Maydena Bike Park – Uplift Bookings Open

Maydena Bike Park is a gravity-focused mountain bike park that will eventually offer over 120km of gravity trails, across 820m vertical elevation. The park is located a 1-hour drive from Hobart, in the stunning Tasmanian wilderness. The park is set to open to the public January 26th 2018.

With construction now well underway, bookings for uplift, bike school and bike hire are set to go live at 6pm September 20th. Bike park members have had one week of priority access to the booking system, and during this period have already started filling up key dates. Daily uplift spaces are strictly limited, with pre-booking the only way to guarantee access to the parks complete gravity trail network.

Bookings are available through the Park’s website www.maydenabikepark.com

DIY Paradise: Trailshare Cabins, Kulnura

What it’s all about.

That’s the dream, but making it happen is another story. In reality, building your own trails is a lot of hard work. Walking the land, planning alignments, buying machinery, years of digging, tweaking, clearing, maintaining – it’s a labour of love, and it takes an especially motivated person to see the vision through to completion.

Flowing through the massive gums. Parts of the Trailshare loop feel a lot like riding in Mt Buller.

So we packed a couple of test bikes, and headed north, off the freeway, down a dirt road a few kay, and into paradise.

Neil Soderlund and his dog George at Trailshare Cabins.

Neil Soderlund is one of those people. An eccentric, inquisitive, unstoppable fellow, Neil had the same dream for us all, but then he worked like mad make it happen. When he recently invited us to come stay with him at his creation, Trailshare Cabins, located in Kulnura about an hour out of Sydney. So we packed a couple of test bikes, and headed north, off the freeway, down a dirt road a few kay, and into paradise.

The accommodation is all solar powered and uses tank water – it’s all built with sustainability in mind.
Neil took advantage of this fallen tree to use it as the basis for a suspended deck.
Looking north out towards the Watagans.

Sometimes the stars just align. Neil was looking for somewhere to build his trail network just as a 400-acre lot of rugged, undeveloped land came onto the market as part of a foreclosure sale, just out of Sydney. It was perfect: steep, rocky, with deep gullies, a few old logging benches cut through the bush, and useless to just about anyone except mountain bikers and bushwalkers. He snapped it up.

These aren’t your usual DIY trails!

Neil’s plans weren’t halfhearted; these weren’t going be few squiggles scratched into the hills. Inspired by the professionals, he set about getting the machinery to do it properly – Bobcats, dozers, quad bikes, and a whole arsenal of tools soon filled the new sheds and shelters built to house them.

Neil and his wife Karen, who also live on the property most weekends.
Just some of the trail building arsenal.

Learning as he goes is just part of Neil’s life – by the age of 14 he’d taught himself how to smith knives, and he’d begun selling them to hunters in South Africa. Over the years he’s learnt how to build bike frames out of carbon fibre, designed and built his own e-bikes, created new systems of couplings for collapsible travel bikes and then ridden them around the globe, designed houses, started new businesses and much more. For him, learning how to build trails (and how to operate and maintain the machines to do it) was just another challenge.

Over the past two years, he and his co-builder Laszlo Varga (an Austrian ski instructor who turned trail builder after discovering there was wasn’t a lot of snow in Oz!) have spent their weekends carving in more than 20km of trail through some beautiful countryside, full of massive sandstone outcrops and caves, with huge Turpentine trees and rainforest gullies.

This suspension bridge was built by Neil to cross a deep gully, using methods first pioneered to build low-cost, safe bridges in African communities.
Another angle of Neil’s hand-built bridge.

What started out as a personal playground has become something that Neil wants to share with other riders, and so he hatched plans for putting some accommodation on the property. Once again, it was Neil’s creative brain that went into overdrive; he had four shipping containers converted into neat cabins of his own design, assembled around an open-air dining area, complete with a cool suspended deck that looks out into the valley below.

The best bit? The trails start literally from the edge of the fire pit, so once you’ve had your morning coffee, it’s about a five metre roll into the first berm.

The accommodation is all built with fireproof materials too. Hydraulic rams lift up the side panels of the shipping containers to seal them off if the property needs to be abandoned in the instance of bush fire.

There’s accommodation for seven guests, with bathrooms in each cabin, and a communal kitchen. Outside there are wood burning heaters alongside a very cool outdoor lounge area. The best bit? The trails start literally from the edge of the fire pit, so once you’ve had your morning coffee, it’s about a five metre roll into the first berm. We’re going to be back here in the future; we can promise you that. It’s hard to believe how perfect the set up really is.

The trails literally begin at the accommodation.

If you’re interested in checking out Trailshare Cabins, get in touch with Neil ([email protected]). The trails are only available to members – with two options to join – one that includes a week’s free accommodation and a trail access-only membership.  Details and prices are on their website . You’re welcome to try before you buy – just send an email to let them know you’re coming. If membership doesn’t appeal, but you’d like to book a stay this can be done directly through Air BnB.


Hammering down one of the longest descents.
The terrain is steep! There’s almost 400m of vertical drop on the property, that’s a lot.

Where is it?

Trailshare Cabins and the trails aren’t open to the public without booking in for a stay, so don’t rock up expecting to ride unless you’ve got your name down for a cabin, which you can do via their website or Air BnB.

Crankworx Rotorua 2016 Deep Summer Photo Epic

The Deep Summer Photo Challenge dropped into Crankworx Rotorua for the first time in 2016, making the most of the cultural and geothermal hotbed of New Zealand. With incredible natural landscapes and an extremely strong mountain biking culture, the invited photographers found everything they needed to compose a stellar slideshow.

Casey Brown at the whip-offs.
Casey Brown at the whip-offs.

Over the course of the challenge, five mountain bike photographers had three days to put together an epic slideshow. Slideshow presentations then lit up the evening at Rotorua Skyline Gravity Park after the Crankworx Slopestyle Finals – and a massive crowd was able to experience deep summer in Rotorua through five different lenses.

The EWS returns to Crankworx Rotorua after a one year hiatus- it's all happening!
The EWS returns to Crankworx Rotorua this year after a one year hiatus- it’s all happening!

Deep Summer returns to Rotorua in 2017 with new photographers and a new location, and we can’t wait to witness it live in just a few weeks time- hopefully you’ll be there too! In the meantime, grab yourself a brew, pop the quality onto 1080 and check out all the action from last year!


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Simeon Patience:

Simeon Patience took the win at the Crankworx Rotorua Deep Summer Challenge, and it’s not hard to see why with his amazing blend of Rotorua’s unique landscape coupled with stellar looking trails.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Sean Lee:

Australian Sean Lee is a name to watch out for in the future. For last year’s Deep Summer Challenge he teamed up with the Australian contingent of the Vanzacs crew.

Sean took out the people’s choice award, and it’s not hard to see why with his brilliant work showcasing all that Rotorua has to offer, from natural, technical trails, to carpet smooth jump lines. If you don’t have time to watch the full video, skip straight to four minutes for some pure magic.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Zach Faulkner:

Zach Faulkner’s entry really focuses on the Rotorua community, and how the mountain biking lifestyle just plain fits with everyday life in this beautiful part of the world. It’s not all about the gnarliest lines and biggest jumps, it’s about having a good time on awesome trails with your mates.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Callum Wood:

Callum Wood’s entry really showcases the talent that is on show at Crankworx Rotorua. It’s one of the things we love so much about the event, being able to go for a ride in the morning, and watch the world’s best riders do their thing with a beer in hand for the rest of the afternoon.

Crankworx Rotorua is just a few short weeks away, and to find out more about how you can join us there, head over to the Crankworx Rotorua website.

Record Sell Out and Stacked Registration for Giant Toa Enduro

Holy Guacamole that was fast!

As was predicted, it was only a matter of minutes before the four hundred ametuer places for the first round of the EWS sold out- three to be exact. Read below for the official word, and we’ll see you in March.

Wondering what trails they’re going to use in the race? Probably a few of these!

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/10-video-special-rotoruas-top-ten-trails/


The Giant Toa Enduro is shaping up to be a fascinating race with a field of competitors from all mountain biking race disciplines set to take on the course at Crankworx Rotorua.

Selling out in under three minutes, the event secured a new Enduro World Series (EWS) registration record yesterday, with a rich field of New Zealanders and internationally-based amateurs set to join the professional riders for race day this March.

All but one of the top 20-ranked men and women from the 2014 EWS season are set to ride, and a number of professional downhill racers have registered, as well.

“This is probably one of the most interesting, stacked mountain biking races with top enduro, cross country and downhill athletes all entered in this one event,” says Neil Gellatly, Giant Toa Enduro race director.

The race roster includes World Downhill Champions Sam Hill, Steve Peat, and Greg Minnaar, who will ride alongside several top downhillers from New Zealand−Sam Blenkinsop, Brook MacDonald, Cam Cole and Matt Walker.

Of the 400 racers registered, 40 per cent are from New Zealand, with 17 other nations represented, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and, for the first time in an EWS event, Tahiti.

Race registration from New Zealand shows equal interest from all regions, with riders from Auckland (10%), Christchurch (10%), Dunedin (5%), Queenstown (10%), Nelson (10%) and Wellington (15%). Rotorua has, nonetheless, secured the most representation with 20 riders on the list.

Sponsored by Giant Bicycles, the Toa Enduro Rotorua marks the opening race for the EWS and will be one of five competitive events at the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua.

For those who didn’t make the race cutoff, and true enduro fans, Crankworx will once again broadcast the event live and names are being accepted on a waitlist at www.enduroworldseries.com/waitlist/R1. To date, Crankworx has offered the only live enduro coverage, broadcasting its Whistler event annually.

“We hope to take our live race coverage to new levels this year,” says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx Word Tour Manager.

Tune into Crankworx.com at 7 a.m. NZDT on Saturday, March 28 to watch how it all unfolds.

Shredding The Slush

Never ride in the wet because it destroys your bike right? Unfortunately in many parts of Australia, the sandy conditions in the wet are a recipe for disaster. Fortunately for the Coastal Crew, slashing through slushy singletrack on the Sunshine Coast is almost as good as giving your bike a clean. Wetter is Funner!

Crankworx Rotorua Entries Opening Thursday!

