Upper Luge and Crosscut Tracks Now Open The May 2022 edition of Making Tracks (Hobart City Council Track Care Newsletter) reports that the Upper Luge and Crosscut (the new dedicated climbing track beside it) are finished and open. That means two of the four new trails on the lower slopes of kunanyi/Mt Wellington bei...
New 'adventure focused' mountain bike trails are being developed in the Heemskirk Range near Zeehan. The Zeehan trails are being built by Next Level Mountain Bike, the company behind the original Oonah Hill track and trails in the Dial Range at Penguin.As reported in the Advocate Newspaper (published 11 May 2022), Next Level owner Ma...
A small article tucked away on page 6 of the May 2, 2022 edition of the Examiner, noted that among other things, the federal government had committed $400,000 towards safety improvements for the Cascade Dam Road in Derby (think the road you use to get to the top of Atlas), $100,000 to assist in the restoration of the Scottsdale Rail...
Let's face it - Tasmania's North East is spoilt for amazing purpose-built mountain bike trails that could keep you happy for weeks on end. Which begs the question of why I found myself unloading my bike at the corner of Bellingham Road and Bridport Road about to head off for a 60km+ soujourn along beaches, soft sandy tracks and busy roads, wit...
Waratah Wynyard Council have recently (April 2022) decided not to procced with the development of some potential Mountain Bike Trail proposals put to them recently, and instead explore the feasibility of developing a shared user pathway from Wynyard to Stanley utilising the disused Wiltshire rail corridor or other alternatives and se...
Five new trails (7 Shreds, Sweet Caroline, Funky Chicken, Harden Up and Syked Out) were officially opened on April 16 2022 adding 10 more kilometres of trail to the Wild Mersey Trail Network. I headed up for a ride not long after (23 April 2022) as a bit of a side detour to a trip up to the North East. I parked down by the ...
Hobart City Council's Making Tracks newsletter (March 2022) reports that work is progressing well on the construction of four new mountain bike trails on the lower slopes of kunanyi/Mt Wellington as part of stage one of the City’s Riding the Mountain plan.
A circumnavigation of Lake King William has been on the to-do list for a very long time, and I have tried (unsuccesfully) to do it in the past, but today I finally made that all important decision to actually set my alarm and set out to see if it was possible to circumnavigate Lake King William by bike and packraft ... I left ...
So I hadn’t been expecting much from the new George Town trails. Truth be told, I expected to just spend a few hours riding them and then drive away thinking “that’s that done, time to go and ride some proper trails.” But, four hours and many kilometres later. I’m happy to say I’m eating my expectations. Or does it make more sense to s...
Just when I thought news for mountain biking in Tasmania couldn't get much better, another trail plan has popped up from a group of riders quietly working away developing a plan for a new Latrobe-Kentish mountain bike trail with not one, but two, mountain bike parks included.
The plan involves a road side pathway from Devonport to Latrobe along the river road, then to Shale road where a MTB park would be created with easy to ride trails through the hill alongside the Warrawee reserve. From there the trail would cross the river to Railton, then to Sheffield where a more advanced park would be built with down hill runs included (Yes, if you're wondering this does sound like it follows the current Tasmanian Trail route). From there a trail across the top of the Badgers will take riders back towards Devonport and onto the Devonport's cycle way.
If you're interested in tracking this one more closely, then a facebook group has been set up titled "Latrobe-Kentish Mountain Bike Trail Network". Expect to see more updates on tassietrails.org for this one as well.
Who else is cranky with the Dirt Devils MTB club? imagine running the first cyclocross race down south last month with practically no notice or advertising! Shame. Shame. Shame.
But I'm quick to forgive ... largely because the dates (if not the venues) for the next three races are now up on their website, with the next one being held on July 20 at St Virgils. It's in my diary so hope to see you there.
The big news of the month has to be around the Meehan Ranges ... I'm just not sure if the big news is (a) the announcement of the Meehan Monster MTB Race on October 26 (Hobart Show Day weekend), (b) the opening up of the new Golden Hill single track (brilliant work guys) or (c) the committment by Clarence City Council to fund a months professional trail building to get the Draft Meehan Range Strategic Trail Plan underway (source: Dirt Art FB). Heck it's all big news.
