Feature: Two Men, Three Bikes and a Subaru Outback – The Melrose Fat Tyre Festival 2013

Words by Jordan Cole | Images by Jordan Cole

Cram two men and three bikes into a Subaru outback, turn left and trek from Adelaide to the 2013 rendition of the froth fest that is the Melrose Fat Tyre Festival – the FTF. A quick look at the program and we had flowing singletrack, epic riding, rides with gravity legend Darren Berrecloth, and super D challenges ahead of us. Basically we were about to have a ridiculously good time.

Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.

Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.

The journey across the South Australian outback to Melrose is something of postcards. Old abandoned homesteads that look older than the hills litter the field and thoughts of Grand Designs can’t be ignored. Three hours later we arrive at Mt Remarkable, home of Melrose and the FTF, my heart murmurs as I think about the sweet single track I’ve heard so many stories about.

We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.

We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.

Held over the June long weekend the FTF brings a relaxed feel to a mountain bike event. You want to ride? (Eurovision Trail, thumbs up) Check out the shop? (it’s bling everywhere) Coffee? (of course) Learn about your bike? (Bike maintenance class) See a dude back flip a car on a BMX? (Crazy Kids). It’s all possible at the FTF and it’s up to you what you choose.

The super D challenge on Saturday was a highlight for the racer types (and no, I didn’t win). But the race was just the prelude to a great night which saw us having a BBQ and maybe just a few beers in the surrounds of an old shearing shed. The smell of a shearing shed might be the same the world over but this was a perfect backdrop to a uniquely Australian event. Great fun, a few drinks and good company, all talking bikes. Perfect.

The beginning of the "relaxed" super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn't pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.

The beginning of the “relaxed” super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn’t pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.

The FTF is a relaxed ride with your mates. It’s a bacon and egg roll before a ride (not recommended). It’s a mountain bike froth fest with riders of all abilities and styles all speaking the international language of mountain biking.

Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.

Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.

Anyways, there really isn’t any better way than to tell the story of the festival through what I saw. A collective of images that captured the event, from the people with the smiles, with the love of bikes and trails sandwiched in between.

Go and check out next year’s Melrose Fat Tyre Festival, it’s a peach.

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