Athlete registration for Crankworx Rotorua opens this Thursday at 9 a.m New Zealand time. This includes registration for the Giant Toa Enduro and the Crankworx Downhill. Organisers are expecting tickets to sell like hot cakes, which is not suprising considering the calibre of trails on offer. Last year we documented the top ten trails in Rotorua- be warned though, if you watch this you will be flying to Rotorua this March! See you there!

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/10-video-special-rotoruas-top-ten-trails/

While you’re in Rotorua, you should also lay down some rubber on the Skyline trails. We’ve been lucky enough to rip many a lap after the cruisy Gondola ride up, and the break from pedalling is a great contrast to the Redwood trails.

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/introducing-skyline-rotorua/

See below for the official word on who has already entered and how to lock in your own spot!


Registration for the first two events of the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua opens 9 a.m. NZDT Thursday, January 22 and those lucky enough to secure a spot can expect to ride with the best.

Athletes interested in racing the Toa Enduro Rotorua, sponsored by Giant Bicycles, and the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS this March can sign up online through the Enduro World Series and Crankworx websites respectively, beginning at 9 a.m. New Zealand Daylight Time (9 p.m. CET Jan. 21 and noon PST Jan. 21).

According to the Enduro Mountain Bike Association, interest in the EWS among the factory teams has grown exponentially for this third season of the series with a record number signing on to race.

Crankworx Rotorua director Takurua Mutu says last year, the EWS stop in Chile sold out in three minutes and Rotorua is expecting an equally quick response.

“This is going to be an epic event, so we want to make sure all athletes competing for an open entry spot are ready when registration opens,” he says.

All of the elite EWS racers from 2014 have registered, including EWS World Champions Jared Graves and Tracy Moseley. Sidelined by injury for most of last season, Jerome Clementz, 2013 EWS champion, is signed up to race, as is Fabien Barel, who returned from breaking his back to win the last round of the 2014 series in Italy.

Several World Cup Downhill racers, who are not regular competitors in the Enduro World Series, are also vying for a podium spot. Sam Hill, Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Troy Brosnan, Brook MacDonald, and Sam Blenkinsop have all registered for this first EWS race of 2015.

The window to secure a spot for the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS is not expected to be as tight, but it too will sell out quickly.

“What makes Crankworx special is the opportunity for the amateur athlete to ride on the same track, in the same race, on the same day as the world’s top professionals. We are encouraging those who want to race to register quickly,” says Mutu.

Selection and sign-up for the other four competitive Crankworx Rotorua events also gets underway this week. Those events include the Australasian Whip-off Champs, the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox, the Dual Speed and Style and the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle.

Please note registration will occur on New Zealand Daylight Time (NZTD) and athletes will need to consult the international time clock converter to find appropriate time for their home region. To register for the following events, follow the link:

GIANT Toa Enduro: Race March 28. Register Thursday, January 22 at 9 a.m. NZDT− http://www.enduroworldseries.com/registration.php

Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS: Race March 27. Register Thursday, January 22 9 a.m. NZDT − http://www.crankworx.com/rotorua/info/athlete-information

Australasian Whip-off Champs: Competition. March 25. Registration to take place onsite just prior to the event.

Rotorua Pump Track Challenge Presented by RockShox: Race March 26. This is an invitational event featuring some of the top World Cup DH and Slopestyle riders. Other professional riders wishing to compete, both male and female, can email [email protected] to request an invitation.

Dual Speed and Style: Competition. March 26. Invitational. Confirmed rider list coming soon.

Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle: Competition. March 29. Invitational. Confirmed rider list coming soon.

 

Team DERT To Take on EWS

Australia has its first Enduro World Series team; Team DERT. Go do it for Gravesy! Read below for more details.


Australian mountain bikers will take on an unprecedented challenge in the Enduro World Series this year. The Downunder Enduro Race Team (Team DERT) will contest 6 rounds of the series that sees riders take on the most challenging trails an area has to offer. With races located in New Zealand, Canada, USA, France, Spain and Italy. Team DERT is supported by Event Management Solutions Australia (EMS Australia) with the goal of supporting talented riders who are looking to take on the EWS, without the security of being on the reserved riders list, or factory backing.

EMS Australia is the leading promotor of Enduro racing in the country and is keen to provide pathways for riders to take on the world’s best, including Toowoomba rider and 2014 EWS World Champion, Jared Graves. The successful bid for Official Team Status is quite a win for Team DERT, with a record number of teams applying for the limited number of spots. Team manager, Ian Harwood feels that the mix of strong riders, and a focus on future development was a key factor in the successful application.

image1
Michael Ronning is certainly no stranger to the international race circuit. It’ll be great to see him on the EWS circuit with the support of fellow Australians on the team.

Team riders who have all excelled in the recent SRAM Enduro Series, presented by Santa Cruz will accrue points in the teams division, whilst ex World Cup racer and one of Australia’s first professional Mountain Bikers, Michael Ronning will be chasing podiums in the Masters class.

Team DERT will also participate in selected rounds of the recently announced Mountain Bike Australia National Enduro Series. Team DERT is supported by Event Management Solutions Australia and For The Riders. Individual riders received support from Giant Bicycles Australia and Santa Cruz Bicycles.

Pivot Announce New LES Fatbike

Aaron Chase Gets LES Fat at Highland from Pivot Cycles on Vimeo.

Pivot have become the latest brand to get fat, with a fat-tyred version of their awesome LES hardtail (which we tested last year). Read below for the official word from Pivot.


 

With the new LES Fat, we’ve gone beyond the boundaries of the typical fat bike and created the world’s most versatile big-tire machine.

The key to making the LES Fat a go-to option in any season is the newly patented Swinger dropout system. This simple-to-use design enables riders to quickly and easily change both chainstay length and bottom bracket height to accommodate 4” or 5” fat-bike tires as well as the newer 27.5”+ and 29”+ wheel sizes – all while optimizing geometry for the correct bottom bracket height and the shortest chainstay length possible for each wheelsize.

The LES Fat maintains ideal geometry via the indexed adjustment arc of the dropouts – the bigger the wheel and the more clearance, the lower the bottom bracket. Choosing the shortest possible chainstay length gives riders a flickable, playful ride. Selecting a longer wheelbase and more tire clearance provides stability for heavy loads and messy conditions. Included with the frameset and complete bike are two headset cup options (Zero Stack and 18mm), for perfectly balanced front-end geometry at any wheelsize.

The full carbon frame of the Pivot LES Fat features leading-edge materials and our proprietary hollow-core, internal-molding process. This coveted technology enables us to create an ultra-lightweight frame featuring slim top tube and seatstay profiles, as well as the largest downtube in the category. When combined with a 132mm Press Fit BB, the result is best-in-class power transfer and vertical compliance that makes epic rides comfortable and fun.

The LES Fat includes a Pivot-designed taper-steerer carbon fork with 150mm dropout spacing and is also RockShox Bluto compatible – one wheelset will work with both fork options. This identical spacing makes it easy for riders to transition between uses, whether they are gearing up for winter training, long distance touring or seeking more aggressive terrain.

We want riders to be able to use the LES Fat as their daily driver. With that in mind, 2x, 1x and singlespeed gearing compatibility makes the LES Fat an ideal choice in any terrain, and the LES Fat rear spacing is a generous 197mm with an innovative low Q-factor design  (the lowest in the category) when built with the Pivot/E-Thirteen co-designed fat bike crankset. The combined gearing options and knee-saving Q-factor provide the best possible pedaling performance in high-cadence racing, training and trail-riding applications.

The Pivot Internal Cable Port System makes cable routing simple to install and maintain via large, easy to access ports and interchangeable covers. Easily switch between a variety of cable routing options for the cleanest installation.

Additional details include integrated rear rack mounts, internal dropper post routing and 3 water bottle mounts – making the LES Fat the perfect choice for any big tire adventure.

  • Clears 5” tires for unpacked snow, mud and sand
  • Fits all fat and plus wheelsizes (26 X 3.8, 26 X 4.8, 27.5+ and 29+) via the patented Swinger II dropout system
  • Full carbon frame featuring proprietary hollow core internal molding technology and largest downtube in the category
  • Pivot carbon fork with 150mm spacing
  • Full length internal cable routing via Pivot’s exclusive, Cable Port System including internal dropper compatibility
  • 197mm rear spacing accommodates tires up to 5 inches
  • Optimized low Q-factor design when built with co-designed Pivot/E-Thirteen fat bike specific crankset included in our complete builds.
  • 2x, 1x and singlespeed compatible
  • Shimano side-swing front derailleur compatible via a low profile e-type mount
  • Rear rack mounts
  • 3 bottle cage mounts
  • Sizes S, M, L for riders between 5’6” and 6’4”

New Trail Preview: Serrata Track – Bantry Bay, NSW

“One of the things people always say, is that National Parks don’t want change,” says Garry Patterson of TrailScapes, “but this project has really proved to me that’s not true.”

TrailScapes are the crew charged with the challenging, highly-pivotal task of creating NSW’s first ever purpose-built mountain bike trail in a National Park area. “From our perspective, National Parks have been amazing to work with – there are crew within Parks who want to ride this trail even more than we do! – and nothing has ever been too hard for them,” says Garry.

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Garry Patterson of TrailScapes. He should be proud of his work!

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The trail in discussion is one of two brand-new trails (yes, completely new, commissioned by National Parks themselves) in Garigal National Park, in Sydney’s northern suburbs. This is an area where mountain biking is booming. It’s also an area of vast swathes of sensitive National Park, countless sites of Aboriginal significance and plenty of residents who like things ‘just-so’. As such, it has taken some serious vision, determination and political will on the part of the NSW government and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to make this project a reality. Everyone involved deserves heaped servings of praise!

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The return climb to the top of the trail is easy, straight up the fireroad.

Serrata Track - Bantry Bay 1

While the official opening is still a few days away, Flow was given a chance to ride the fresh Serrata Track with TrailScapes yesterday. This is a unique trail in so many ways; because of the sensitive nature of the terrain, the entire trail has been hand-built, which is a mammoth undertaking in such a rocky environment.  Materials for trail construction had to be sourced locally and either carried in by hand or dropped by helicopter. Trees of over 50mm in diameter had to preserved too. In short, this was not your standard machine-built trail project!

Serrata Track - Bantry Bay 8
TrailScapes moved a lot of rock, by hand, to make this trail happen! With so much of the trail on rock, it should hold up exceptionally well.
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It’s nice to see a trail with line choice options; there are at least three different lines through this particular section of rocky trail.