Getting back to events, there's not much competitive stuff going on, but on the social riding front this month you've got Dirt Devils tanagara trail adventure ride (July 6), Launceston Mountain Bike Club's Mt Stronach ride (July 20) and TBug's Kate Reed ride (27 July) and rolling over into August there's a similar offering from the clubs plus the Ben Lomond Descent (multi sport) on August 3 which for those of you pinning for the loss of the Winter Challenge could be the way to get your winter multisport fix.
Looking out into the future, there's been a few additions to the "mud running" calendar with another Tas Mud Run event scheduled near Evandale (Sept 21) and a new venue (Baskerville railway) with two new dates for the Raw Challenge down south. Entries to the Cranky Penguin MTB race are also now open ... a race that sold out pretty darn quickly last year.
In other news, the work on the holly bank trails continue apace with a likely opening date later this year, the Dorset Rail Trail group has recently announced a development application to extend the Dorset Rail Trail from Tonganah out to Scottsdale which will be a big step in making the trail more attractive in my opinion, and in other signs of how mountain biking is going from strength to strength, Tourism Northern Tasmania have just hosted a forum on the potenial of cycle tourism with many of the papers now available to view online.
All these events and more are on tassietrails event calendar.
I love following the blogs of people who explore the world and of course I love Tasmania which is why I was so pleased recently to find out about Anni May Jensen's blog in progress covering her walking adventure of the Tasmanian Trail.
Anni of course isn't the only one who has written about their adventures on the trail, and these stories are one of the best sources of information about what it is like out there.
For those considering riding the Tasmanian Trail there is an excellent video over on youtube of Ian Coles and Neil Thorburn's ride down the trail in February/March 2013. Anyone who has ridden the Caves Track section will particularly appreciate their epic ascent up this part of the ride.
The Tasmanian Trail website also has a a few user reports, including a report by Peter Hoskinson who ran the Tasmanian Trail in just five and a half days to celebrate his 50th birthday. I know Pete, but it still blows me away as it took me 8 days to ride the trail.
On my to do list is to write up a lot of the potential day trips that you can use the trail for, in the meantime there is still a menu on the left hand side of www.tassierambler.org of many day trips that I've ridden that you can follow ... or maybe like Anni you could just decide to get out there and ride the whole thing.
So just this week I see cheap airfares are available to New Zealand in August and I think "Hmmm ... mountain biking the heaphy track" ...
I was so devastated that I forgot to book my trip to New Zealand.
Fortunately, as I did this months events update, I was reminded that we've still got the Ben Lomond Descent (Aug 3 - get training), what looks like a revamped Freycinet Challenge on October 11-12, the Launceston Cataract Gorge Challenge on November 2, and although the date isn't released yet, the Tullah Challenge should be on November 8. I know, it's still not the Winter Challenge but it is a chance to try some new races.
Looking a bit further out, don't forget that entries to the Hellfire Cup are open and the event itself (which I'll sadly miss this year) will be here before we know it.
If you like to ride alone, Winter is (in my opinion) the perfect time to get on over to Maria Island and explore the brilliant trails over there. East Coast Cruises have announced that their free ferry trips are running again over winter, and with a winter discount rate of 25% applying to accommodation and camping on the island from 5/7/14 to 26/9/14 inclusive, winter is the time for a cheap weekend over on Maria. A write up of my trip their last winter is viewable here.
Finally, I can't finish this month's update without mention of how exciting things are looking trail wise for this coming summer with nearly 20kms of new trail nearing completion up at Hollybank. Although not on the same scale, down south new (and legal) local tracks are appearing at Pilchers Hill and there's ongoing work on new trails over in the Meehan Ranges and in South Hobart. The Meehan Trail Groomers and Hobart Trail Alliance are great facebook pages to keep up to date with trail happenings in the south (or if you're already following tassie trails on facebook I'll cross post anything I see of interest there).
As always, you can check out the full events calendar on Tassie Trails here. This calendar brings together all mountain biking events in Tasmania into a single calendar as well as listing major road riding, running and multisport events from 38 different websites around the state.
Which just leaves me with one final thought ... why, when there's so much good riding coming up here, is a bit of me still thinking about heading off to ride the Heaphy Track in New Zealand ...
Well if you're (a) still tuning in and (b) believe the hype, then the upcoming Tasmania State Election is all about jobs, jobs, jobs and a few other things.
Whilst I don't know about that, from what I've seen it's pretty clear that cycling certainly isn't on anyone's "vote winning" radar. Mind you after the big cash splash out on mountain bike trails in the north east at the last Federal Election that's probably no real surprise.
