economy, according to research into the 2009 event.
With events like Cycle Challenge, Taupo is considered the ‘cycling capital’ and ‘events capital’ of New Zealand.