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But TrailScapes have done an incredible job, and ultimately these restriction have resulted in a trail that is both unique amongst most new trail developments, but which also matches the vibe and feel of other trails in Sydney’s northern beaches region. The trail is almost entirely built of rock, either on the sandstone bedrock itself, or with long sections of rock armouring linking up cool ledges and other rock features. Rated as a ‘blue’ intermediate level trail, there are plenty of properly technical sections that’ll prompt many riders to take pause, with multiple line choices available, including some that aren’t so obvious until you really stop and take a look.

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Tony Nolan, the father of Australian mountain bike photography, has been involved in the construction of the Serrata Track. It’s actually pretty special to have someone so influential in the history of Australian mountain biking involved in this project.
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Rocky, steep, beautiful terrain.

While the Serrata Track is just on 1.5km long, it’s an easy to rip out multiple laps, with the return climb cruising back up a mellow fireroad. And when you combine this trail in with the recently refurbished Manly Dam (just around the corner) and with  2.15km Gahnia trail opening soon, you’ve suddenly got a pretty healthy mountain bike trail network. We’re incredibly excited to see this project so close to completion; it feels as if the discussion about legal trails in Garigal National Park has been going on for decades, and to have it actually come into fruition is just brilliant. We hope this project marks the start of a new era of positive relations between mountain bikers and NSW National Parks.

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Again, there are multiple line options – steep and quick, or round the outside.

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Please note: the Garnia Trail is NOT yet open. Riding it ahead of the official opening date could seriously jeopardise this and future projects. And do you really want to be the d#ckhead who stuffs it up for everyone? 

Location: The Serrata Track starts off the Currie Rd firetrail, in Forestville. The trailhead is approximately 1 km in from Currie Rd – you can’t miss it.

Must-Ride: James Estate, NSW

Flow Nation James Estate 43

James Estate in the upper Hunter Valley is breathtakingly beautiful; rolling valley plains filled with green rows of grape vines and bookended by the sandstone ridges of the Wollemi wilderness area. It’s the place that Graeme calls home, it’s the place where he works, and it’s also where he plays on superb, hand-built singletrack.

Flow Nation James Estate 3

When Graeme set up shop here at Baerami, three hours from Sydney, he moved away from the singletrack that he loved. If he was going to ride trails, he was going to have to make it happen himself. And so that’s what Graeme did; escaping into the bush on the vineyard’s fringes with a shovel and pick, he began to create his own personal mountain bike playground.

Flow Nation James Estate 36

Fast forward a few years, and the native bush that abuts the Wollemi Wilderness area is a net of singletrack, the product of one man’s toil. And the other staff at the vineyard, who once thought him crazy, now have the bug too, with three of the crew now taking to the trails as well.

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This year, for the very first time, one of Sydney’s premiere mountain bike events is coming to James Estate. The JetBlack 12hr, after many years at Dargle Farm, will roll on in to the upper Hunter Valley on 12 July 2014. And if endurance racing is your kettle of fish, this is one event you’d be foolish to miss.

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Flow Nation James Estate 34

The trails are fantastic and absolutely ideal for multi-lap racing, with a good mix of flowing singletrack and fast fire road across the 11km loop. There’s camping amongst the vineyards (and if it’s a clear night, there’ll even be a full moon) and the setting is as perfect as you’ll ever encounter on your mountain bike. Oh, and there’s a lot of good wine too, so the post-race party should be a cracker.

The fun, friendly and relaxed feel of the JetBlack 12hr is legendary, and when you combine that kind of vibe with a setting and trails like these, well you’re kicking some serious goals. Get involved in the JetBlack 12hr. 

 

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Trails: Falls Creek opens new downhill flow trail

For the past 2 years Falls Creek Resort Management has been busy at work bringing to life a dream shared by those who love the resort. In 2014 this dream is realised with the opening of the first 2 of 4 brand new mountain bike trails.

Under the commission of World Trail – the best bike trail builders in the business, months of development has joined years of planning to bring the new trails to completion.

The 2 intermediate cross country trials now open can be ridden as one big loop, the network consists of one riding uphill and one downhill. The trails are intersected by the Aqueduct trail which means you can ride each as a separate loop. Whilst classified as cross country, there are some great downhill features and corners to navigate at speed. There are some spectacular viewpoints along the way to stop and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

An intermediate downhill trail will open by the Australia Day long weekend. Starting at the top of the Summit Chair (those familiar with Falls Creek in Winter, will know this well), the trail winds down under the Poma line before zig-zagging down Grand Coer ski run and cutting through Short & Curly to the base of the Summit Chair.

The 4th trail coming on line this summer is a 3rd intermediate cross country trail connecting the popular ‘Wishing Well’ spot to the Gully region at the base of the International Poma and Gully Chairlift at the entrance to the Resort.

A third party operator will shortly be commencing a downhill shuttle service, to take riders to the top of the trails together with offering bike hire options.

At this stage, Falls Creek Resort Management is two years into a four year mountain bike development project funded by the State Government of Victoria. Construction for stage three will commence this summer and be ready for us in 2014/15, ending in stage four operational by 2015/16. In total, 3 downhill and 11 cross country trails will be built in and amongst the Resorts ski runs.

Trails: Clarence Mountain Bike Park and Belbins Road

We had the right combination of sunshine and time while in Hobart for one more ride. We pulled our muddy rental car off the Tasman Highway to a little carpark just next to the B33 off-ramp. Here we met up with a small part of the Team Hellfire Crew to ride the Clarence and Belbins trails, their pick of the local parks.

Duncan Giblin and his partner, Sarah Kennedy, were enjoying some post-Hellfire Cup recovery now. They were visibly excited to step back on the bikes after over 18 months spent planning the inaugural event. Our guide for the day was local trail builder, Aub Carter, and his Boarder Collie, Jack.

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Our guide for the day was local trail builder, Aub Carter, and his Boarder Collie, Jack.

Jack likes running so much he got Aub back into mountain biking rather than the other way around. They started out doing a fire road loop, progressed to more singletrack and now spend days together out at Belbins Road building trails for everyone to use. Aub and Jack helped to build a lot of the trails for the Hellfire Cup course as well.

We’re told that Jason Unwin and his crew work out here at night building trails too. In the heat of the morning they were nowhere to be seen.

The Clarence Mountain Bike Park features a series of purpose built trails, including a cross-country loop that is typically split in two. Our ride began on a series of very steep, tight, uphill switchbacks, a good test of fitness and form.

More tight switchbacks led us back down the hill, the sort that make you want to be confident in your bike handling skills. It was a fun alternative to the wider bermed corners we’re seeing in a lot of other recently built trails right now.

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Head out here if you get the chance and feel your way around before it gets too popular. It’s only a ten-minute drive from the Hobart CBD or you can ride there along the Hobart Airport Cycling Route.
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The trails are unsigned at the moment but Google and Strava will help you track down maps online. There is also one at the Clarence trailhead.

A linking track connects the mid-point of this Clarence loop with the Belbins Road/Stringy Bark Gully network. It’s a two-way track, but plans are in place for building a second trail for the return leg.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience on the North-South Track a day earlier, but the looser, narrower, more organic feeling lines out at Belbins are a great throwback to mountain biking from decades past.

In summer the surface becomes glassy smooth with a powdery topcoat. Today it was grainy enough to keep us on our game, but tacky enough that our tyres still had some bite. Long erosion ruts ran down the middle of some long straights, they took some getting used to, as every now and then they were the best line to ride.

Jack ran ahead, clearly used to a faster paced ride. Aub tells us that at peak fitness he runs about 80km a week. He can complete stage one of the Hellfire Cup in an hour and a half, which is faster than most humans. Not bad for a dog who likes to completely immerse himself in puddles before having a drink.

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These trails have a much more organic feel to them. When you look closely, you can see the rock armouring that keeps them in place and it’s obvious that there’s an active group of people who keep them well-maintained.

After some steep and honest climbing we reached the Birthday Loop, a trail that Aub built for Sarah. It’s a twisty five-minute loop that stays dry even in the middle of winter. You can quite happily ride it a few times, work on your skills and keep your mental health in tact when the weather gets it down. Possibly one of the best presents one mountain biker could ever give to another.

Not far from here is another work of art, the Wedge Rock Track. Aub is a self-professed lover of climbs and doesn’t care much for descents, which is strange, because this one that he has built is excellent fun. Long straights, big corners, a trail that makes you feel like you have the hillside all to yourself. It reminded us a bit of the Bridges track in Tathra.

Like a lot of the trails here, it is built with rider habits and the Tassie weather in mind. It’s designed so riders can get around the corners without creating breaking ruts and positioned so the wind and sun keep it primed for quality riding. It lasted forever and was over too soon.

Before long, we were back on the sweeping, flowing descent back into and out of Clarence. Aub rode in front confidently knowing Jack was not far behind. The sound of the highway was a quick reminder of the urban location of our ride, a case of a great trail network on a big chunk of unused land.

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Built by ‘volunteers and hands’ the Belbins trails are a nice contrast to the machine built trails and wider singletrack that follow grant money and trail building as a business.

Climbing, descending, steep corners, birthday tracks…Commercially built trails are an important part of the growth of our sport and key to seeing locations like this one become established riding destinations.

At the same time, places like this wouldn’t have half their appeal if it wasn’t for a man, his dog, and a quiet band of others who share their passion for quality, hand built trails.

Thank you Tasmania, you certainly are an island full of surprises. We’re looking forward to exploring more of your stunning trails some time in future.

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While Belbins has been home to a growing trail network for several years, it’s only recently that these trails have become legal. It’s a nice example of guerrilla trail building done well and leading to a positive outcome.

Trails: First dirt turned on Mt Buller’s ‘Epic’ Mountain Bike Trail Project

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management has announced the beginning of construction on what is set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail.

The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program.

Designed and constructed by Glen Jacobs and his team at World Trail, the 40.39km trail will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride on terrain within the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts (managed by the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management), Mansfield State Forest (managed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment), and the Mt Russell Education Area (managed by Parks Victoria).

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Upon completion next summer, IMBA will undertake an assessment of the trail and if EPIC status is attained, it will be one of the few trails outside of North America to receive this endorsement, meaning that it is recognised as a world-class trail that offers an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry ride experience.