I'm not professing to have an encyclopedic coverage of bicycle related policies for this election, but here's a few announcements I've noticed.
Rather unsurprisingly, the Greens would appear to be the front runners having announced $23.3 million towards building part of the Battery Point Cycleway and in the only purely cycle-trail focussed announcement I've seen in this election, they have also announced $500,000 towards kick starting the North East Rail Trail development. I guess the question is ... what will they actually be able to deliver?
The Labor Party has seen the light on the "a metre matters" campaign and pledged back in February to implement the minimum one-metre passing legislation if they get re-elected. In the fine print however it goes on to say that it is only a trial that will be implemented.
The Liberals have also announced an improved Road Safety policy where they sort of, kind of, promise to refer some ideas about running a beefed up "Share the Road" campaign to improve road safety for cyclists, and there's mention of improving signage in high use areas and referring the "a metre matters" idea to the Road Safety Advisory Council for them to consider. This particular election policy comes with no budget attached however.
You also have to wonder about the commitment to cyclists when you read their Infrastructure Tasmania which in its four glossy pages manages to talk all about how they will provide a coordinated approach to the planning and delivery of all major infrastructure in Tasmania, including rail, major roads, energy, ports, and water and sewerage ... but which has not one mention of the inclusion of cycling infrastructure in this grand plan.
But don't despair if you think this is a Liberal bashing, Green supporting diatribe because I'm now going to go out on a limb and award the most interesting policy commitment for cycling to .... the Liberals for their "Unlocking the Potential in our Parks". Yep, a lot of people may see this as a terrible thing, but I'm an optimist and see this as an opportunity to potentially improve mountain bike access to our reserves and National Parks and having seen this done really well in other parts of the world, I can get excited about that idea ... which is not something i can really say about the rest of the election period.
But on that little (tongue in cheek) bombshell, I leave you to ponder how you will vote in the election on Saturday night ... knowing that it probably won't be cycling announcements that sway your vote anyway.
PS. If you want to actually read some facts about bicycling in this campaign, check out Bicycle Tasmania's slightly more informed information.
I don't know what to be more excited about for March ... the upcoming State Election (anyone seen any bicycling related election promises?) or Tas Bike Week (which in true Tasmanian style will be running for a week and a half). Given that Bike Week has my own Acton MTB Rogaine event tucked in it, I think I'll go with Bike Week.
Due to Bike Week, the calendar this month is absolutely overflowing with rides and riding related events and I won't try and recount them all, just go and check out the Tassie Trails Events Calendar or go direct to the Bike Week website and see for yourself.
Looking out a bit further in the calendar, entries have just opened up for the Hellfire Cup (20-23 November, and I also noticed the first hint of a date (25 May) for the Icebreaker Multisport up in Launceston ... which I'm proud to announce (subject to the date being confirmed) Kim and I have agreed will be where we lock horns and compete man vs woman to see which of us can beat the other, and more importantly in my case, beat the cut off times. If ever you've wanted to enter a solo multisport event with the knowledge that someone will be finishing after you ... this could be your moment.
Also excited to see that Hobart Bushcare is running a few track building/maintenance days for the Tip Top Track near South Hobart and I'm hoping to get along to the first of these.
Still it's a good time of year to ride, and the photo above is from a recent weekend ride down around Southport Lagoon ... which is my way of reminding people that you don't need a race to go for a ride ...
There's a real summer smorgasbord of MTB events on offer over the next few months with Wildside MTB 2014, The Blue Dragon in February, LMBC/CCMBC's Super Sprung Spring Series and Dirt Devils Summer XC weekend series all kicking off.
For those who prefer their road riding, there's the Tour De Norfolk Plains (Feb 2), the Bridport Cycle Challenge (Feb 23), the Mt Wellington Challenge (March 2) and a swag of Audax rides on offer in the upcoming months, and don't forget that Bike Week (15-23 March) is also only a few short months away.
If you're not into racing, then you could check out CCMBC's Social Ride along the Forth River on the 19th of January, TBug has their usual interesing offering of social rides around Launceston, and there's a pretty active new facebook group Hobart MTB Rides which is offering up lots of social riding opportunities.
Finally, if you want to go off and do your own thing, trail notes for Mount Stronach, Mount Cameron and Youngtown Reserve have been added to tassietrails in the last month, as well as an update to the Meehan Ranges route notes and map to include the new Cliff Top trail opened up by the Hobart Trail Groomers.