“While Resort Management has already invested over $1 million into the development of a dedicated mountain bike network at Mt Buller, we understand the importance of continually evolving our offering to maintain our position as a market leader,” said Amber Gardner, Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management. “The launch our Epic trail project in summer 2014/15 will truly solidify Mt Buller’s role as the premier mountain bike park in the State, delivering significant tourism benefits to the Mansfield-Mt Buller region.”

To date, the project has received $125,000 in federal funding through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants, and $375,000 in state funding through Regional Development Victoria. Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has contributed $225,000 and the Mansfield Shire Council a further $25,000.

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Mt Buller is Australia’s first and only accredited IMBA Ride Center, recognised as offering world-class mountain bike facilities for all levels of riders. This iconic mountain bike park features over 100km of cross country trails including 40km of dedicated singletrack; Australia’s best cross country trail (Stonefly); two skills parks; the country’s first flow-down trail (Copperhead); Australia’s first modular pump track; and the only chairlift accessible downhill course in the State.

For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

For further information on Australia’s National Landscapes, visit http://www.tourism.australia.com/campaigns/national-landscapes.aspx

Video: 2014 Cairns, Australia – World Cup Teaser

The World Trail crew has recently finished construction of the 2014 World Cup XCO & DH tracks, in Cairns Australia. These innovative styles of world class race tracks have evolved over years of professional builds, by World Trail. These tracks will cater for a whole new breed of Mountain Bike racers, both XCO and DH.

A full detailed video, profiling these unique courses, will drop in the coming months, until then, here is a short teaser of what to expect in the jungles of Far North Queensland.

2014 Cairns, Australia – World Cup Teaser from Tom Emrys-Evans on Vimeo.

Trails: Fox Creek Core Loop

Freshly completed single track super loop- the Core Loop @ Fox Creek in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

Nick Bowman from IMBA Australia has realised his dream and crafted a world class top-to-bottom loop, all prime single track taking in the best of the park. 4 local riders on a lap- scenic climb super-flow descent…

Fox Creek Core Loop from Sam Roberts on Vimeo.

Video: Trail Ninja Shreds Elba Island

The down and dirty guide to mountain biking the beautiful island of Elba, Tuscany, as seen through the squinted view of pro-photographer and mountain bike mentalist Dan Milner.

In this episode: Dan and his GoPro are joined by Scott German pro-riders Holger Meyer and Karen Eller for a lesson in European harmony – with unforeseen results…

Trails: World Trail Awarded Contract for the North East Mountain Bike Trails, Tasmania

The Mayor’s Barry Jarvis and Sarah Schmerl are delighted to announce that World Trail has been awarded the contract for the design and construction of 75km of mountain bike trails in Derby and Blue Tier, Tasmania.

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“Glen Jacobs, a Director of World Trail, is arguably the best mountain bike trail designer in Australia. Dorset and Break O’Day Councils are very excited to have secured World Trail to deliver this important project for the North East”, the Mayor Barry Jarvis said.

World Trail is the leading Mountain Bike trail design and construction organisation in Australia having designed and built a substantial number of Australia’s best trail networks, with a history of over 250 projects in 18 countries, from Olympic, World Championships, and World Cup courses to Recreational Trails.

The project has bipartisan support from the Commonwealth Government with Council recently receiving affirmation from Andrew Nikolic that the previously announced Federal Government funding commitment of $2.5 million would be honoured by the newly elected Coalition government. The Mayor Barry Jarvis said “The North East has been hit hard with the down turn in the Forestry industry so we are extremely grateful to the Federal Coalition for their support of this project. With this project due to start by April 2014 and the possibility of the Musselroe Bay project going ahead, things are starting to look up for the North East”.

The North East Mountain Bike Trails in Derby and Blue Tier will boost visitor numbers in the region and create new employment opportunities in the area of sustainable tourism.

All enquires in relation to this project can be directed to Ms Susie Bower, Community Services Manager at Dorset Council on 03 6352 6500.

Video: Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails #6 – Tokorangi

This hillside, which felt the touch of the bulldozer’s blade not long ago, has become a real treat for Rotorua’s trail builders. Gunna Gotta, Corridor, K2 and plenty more have either been reborn or created anew on this slope, where the felling of the trees has left room for creative minds with shovels and dozers to have some fun.

Tokorangi is a treat; it was built in 2012 with permission from the local Iwi, Ngati Whakaue, and like it Gunna Gotta doesn’t loiter in the logged areas for too long, soon dropping into the native bush. It’s a fast ride, with pumps and jumps galore, but make sure you lift your head to take in the magic views across Rotorua before the trail heads into the trees and swoops down the steep side of the hill in a string of awesome 180-degree berms. We were lucky enough to score Tokorangi on a stunner of an afternoon, where the sun burst through the clouds just before sunset – it’s pretty hard to overstate how good it feels to soak in that kind of a scene before taking a rip down such a fantastic trail. Sam Osborne and Paul Gray from local bike shop and hire business Planet Bike show us how Tokorangi is meant to be tamed.
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Ride Rotorua Video: Top Ten Trails #5 – Split Enz

Like its musical namesake, Split Enz is a Kiwi national treasure as far as we’re concerned. On the day we rode this sinuous piece of singletrack it was so damp we ended up feeling like we’d spent six months in a leaky boat, but no amount of mist and rain could make us see red.

There’s no strait old line through this bit of forest, as the trail weaves for over three kilometres, before you take the next exit into Pondy DH. The mud left us looking a right dirty creature, but this trail never ceases to amaze us – from the first corner, Split Enz says, ‘I got you’ and we can promise you’ll be making the pedal or shuttle back up again and again. Who says history never repeats?

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Flow Gone Troppo: Tropical North Queensland Part 2, Atherton First Look

Atherton is a wonderful example of those instances where strong passion, hard work and community spirit succeeds in making things happen.

What the locals and visitors have in the way of mountain bike trails now is astounding. The small town with a big heart desperately wants to be known for its quality and quantity of trails, and from now on they will be. What we found in those hills behind the town was pure gold.

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Atherton locals can see the obvious benefit in creating something new and exciting like mountain biking to hopefully bring hungry, thirsty and weary visitors to town, and give the economy that is largely built around the agriculture a boost.

The Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve and Heberton Range State Forest, a couple minutes drive, or ride from Atherton town, are now littered with a network of singletrack that will quench the desires of the most demanding mountain biker.

Flow will be returning to Atherton in mid November to film a full Flow Nation dedicated video and destination piece. For now, here are some of our highlights.

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A sugar mill steams in the distance, as we wind our way up from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands.

The drive from Cairns to Atherton took just over an hour, and was a great experience in itself.

It’s usually about 5 degrees cooler up in the Atherton Tablelands than in Cairns, making the hour trip more worth while for a solid days riding.

Sugar cane plantations galore, between Cairns and Atherton the agriculture is diverse and healthy.
Sugar cane plantations galore, between Cairns and Atherton the agriculture is diverse but not as healthy as it used to be.
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The tablelands sit high above the coast, green and lush fields of coffee plants, legumes, bananas, sugar cane, pretty much anything grows up there. Even mountain bike trails grow aplenty.

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Bananas, XXXX and those classic QLD houses will remind you where you are.
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Local ripper – Belaihu buries himself in a mega berm down the popular Ricochet track.

The trail building team – World Trail have been behind much of the latest trail construction, with many hours sculpting lines into the hardpack dirt with well-operated machines.

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Gravity fans will love it here, with many descents sculpted into lines that can be jumped, doubled and ripped apart very hard and fast.
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Left, right, left, right, left, right, jump, pump, left, right. Ricochet is one of those perfect trails that World Trail are known for.

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Rocky armouring of the trail through terrain susceptible to damage will help the trails last years and years.

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The climbs are actually quite fast, its amazing how a well built climb can carry you to the top of the hill without that feeling of grinding away for ages in your lowest gear.

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Vice President of the local mountain bike club, Leasie Felderhof has approached the project with both a scientific and passionate angle, and we take our hats off to her and her team, things are really happening in Atherton.
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Mountain Bike parks with such great singletrack make travelling worth while.

Put Atherton on the list for trails to explore, they are well and truly worth it. The QLD aspect of the region is especially fun for those coming from interstate.

So, stay tuned for our complete video report from Atherton very soon.

 

 

 

Video: The Coast Gravity Park

2013 has been very busy for us, some of you may think that we have be solely focused on producing our new film ARRIVAL – You couldn’t be more wrong. And now, finally we can tell the world. Let us introduce you to our next project – Coast Gravity Park.

An Introduction to Coast Gravity Park from The Coastal Crew on Vimeo.

Over the years we have built countless trails and signature features for several pro riders and high end films. These trails have made the coast a destination recognized across the globe. Historically we have kept these trails very private, but we are humbled by the demand. Now we have the opportunity to create our own lift access bike park.

We are confident we can continue to build the best trails out there. Our goal is to share our creative passion with you and bring you into our world. Since our inception in 2009 our fans have celebrated our vision. We appreciate the passion and loyalty of all of our supporters. We couldn’t do what we do today without them. This is the opportunity for us to give back and we hope you will be a part of making it a reality.

Help us reach our goal, please share our campaign. The more trails the better!

igg.me/at/coastgravitypark/x/3734435

Trails: North California’s Santa Cruz MTB Ride Guide | Trail Ninja, Ep. 6

Grumpier than ever, Dan Milner heads off to North California to the mountain bike mecca Santa Cruz to see what this legendary bike riding destination has to offer us in his latest Trail Ninja ride-guide.

The result is a tale of surf, sweat, singletrack and beer-swigging.

So does Santa Cruz really have anything to offer a true mountain biking aficionado? Find out in this video.

Trails: North California's Santa Cruz MTB Ride Guide | Trail Ninja, Ep. 6

Grumpier than ever, Dan Milner heads off to North California to the mountain bike mecca Santa Cruz to see what this legendary bike riding destination has to offer us in his latest Trail Ninja ride-guide.

The result is a tale of surf, sweat, singletrack and beer-swigging.

So does Santa Cruz really have anything to offer a true mountain biking aficionado? Find out in this video.

Trails: Minister Opens Mountain Bike Track Built By Offenders

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened a new mountain bike track in Taupo, which was built with the help of offenders serving community sentences.

Over the past three years, 150 offenders have contributed 1,120 working hours to complete the new 2.5 kilometre Beagle Boys Mountain Bike Track.

Bike Taupo has been a sponsor for offenders sentenced to Community Work since 2010, supporting them gain skills and work experience in water management, scrub clearing and planting, small construction and building, and weed control. Offenders have also contributed track design ideas.

“I want to thank Bike Taupo for being such an important partner to Corrections,” says Mrs Tolley.

“They’ve provided opportunities for offenders to gain skills and experience, while also making a great contribution to the local community.

“We don’t want offenders to commit more crimes. Skills training and work experience are important in securing employment, and we know that if offenders have a job they are less likely to create more victims by offending again.

“Our Community Work staff have also put a lot of effort into making this new track a reality, and I want to say well done and thank you to them as well.

“It was a real pleasure to open the new bike track, and I hope that local, national and international riders will enjoy it.”

The Soapbox: Six Things I Forgot I Loved About Mountain Biking

I joined a road team this year. I think it had something to do with trying something different. My local club were keen to get a women’s development team going and it seemed like a good way to keep fit.

I wasn’t so much interested in events in a competitive sense, but I liked the idea of working with a team. And I had a secret desire to Jens Voigt myself – dig as deep as I could to help someone across the line who cares about winning more than I do. I like the idea of discovering how hard I can push myself if I don’t have to keep something in reserve for the last few sections of singletrack.

The Jensing hasn’t happened yet; a matter of having picked the wrong races or the wrong categories, perhaps. If I’m on my own, a flat road just doesn’t motivate me to pedal the way the promise of sweet singletrack does. In fact, what I’ve learned most from the road is how proud I am to be a mountain biker.

Things I thought were common to cycling more generally are actually more particular to mountain biking. Perhaps I’d lost sight of the forest for the trees.

So, six things I forgot I love about mountain biking:

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Trail magic. Doesn’t happen on the road.

1. That you’re always guaranteed of having fun on a ride. Unlike other forms of cycling, how much fun you have doesn’t depend on the pace of the group. You can punch hard through some singletrack, practice new skills, try to see how far you can go without touching the brakes. There’s always something new to discover whenever you hit the trails, and this always makes you a better rider as a result.

2. People don’t care so much about how you look. Despite keeping an open mind about roadie stuff, people keep reminding me I’m a mountain biker. I’ve been told it’s weird to wear jeans on the podium, asked to remove the visor from my helmet 15 seconds before a race start, asked to remove my hat for photos. Someone told me the backpack I was wearing on a bunch ride created wind drag. Good. Cause the bunch ride was really slow. And in my bag was everything I needed for the rest of the day. Like jeans and a hat.

Post-race chillaxing. Matt Carling and Gaye Camm swap stories after their respective  races in the retro category (for bikes from 2000 or earlier).
This. This DOES NOT happen at a road race.

 

3. You can be self-sufficient at a race and still have a chance. I like being able to leave a few biddons on a table, fix my own mechanicals, and carry spares on my back. Self-sufficiency is valued on the dirt. And being self-sufficient doesn’t mean you’ll loose sight of the bunch and wonder whether you should DNF to save your legs.

4. Event websites give you a good idea about the atmosphere you can expect on the day. I keep reminding myself that people new to mountain biking probably find it hard to find out too much information on a basic club race. But of the road races I’ve entered, I too often end up asking other people about the rules, where to go, what to plan or expect. I can’t seem to find it out online. Having said that, the events I’ve entered have cost a lot less and the infrastructure fairly basic.

Some of the best stocked food stations we've ever seen, including.... bacon and egg sandwiches.
And this. This wouldn’t happen either.

5. I love that if I rock up to a mountain bike ride I can completely knacker myself whatever the overall speed of the group. Do this on the road and you’ll leave everyone for dead, or be left for dead – knackered by default, just for trying to hold on. A mountain bike race is my own personal time trial. And social rides are more start/stop, which keeps everyone together. Plus people bring different skills and speed to different sections of trail. I’ve never ridden behind someone I didn’t learn from.

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And women. Women are actually get prize money, respect and recognition in mountain biking.

6. There are categories at races for women. That doesn’t mean that there are always people competing in these categories, but at least they are there. You can race with the guys, but feel valued as a female. And if you’re lucky to land on a podium, it’s a really nice way to meet other riders who are into the sport in a similar way to you. I came second in a fictitious women’s category at a road event recently. It bummed me out that I never got to shake hands with the winner, say g’day and compare thoughts on the day.

There is still a lot that I’ve really enjoyed from discovering a different way of riding: new friends, new pacing strategies, riding in a large group, different event challenges, tactics and dynamics. But it’s nice to be reminded that the six simple things above are as important to the fun, inclusive feel of mountain biking as knobbly tyres and a big, dusty grin.

 

Trails: Blue Mountains Riding High on New Council Mountain Bike Track

Blue Mountains City Council opened the first accredited downhill mountain bike track in the City at Knapsack Reserve, Glenbrook on Saturday 21 September to the delight of the mountain bike community.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said “The new downhill mountain bike track will be an important recreational facility for the Blue Mountains and greater Western Sydney region.

After a lot of careful planning and hard work, we can be proud of developing an environmentally friendly, low impact walking track and bike trail network in a bushland setting of national significance.”

Mountain biking is one of the faster growing recreational and sporting activities in Australia.

Working with experienced mountain bike riders, Council completed a Knapsack Reserve Mountain Bike Plan in October 2010. Construction of the track started in March 2013 after the necessary planning, design and environmental assessment work was completed and Australian Government approvals were obtained.

“Council and the riders have achieved a great deal working in partnership to complete Stage One of Council’s Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan”, said the Mayor.

Most notably, this partnership has achieved the design and construction of an 1,150m downhill track for experienced riders, a new volunteer Trackcare group to foster sustainable trail maintenance and ecological restoration, extensive track closure and rehabilitation and the installation of signage across the Reserve.

The $52,000 project was funded by a NSW Government Community Partnerships Building Grant of $12,000, a contribution of $8,000 from nature-based recreation licensing fees and the balance of $32,000 from Council’s operational budget.

Member for Penrith, Stuart, Ayers MP, said, “The Knapsack downhill mountain bike track is a perfect example of community partnership in action to build and improve local community facilities.”

Council and the community acted on the need to formalise opportunities for the popular sport of mountain bike riding in Knapsack Reserve to ensure riding is undertaken in as sustainable a manner as possible and to protect the biodiversity of Reserve.”

Mark Hawling, of Blue Mountains Off Road Cyclists (BMORC), said BMORC and riders welcome the long awaited opening of this trail after the closure of some important mountain bike trails in the Blue Mountains in the last few years.

This project has been achieved from a positive collaboration of riders, council and environmentalists working together and sharing knowledge.

“A big thanks” should go to the Council staff that BMORC have been involved with on a day to day basis as well Mayor Greenhill, Deputy Mayor Luchetti and Stuart Ayres MP who have been great champions for this project from the start. Also all the riders for getting behind the project and providing their considerable volunteer hours to see it to fruition.

This is also the beginning of an exciting mountain biking tourism opportunity.
Council and riders are now looking forward to Stage Two the Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan, to develop a 6.6 km cross country bike trail. Using the existing track network, Council and riders will work together to progressively improve sustainability of the old and degraded tracks that will form the cross country circuit and installation of additional track signage.

The Soapbox: Be Part of the Solution

Welcome to the Soapbox – a place where we invite you to express your opinion, no matter how well or ill-informed. A chance to vent your spleen, sing your praise, or chuck a tantie.

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Got something to blurt about? Send it to [email protected], and we might put it online. All Soapbox submission must be less than 500 words and will be kept strictly anonymous unless requested otherwise.

 

PLEASE NOTE: All Soapbox pieces represent the opinion of the writer solely and do not necessarily reflect the views of Flow!


There’s been plenty of talk lately about the ‘dumbing down’ of trails and a desire to ‘keep them organic’. As someone who has been riding mountain bikes for over a decade now, I can appreciate the sentiment the authors of these articles express and I acknowledge that they reflect the views of a large portion of the riding community – especially those riders who have been around for a while. As Founder & President of South East Queensland Trails Alliance (SEQTA) (www.seqta.net.au) I also have a responsibility to tell the other side of the story.

We can’t forget that in many parts of Australia we are relative new comers to the ‘legitimate user group’ club, and that even the mere allowance of MTB riding still makes some land managers nervous. But huge progress is being made, thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of local riders willing to play the long game, building relationships and trust. It’s also important to note that many of the ‘design flaws’ of modern trails cited in previous Soapbox pieces do indeed serve a purpose – for example a new trail needs to be built wide to allow the riding line to develop naturally over time. Many modern design features are also a necessary response towards massive growth in trail traffic over recent years and the trend towards ‘trail centre’ style riding.

Until mountain biking reaches a level of maturity where trail building and maintenance is fully funded and carried out by paid professionals, the responsibility for the trails you ride is yours. Right now, grabbing a shovel is as equally as important as grabbing your handlebars. If you’d like to see trails look a certain way, the only way to have that input is by being there when they’re being built or changed. But that doesn’t happen… According to Facebook’s analytics, there are over 26,000 people in the greater Brisbane region who list ‘Mountain Biking’ as one of their interests. Contrast this to recent working bees in the region that have seen as few as 3 people show up and ‘pathetic’ is the only word that can be used to describe the current level of on-the-ground involvement by the MTB community.

I’m also the first to acknowledge that the trail care movement needs to take some responsibility for this situation. Poor consultation and shoddy work in the past has lost the trust of many veteran riders, whilst on the other hand we’re not that great at engaging new riders either. What we do needs to be promoted and explained better, and innovative new ways of having riders participate explored. That is the reason I founded South East Queensland Trails Alliance. But the missing ingredient is you.

The real threat to mountain bike trails in Australia is not legalised trail care, it’s ignorance and apathy. If every rider put in one hour a year for their local trails, we could create things beyond our wildest dreams. It’s time for the riding community to stop talking about the problem and start being part of the solution.

 

The Soapbox: Keep the Trails Organic

Welcome to the Soapbox – a place where we invite you to express your opinion, no matter how well or ill-informed. A chance to vent your spleen, sing your praise, or chuck a tantie.