If you can't find something in that lot to get you out on your bike, then I give up!
As always all the events that I can find are listed in the Events Calendar.
With Wildside MTB and the Blue Dragon done and dusted for 2014, the big MTB events are behind us for the summer, and it's time to enjoy the local events such as LMBC/CCMBC's Super Sprung Spring Series and the Dirt Devils Summer XC weekend series.
But don't get complacent: there's already details leaking out about November's Avantiplus Hellfire Cup, and I for one was pleased to see that the organisiers have recognised that a policy of "no fires, floods or plagues of locusts" might help encourage us back for a second bash at the cup.
As noted last month, there's also plenty coming up for the road cyclist including the Bridport Cycle Challenge (Feb 23), the Mt Wellington Challenge (March 2), the New Horizons Western Tiers Cycle Challenge (Mar 30) and a swag of Audax rides.
Finally don't forget that Bike Week (15-23 March) is also fast coming up, with my own Acton MTBNav on offer on Saturday March 22. If you've ever wanted a brilliant chance to explore some lesser known sections of the Tangara Trail and South Arm and try something new, then put the date in your diary now.
As always all the events that I can find are listed in the Events Calendar.
The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Michelle O’Byrne, today announced funding of $100,000 to help connect Rocherlea and Inveresk to Launceston’s city-wide cycling network.
The upgrade is part of the $511,000 committed by the Tasmanian Government in 2013, from the Trails and Bikeways Program.
“The $100,000 grant to Launceston City Council will allow it to complete an eight-kilometre bike and walking trail for recreational users and commuters,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“This is also the first section of the proposed 135-kilometre Launceston/North East Rail Trail, which would be a huge recreation, tourism and economic asset for Northern Tasmania.”
Ms O’Byrne also announced $31,000 to complete the West Tamar Trail between Kings Bridge and Tailrace Park and $100,000 for Break O’Day Council for the Blue Tier Mountain Bike Trail.
The Blue Tier project involves 40 kilometres of trails, and forms part of the $1.4 million North-East Mountain Bike Development Project.
“The North East Mountain Bike Development Project is expected to provide significant economic and social benefits to the North East community through the large number of visitors it will generate.
“Since its inception in 2008-09, the Trails and Bikeways Program has leveraged around $13 million worth of development projects across Tasmania, resulting in more than 150 kilometres of tracks.”
As well as providing positive economic outcomes, the Trails and Bikeways Program is helping Tasmanians participate in sport, recreation and physical activity.
“The number of Tasmanians exercising three or more times a week is, for the first time, above the national average,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“That puts Tasmania equal second with Western Australia, only behind the ACT in terms of regular physical activity.”
The inaugural Cranky Penguin's been and gone (what an awesome event), and with November barely begun those of us down south have already had the chance to go out and play in the mud at the Raw Challenge.
But put that behind you because the count down clock is on as we head towards the big one this month ... yep, the Hellfire Cup is finally just weeks away.
But don't skip past November and collect $200 just because you want to get to the Hellfire. in between now and then there is a smorgasboard of events including LMBC's 6 Hour Enduro, Dirt Devils Big Hobart Network Ride, BikeTas's Channel Ride, TBUGs' Ben Lomond Ride, Audax's "I Can Ride 100 Miles" and heck there's even some downhill madness for those inclined that (strange) way.
But that's not all (Sorry, no free set of steak knives) but I can suggest the Tasmanian Audax riding season which has started for those interested in some longer distance rides (like up to 1,200kms and that's not a misprint) and Launceston Mountain Bike Club have kicked off their AvantiPlus Twilight Races which runs from now right through to March.
On the multisport scene, the Tullah Challenge is this weekend (9th), and dates for the Summer Survival (March 1), The Strategic Multisport Challenge (Roche's Beach 29 March) and the Launceston Cataract Gorge Challenge (October 26) have all been carved into the calendar for next year.
For the second month in a row, the question seems to be what not to do, rather than what to do.
Oh sweet heaven, let's ride.
PS. If you missed out entry to the Hellfire Cup, or if, unlike me, you believe that you can finish the Hellfire Cup and still have legs to ride, don't forget that the Geard Cycles Giant 275 4Hr Enduro is on December 1. Just thought I'd mention that as it will likely be run and won before I put out the December update.
Check out the Calendar for more details on anything above.