Soap-Box-Masthead

 

Got something to blurt about? Send it to [email protected], and we might put it online. All Soapbox submission must be less than 500 words and will be kept strictly anonymous unless requested otherwise.

 

PLEASE NOTE: All Soapbox pieces represent the opinion of the writer solely and do not necessarily reflect the views of Flow! Continue reading “The Soapbox: Keep the Trails Organic”

Trails: Christchurch Adventure Park

The Christchurch Adventure Park is the working title of the project to create the world’s first purpose built, year round chairlift accessed downhill mountain bike park on the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand. Select Evolution, a developer focused on creating exciting new adventure sport destinations globally, leads the project.

The ethos is simple; we aim to produce the world’s best quality, most accessible downhill mountain bike park in the world. Building on our experience of similar operations worldwide, this will provide opportunities for all levels of ability and knowledge, from total beginners who require equipment rental and skills instruction to the world’s top downhill mountain bikers in search of the perfect destination for training and competition.

In addition to this, the park will host a range of complimentary attractions and activities to ensure a broad appeal, including a restaurant, retail, ziplines, sightseeing and a mountain coaster. All will be sympathetically designed to blend with the beautiful natural surroundings of the Port Hills as part of an overall program to reintroduce a range of native plant species to the area.

(This content was originally posted on the Select Evolution website)

 

Opinion: The Five Trail Building Must-Haves

The legendary Kowalski Brothers are a trail building force of tsunami-esque power. They wash over the forest, picks in hand, and when the tide recedes only perfect singletrack is left behind. We thought we’d ask Des Kowalski (aka Alan Vogt – the man behind the Kowalski Classic and the Mont 24) what his top five items were for any epic trail building session.

 

Kowalski’s build trail the old fashioned way – hand-tooled and all delivered with that quiet, brutal finesse necessary to dig the dirt and deftly pluck big rocks from one spot to somewhere much better. It is physical work and hard on body, tools and clothes. I am known to go full stick when building trail and will often come home a little shattered, bruised and certainly bleeding (just like an epic day ride!), but over the years I have fine tuned a selection of must-have items that accompany me into the forest for a day on the tools. They make me happy and range from the simple to the downright essential. Like a seat belts, helmets and underpants, it now just feels weird to be without them. If you suffer from a trail building disorder, then these must-haves may help make your day in the woods be an even better one.

1. Sock covers.

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They may look bad but they have purpose.

A simple cuff of fabric (like the last 6 inches of a pair of pants) with elastic stitched around one end to hold them in place, these are the perfect device for stopping soil and little stones from getting inside your shoes as you clear the trail, dig holes etc. Standard uniform for landscapers, they are just the ticket to keep the grunge off your fancy racing socks too.

2. Good, grippy gloves.

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Get good ones.

Swinging tools forms a big part of my trail days and in the past I have lost the odd tool mid-flight due to crappy gloves. Those budget leather gardening gloves are the worst, especially if they’ve ever gotten wet. Once that happens, even simple fine motor tasks become awkward and frustrating. I wear out a lot of gloves and have tried pretty much every model at the hardware store and I have found that well made leather, synthetic leather or the ones with specially moulded silicon fingers are best for trail work. They allow you to get a firm grip on tools and boulders etc. and they have great dexterity making them ideal for random acts of English dry-wall (making nice rock berms). Right now my favourite gloves are Mad-Grip. They grip… well, like mad.

3. Steel cap boots.

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These are not steel toe and shortly after this photo was taken his toes were chopped off.

They might not be the most comfortable option for walking on uneven ground, but they are way better than MTB shoes, runners or Ugg boots on account of rocks. Kowalskis are known to haul disturbing amounts of rock around and many are the big heavy kind and they are not kind to feet. My toes might be stubby, but I kind of like the way they look so steel cap shoes are a must have. You can get away with sturdy hiking boots, but it helps to have reflexes like a cat if you do.

4. A tool box.

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The trusty old tool box.

Kowalskis don’t build trail with just one tool, so it helps that I have a huge van – it is the best tool box ever. Sure, it’s a bit heavy and has a rubbish handle, but it never leaves me wishing i’d brought this and that. EVERYTHING FITS! In there right now are thirty trail markers, a wheel barrow, a rock trolley, five fire rakes, two hoes, three saws, two pairs of clippers, two block splitters, two landscapers rakes, three picks, a crowbar, three shovels, post hold digger, a trail compacter, timber, power tools, a case of soft drink, 15L tub of water, a box of snacks, a partridge, bikes and all the gear I need for a ride (should the urge to test new trails overtake the need to push forward).

5. The ultimate Smoko kit.

Wagon Wheels: massively under-rated. For too long have these biscuits lived in the shadow of the Tim Tam.
Wagon Wheels: massively under-rated. For too long have these biscuits lived in the shadow of the Tim Tam.

Kowalski’s burn a lot of energy as they ply their craft (especially our lot), so having an abundance of snacks on hand goes without question. But as with their taste for sweet flowing single track the Kowalski’s won’t stuff any old thing in their mouth – they know what they like – so we have it for them. Must-have foods: Weston’s Wagon Wheels*, Killer Pythons, sweet crunchy apples, bakers muffins, muesli bars and Chup-a-Chups. Must-have drinks: Coke, water, Up and Go and a thermos of tea with honey (that’s mine man, get your own!). Cafe furniture: milk crates, a plank of wood and tree stumps. These must-haves make for the perfect break wherever you happen to be working the trail. Note: Chocolate coated Scotch Fingers are a suitable substitute for youngsters who have no clue as to the mystical qualities of the Wagon Wheel. Kids these days…

Go with the flow son, go with the flow.

 

If you want to learn a little more about the Kowalski brothers then check out our feature on the whole crew.

 

 

Trails: Skyline Queenstown Has Announced Details of a New Trail and Season Prices

Skyline Queenstown has announced details of a new mountain bike trail as it launches its season pass prices and information for 2013/14.

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Starting at the midway clearing and gradually flowing through Queenstown bike park, the new $75,000 trail is going to complement the steady gradient of Skyline’s other green trail Hammy’s, providing riders of all abilities with an alternate option to the base of the gondola.

Skyline General Manager Lyndon Thomas said he was “delighted” to be able to offer local riders and visitors a new experience.

“For many bikers in Queenstown, New Zealand and even Australia, we’re the location of choice, so we’re really pleased we can increase the number and range of trails we offer and provide these riders with more thrills and the same convenience factor of a gondola ride back up the hill,” he said.

“Since access to these trails first opened, we’ve seen the continued growth of mountain biking as a sport, creating a significant economic benefit for many businesses throughout the region.

“This is a burgeoning market and Skyline quickly realised the importance of additional investment for both the company and for Queenstown tourism.”

Work will commence shortly after the season opens on Thursday 26 September 2013.

Skyline Queenstown is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola-assisted bike lift, providing direct access to 13 world-class mountain biking trails and varying terrain for all abilities in the Queenstown Bike Park.

The 2013/14 pass prices and dates have been released on www.skyline.co.nz/queenstown/mountain-biking/

This year, in an initiative to harness the growing interest among youngsters, Skyline Queenstown is offering Season Passes to local Wakatipu High School students at a special rate of $249.

The mountain biking season is scheduled to close on Sunday May 4 2014.

Prices for an adult half day pass start from $60 and there are full day, multi day, season and half season passes available. Details are available on the website or by calling +64 3 441 0101.

Trails: South East Queensland's Newest Trail Opens with a Bang

On Sunday 4 August, over 60 riders and their families joined councillor Darren Power of Logan City Council to officially open South East Queensland’s newest trail – ‘Ginger Gully’ – located in Cornubia Forest.

The event commenced with Brisbane South MTB Club (BSMC) leading social rides around the forest, with many a tyre touching the dirt there for the first time. After a free BBQ lunch, a train of over 44 riders then took the first official ride down the trail – a trail that was built with over 50 tonnes of rock and fill by 662 hours of volunteer labour over 15 weekends.

Official opening of ‘Ginger Gully’ from SEQ Trails Alliance on Vimeo.

SEQTA also recently compiled a short video entitled ‘Trail Fairies’ – documenting the efforts of the Logan Community Trail Care Alliance (LCTA) in building ‘Ginger Gully’.

Trail Fairies: a short film by SEQ Trails Alliance from SEQ Trails Alliance on Vimeo.

Thanks to the efforts of LCTA and BSMC, Cornubia Forest (located about 25 minutes south of Brisbane) is fast becoming one of SEQ’s not to miss riding destinations. Offering steep climbs and descents, with a good mix of flow and technical riding, it stands in contrast to the highly popular, easier, trails of the nearby Daisy Hill Conservation Park. With the Daisy Hill trails only a 10-minute ride away from Cornubia Forest, a growing portion of the thosands of visitors to Daisy Hill each week are now opting to include a trip over to Cornubia as well to make a full day of varied riding.

The newest trail, ‘Ginger’ Gully, adds to the Cornubia network that now stands at around 8.5 kilometres of singletrack. Last year, volunteers also completed the ‘Wallum Froglet’ trail – the first official new trail for the forest. ‘Wallum Froglet’ added 1.7km of fresh singletrack to the network of existing trails that were recently legalised by council after they acquired the land a number of years ago and made the decision to work pro-actively and in partnership with the mountain bike community. Since this time, rider numbers have spiked and are continuing to grow by the month.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. BSMC was recently award a grant under the Queensland Government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund to construct another new trail in the forest later this year that will link the ‘Wallum Froglet’ and ‘Ginger Gully’ trails, helping riders to piece together even better loops.

WEB_News_Trail_Ginger_SEQ

Trails: South East Queensland’s Newest Trail Opens with a Bang

On Sunday 4 August, over 60 riders and their families joined councillor Darren Power of Logan City Council to officially open South East Queensland’s newest trail – ‘Ginger Gully’ – located in Cornubia Forest.

The event commenced with Brisbane South MTB Club (BSMC) leading social rides around the forest, with many a tyre touching the dirt there for the first time. After a free BBQ lunch, a train of over 44 riders then took the first official ride down the trail – a trail that was built with over 50 tonnes of rock and fill by 662 hours of volunteer labour over 15 weekends.

Official opening of ‘Ginger Gully’ from SEQ Trails Alliance on Vimeo.

SEQTA also recently compiled a short video entitled ‘Trail Fairies’ – documenting the efforts of the Logan Community Trail Care Alliance (LCTA) in building ‘Ginger Gully’.

Trail Fairies: a short film by SEQ Trails Alliance from SEQ Trails Alliance on Vimeo.

Thanks to the efforts of LCTA and BSMC, Cornubia Forest (located about 25 minutes south of Brisbane) is fast becoming one of SEQ’s not to miss riding destinations. Offering steep climbs and descents, with a good mix of flow and technical riding, it stands in contrast to the highly popular, easier, trails of the nearby Daisy Hill Conservation Park. With the Daisy Hill trails only a 10-minute ride away from Cornubia Forest, a growing portion of the thosands of visitors to Daisy Hill each week are now opting to include a trip over to Cornubia as well to make a full day of varied riding.

The newest trail, ‘Ginger’ Gully, adds to the Cornubia network that now stands at around 8.5 kilometres of singletrack. Last year, volunteers also completed the ‘Wallum Froglet’ trail – the first official new trail for the forest. ‘Wallum Froglet’ added 1.7km of fresh singletrack to the network of existing trails that were recently legalised by council after they acquired the land a number of years ago and made the decision to work pro-actively and in partnership with the mountain bike community. Since this time, rider numbers have spiked and are continuing to grow by the month.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. BSMC was recently award a grant under the Queensland Government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund to construct another new trail in the forest later this year that will link the ‘Wallum Froglet’ and ‘Ginger Gully’ trails, helping riders to piece together even better loops.

WEB_News_Trail_Ginger_SEQ

Mount Gunjin Trails Open For Business

Dirt Art are pleased to announced that our latest Western Australian trail project is now open for business.

The network of trails on Mount Gunjin provides a significant addition to the existing Kalamunda Circuit (approximately 22km), through the installation of 5.5km of all-mountain/gravity cross country descents, a new 2km section of climbing trail and a 500m descent back into the existing circuit.  The highlight of the development is the fast, free-flowing descents, which include three upper mountain trails, two mid-mountain trails and a single trail to the base of Mount Gunjin.  The trails feature a range of steel and timber trail features, berms, a jump line and a range of technical rocky terrain.  Regarded by many as the signature trail of the development ‘Judderbars’ is all about flow, offering a kilometre of swooping bermed turns, rollers and jumps.  The Gunjin development is firmly geared towards gravity cross country/all mountain riding, and offers a true mountain bike playground for all comers.

Dirt Art Director Simon French quotes the project as; ‘these trails are the definition of fun on a mountain bike, we had the ability and scope to open our bag of trail building tricks very wide for this project- the trails have a bit of everything, from technical dirt jumps to grin-inducing flow trails.  Our crew want to take this piece of hill home with us’.

As an addition to the gravity trail development and in support of their efforts advocating for the project, Dirt Art have provided the Western Australian Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA) with a $10,000+ in-kind donation towards this development.

Dirt Art acknowledge the significant efforts of Lindsay Alsop (Vice President) and the Western Australian Mountain Bike Association, who have tirelessly advocated for these trails, including sourcing the funding to allow for professional construction.  For more information on WAMBA or to join head to www.wamba.org.au

2013 IMBA Australasian Summit, Oct 14 – 17

IMBA Australia is proud to announce that we are hosting and organising a regional trails summit for the Asia Pacific Region in Tropical Far North Queensland, at the Cairns Convention Centre.

This year’s Regional Summit is a chance for celebrating trail development and access for mountain bike riders in our part of the globe as well as to learn about cutting edge trail developments and solutions from NZ, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia to name a few. We are seeking attendance from all those who are involved in mountain bike trail provision in your homeland or aboard. We want you to be involved. It will be inaugural event or a biennial regional trails summit that aims to guide the future of trail development and set high standards for the provision of MTB tourism.

Together we can help all communities, big or small, to create world class MTB experiences for health, happiness and enhanced visitation. So, the call is out. We are seeking, land managers, bike industry reps, trail builders, regional planners and mountain bike trail advocates to be part of this inspiring and knowledge sharing event. We are bringing the fun format of the IMBA World Summit to you, so don’t miss out!

As part of the Summit we are planning rides at Smithfield MTB Park, Kuranda’s DH Track and the brand new trails in the Tablelands at Atherton and Mareeba. The trails and scenery will astound you!

Stay tuned for updates and further speaker announcements!

For more information about the event, and to register please click here.

Do you have something to say?

Naturally to develop a full and extensive program, with content focussed on contemporary and innovative mountain bike projects or programs, we want to hear from all corners of the Asia Pacific Region. If you are working on something special, or have new trail research to share, we encourage you to consider making a presentation. Breakout sessions are still available so if you would like to present at this year’s summit please contact Nick Bowman – [email protected]

Trail Fund NZ Launches

Trail Fund NZ is a not-for-profit organisation that has been set up in 2013 to help fund the development and maintenance of trails all around New Zealand.

It appears the land of perfect singletrack needs more of it because the goal for Trail Fund NZ is to raise awareness and support for trail building among the wider community, such as businesses, councils, community groups, and other public bodies.

One of the group’s ambassadors is XC Olympian turned enduro racer, Rosara Joseph. The well-liked racer hoped the national body, with proper governance structures and an identifiable brand, would be able to access funding from a wide range of organisations.

“We also want to share knowledge and experience about best practice for trail building and advocacy,” she said.

Rosara Joseph on the Deliverance Trail
Olympian Rosara Joseph above the Deliverance Trail in Wellington, New Zealand

Trail Fund NZ expects everyone to benefit from more trail networks of a higher standard along with an increased awareness of advocacy for mountain biking and the development of trails.

“Mountain biking is hugely popular in New Zealand and is continuing to grow, but it is unique in that we largely build and maintain our own facilities,” Rosara offers.

“We want to build not just sustainably-built trails, but awareness and recognition that deserves to go with them.”

Rosara has raced throughout Europe and North America and lived in the UK for a period of five years and she believes New Zealand has a unique mountain biking proposition.

“I enjoyed some fantastic trails in all of those places. However, I think that New Zealand is special in that trail building, and mountain biking in general, has widespread community and political support. That’s a big difference compared with, for example, the UK (where I spent nearly five years), where mountain biking and the building of mountain bike trails are both really difficult to get support for. I think New Zealand is also unique in that the past 10 years or so has seen an explosion of purpose-built mountain biking trails throughout the country.”

She said New Zealand riders were also very lucky to have great trails so close to and amongst the cities and towns.

“I doubt there are many capital cities where you can commute nearly right to your office via off road trails! In contrast to the established tracks in Europe and the US, many of which are existing hiking tracks that become shared tracks, many of the trails we ride here in NZ are purpose-built mountain bike trails. So, in a sense, I think most mountain bikers in NZ have more awareness of the time and effort that has gone into building the trails they ride on.”

Want to get involved in Trail Fund NZ? Visit trailfund.org.nz to buy a cool t-shirt, donate some money to the fund, apply for a grant to contribute to a trail building project you’re involved in and, of course, you can dig.

For Rosara, who is about to jump on a plane to begin her season racing and riding in Oregon and Colorado, with a couple of trips to Whistler, BC, and Utah also planned, the decision to support Trail Fund NZ was simple:

“I love mountain biking,” she smiles. “I hugely appreciate the efforts of those who have dedicated time and energy to building and maintaining the tracks that I ride, and I thought that helping out with Trail Fund NZ is one way I can support their stellar efforts.”

Singletrack perfection
The kind of singletrack perfection that Trail Fund NZ hopes to create more of throughout New Zealand.
Hamish Seaton cobblestones
Hamish Seaton places a stone in a cobbled section of trail.
Trail builder Gareth Hargreaves rips into a piece of trail on Snakes and Ladders in Dunedin.

Permanent Closure of Asbestos Contaminated Trail at Stromlo

Investigations and rehabilitation activities regarding the discovery of asbestos containing material (ACM) found on two sections of the main trunk mountain bike trail at Stromlo Forest Park are continuing.

Testing was conducted earlier this month and the results of these tests confirm the presence of bonded asbestos in the soil. All visual fragments have been removed by a licensed asbestos removalist.

The section of the trail where the asbestos was found is on land owned by the Australian National University (ANU), which is used by Stromlo Forest Park in accordance with a memorandum of understanding. Rehabilitation activities in this area will continue to be managed by ANU.

The first stage of this process is the permanent closure of the section of the trail between ‘Red Rock’ and ‘Tall Trees’. The area will be fenced off and revegetation activities will commence.

No hazardous material was found on the trail running from Tall Trees to the water tanks and this section of track will reopen immediately.

Work will also begin immediately to build a temporary trail running parallel to the Mt Stromlo road so riders can access the summit and Scope Cafe.

Mapping will be undertaken to permanently re-route the tracks around the affected area so that riders can enjoy full access to all of Stromlo Forest Park (over 60 kilometres of trails) in a safe environment.

Stromlo Forest Park management will consult with the Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) to ensure the new tracks meet the needs of the riders and are interesting and fun to use.

Once the new routes have been agreed upon, testing for ACM will be undertaken prior to construction to ensure the health and safety of all users. As the new sections of track are completed they will be opened to riders and it is anticipated that all the new tracks will be fully operational by mid to late July.

Signage warning trail users that the track is closed will remain in place until the new trails are completed. Members of the public are urged to respect the barricades and not attempt entry into the closed sections of the trail.

Stromlo Forest Park will continue to provide updates via its social media sites on twitter @stromloforest and on facebook www.facebook.com/stromloforestpark

$375,000 Toward Australia’s First IMBA EPIC Mountain Bike Trail

The Mt Buller Mt Stirling EPIC Mountain Bike Trail Project today received a significant funding injection, with the announcement that the Victorian Coalition Government will provide $375,000 toward the project which looks set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail.

The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program, and involves the construction of a 40.39km trail that will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride, providing stunning views across the Victorian High Country.

Announcing the funding on behalf of Deputy Premier Peter Ryan this morning at Mirimbah Park, Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the project would provide a boost to the local economy and contribute to the year-round tourism of the region.

“Showcasing the magnificence of Victoria’s alpine region’s countryside, the new trail will provide new jobs and boost the local economy by increasing tourist and business opportunities,” Dr Sykes said.

“New jobs will be created during the construction stage and, once completed, the region’s hospitality, tourism and other related industries like bicycle hire, repair and maintenance as well as outdoor lifestyle retail businesses will also provide further employment opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the EPIC Mountain Bike Experience Project was a great example of all levels of government working with the local community to support the growth and development of the Victorian High Country. “The Coalition Government is pleased to be the major funding provider, with $350,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which was created to drive regional development across the state, providing better infrastructure, facilities and services,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our funding is complemented by the Federal Government ($125,000), Mansfield Shire Council ($25,000) and Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management Board ($225,000).

“The Coalition Government is committed to investing in regional Victoria to create prosperity, job opportunities, economic and social resilience and better quality of life.”

Representing the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board at today’s announcement, deputy chairman Dean Belle recognised the contribution from government as well as the partnership behind the project. “It is very exciting to be involved in a project of this scale and we are grateful of the assistance provided by Regional Development Victoria’s Regional Growth Fund to support this important development that will benefit the entire region. It has been the vision of Resort Management to establish Mt Buller as the number one mountain bike destination in Victoria, if not Australia, and to have the support of government to help us achieve this vision is something we are very appreciative of.

“This project is a partnership that requires the input and teamwork of a number of land managers, who I would like to extend a thank you to for all their hard work in ensuring this is a project that has gotten off the ground. Resort Management has worked in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria throughout the lengthy planning process, and getting to this stage of the project would not have been possible without this collaboration.”

Construction of the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail will begin in December 2013. For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

Must-Ride: Jindabyne, NSW

In the next issue of Flow (Issue #4) we are going to feature the trails and grand plans of mountain biking in Jindabyne.

The little township of Jindabyne, NSW is a small dot on the mountain bike map however recent work and future plans may mean that Jindabyne, and the greater area, could very easily become an Australian mountain bike mecca. There’s already a smorgasbord of trails in the greater Snowy area and Jindabyne is the perfect hub to explore them all.

The new trails between Tyrolean Village and the township of Jindabyne are just the start of those future plans and Flow got to ride them on a recent trip to Thredbo.

Probably like most, we normally drive straight through Jindabyne, however his time we decided to make the stop – and it was more than worth it. On top of the new trails in the video, the old network of trails in the Tyrolean area still running, and access has also been granted for all to ride the sweet network of trails at Bungarra (just a few minutes out of town).

Look out for a full feature in issue #4, and make sure you add Jindabyne to your list of favourite trail destinations. You can even grab a locally brewed ale just metres off the trail. Now that’s worth the trip alone.

Pumped Up Track – Willunga, South Australia

The City of Onkaparinga, South Australia recently contracted TrailScapes to rebuild an existing dirt jump facility that had become an eyesore and was unsuitable for all riders.

Garry Patterson from TrailScapes took the traditional pump track and turned it on its head, designing a ‘Pumped Up’ track that is essentially a steeper and taller version of your conventional pump track, as there has been a need for a facility combining pump track and dirt jump characteristics.

The design had been sitting in a draw for a couple of years so when the opportunity arose to implement it in the historic town of Willunga in the McLaren Vale wine district, the team wasted no time in building the facility.

The track has only been opened since Monday and the positive response to both the Council and ourselves has been overwhelming and with 4 more Pumped Up Tracks in the pipeline this is the beginning of the Pump Track Revolution!

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Announces ‘Epic’ Mountain Bike Trail Project

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has announced an exciting new project for the region, with the construction of a mountain bike trail that is set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail. The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program.

The Mt Buller Mt Stirling IMBA EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project involves the construction of a 40.39km trail that will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride, providing stunning views across the Victorian High Country. The proposed trail crosses terrain within the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts (managed by Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management), Mansfield State Forest (managed by DSE) and the Mt Russell Education Area (managed by Parks Victoria).

The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project builds on the success of Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of mountain bike trails, which has steadily been developed over the past six years and has seen the Resort become a premier mountain biking destination. This commitment to developing quality mountain bike trails has led to Mt Buller recently being crowned Australia’s first IMBA Ride Center, meaning the Resort joins a select group of mountain biking destinations around the world that represent IMBA’s Model Trail recognition for large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every rider. If EPIC status is attained for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project, it will be one of the few trails outside of North America to receive this endorsement, meaning that it is recognised as a world-class trail that offers an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry ride experience.

T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants aim to benefit the tourism industry by providing targeted investment of up to $1 million (+ GST) for nationally significant, innovative projects.

The Australian Alps is one of 13 National Landscapes across Australia sharing in $1 million funding under the Australia’s National Landscapes Strategic Tourism Investment Grant. The Commonwealth’s funding contribution of $125,000 (+GST) for the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project has been matched by $125,000 (+GST) from Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

The Australia’s National Landscapes program is a partnership between Parks Australia and Tourism Australia that aims to achieve conservation, social and economic outcomes for Australia and its regions via the promotion of iconic nature based tourism experiences to the global Experience Seekertourism market. The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project was identified as a priority project in the 2010 Australian Alps National Landscapes Tourism Strategy.

Speaking at the launch of the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project in Melbourne last night, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Chief Executive Officer, John Huber, said the construction of this new trail would benefit the region and provide a boost to tourism.

“The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project will present another quality cycle tourism drawcard for the Mansfield-Mt Buller region, and will complement the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail experience and the purpose-built singletrack mountain biking product currently offered at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.

“This iconic trail will showcase the stunning landscape of the High Country, embrace the local environment and provide a world-class backcountry ride experience that will be unlike anything else in Australia. It is very exciting to be involved in such a project and we are grateful of the assistance provided by the Australian Government through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants and the Australia’s National Landscapes program.”

IMBA Australia’s National Director, Nick Bowman, said Mt Buller is leading the way in mountain bike trail development. “The team at Mt Buller is showing great drive and determination to get this trail on the ground. It is fantastic that Resort Management is successfully pushing the boundaries of what can be provided for mountain bike riders in Australia. They are indeed setting a new standard in Australia trail network development.”

For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

For further information on Australia’s National Landscapes program visit:

The Soapbox: Please Take The Time to Learn

This photo has been doing the rounds on Facebook today and I thought it was perfect timing to add my bit.

As an ambassador and frequent user of Stromlo Forest Park I see this time and time again.  Corners being cut, straight lines appearing everywhere, obstacles being avoided, and trails being altered.  Normally I just report it to the park managers to fix but today I thought I would weigh in on the debate.

To me this is wrong. Wrong for two main reasons: the environmental impact and the impact it has on the trails for other users.

Let’s have a look at the environmental impact side first.  Mountain biking does cause an impact to the environment.  However, over the past 10 or so years trail builders and land owners have learnt and developed techniques to help minimise that impact and make our riding more sustainable.  Good trail design takes into account water flow, erosion control, and species and habitat protection – amongst others.  Yes, you can argue that some of the trails you have seen don’t adhere to these standards but over time we will find more and more sustainable trail building occurring.  It’s a win-win for the sport.

However, when someone goes and alters the trail to suit their own needs all this is thrown out the window.  Lets just look at the example picture.  First off a tree has been trimmed substantially.  That tree could have been a protected species and could have been a home for local fauna. Secondly, the new track has opened up a literal flood gate for water to flow less-obstructed down the hill.  The previous unaltered scene would have acted as a natural diversion for water and thus helping to reduce erosion on the trail.

Now to the effect it has on the trail experience for others.  Good mountain bike trails and locations have riding to suit all manner of skill types. Stromlo Forest Park is a good example of where you can progress your skills through riding the many varied trails and obstacles.  It’s this progression of skills that is a key element of the sport and has always been part of the roots and soul of mountain biking.

Put simply, changing the trail to suit your skills is selfish. I understand that hitting the deck isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, so if a part of trail is beyond your ability, walk it. Or even better, take the time out of your ride to learn the skills to ride it.  I feel no happier and more at peace with life than when I have overcome that fear and hit that jump, trail, line, obstacle for the first time.  That is what progressing your skills will do. You may crash, you may get hurt, but your riding and your experience will ultimately be better for it.

If you come up to an obstacle and mess it up, go back and try it again. If it’s beyond you, there are plenty of people out there to teach you the skills to ride it, or stick the trails more suited to your skill level until you’ve progressed. Changing the trails to suit you is not the answer, and taking the time to learn to ride an obstacle will ultimately benefit you and the rest of the riding community.

 

Opening Date Set For Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail

SNORC (Sydney North Off Road Cyclists) Presents Old Man’s Valley Trails of Hornsby.

Stage One of the eagerly-anticipated Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail in Old Man’s Valley is nearing completion and will be officially opened on Saturday February 2.

All the main work is completed and final adjustments are now being made.

Synergy Trails managing director Adrian Main has already ridden every inch of the track to test it out, a privilege he gets as the man who oversaw its construction on behalf of Hornsby Shire Council.

“They’re very flowing trails, with lots of berms, rollers and other features positioned in a manner that’s challenging to ride,” Adrian says. “However, there’s also a great area for children and beginners that has been designed in a manner to allow progression and increase the fun factor as you get better.

“This is northern Sydney’s first legal purpose-built trail, and we’ve ended up with a really good result due to the exhaustive work the team at Council have done in making sure these trails do not impact on the local ecosystem or residents.”

Hornsby Mayor Steve Russell, who will officially open the trail, offered special thanks to the many volunteers who’ve also helped.

“This has turned into a real community-building exercise,” he says. “There is a lot of excitement about this development, both within the Shire and much further afield, which has made it a lot easier to bring to fruition.”

The mayor considers the mountain bike trail to be another step towards the rejuvenation of the west side of Hornsby, but its benefits will be greater than that.

“This will bring people into the Shire, boosting our local economy, while also adding another great physical activity that can be enjoyed by our residents and their families.”

The enthusiasm for the trail’s construction has been keenly felt on Council’s Facebook page, which has regularly received messages such as this from cyclist Nick Zelenjak: “Thank you for the wonderful mountain biking facility at Old Man’s Valley. Sydney has been crying out for such quality trails for well over a decade and this council has led the way.”

Adrian has been receiving similar comments. “The cycling community is ecstatic about this,” he says. “There’s finally somewhere to ride that you don’t have to travel more than an hour to get to.”

The Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail will be open to the public from midday on Saturday 2 February, 2013.