You are hereForums / By Discipline / Mountain (off road) / By Location / Australia / NSW / number of downhill trails

number of downhill trails

bigred666's picture

By bigred666 - Posted on 16 February 2013

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

why arent there more legal downhill trails? is it because of costing or something?

fwoark's picture

Generally, land managers see downhill as having a higher liability risk than xc trails. There is also the perception that DH trails have a greater maitence requirement to sediment control issues.

From a participation perspective, DH is a long way behind recreational XC. When there's only limited funds available, it makes sense to target the largest user base. That said, I think we're going to see a move towards legal enduro (all mountain) trails in the future. It may not be pure DH, but its the next best thing.

bigred666's picture

how long would you estimate until we see more all mountain type stuff close to newcastle/central coast?

Lenny_GTA's picture

Its slowly coming, you can see the way new legal trails are becoming more technical with features.

Have a search on youtube for the Old Mans Valley trails just built by Hornsby Council. Awesome example of building a trail network to suit everyone.

flubberghusted's picture

You already got these two as DH trails up near your area.
I know its just two but thats more than anything Sydney metro has...

bigred666's picture

ridden them both and loved them. was hornsby the place that was opened recently?

fwoark's picture

One more point, new trails do not happen without an active and organised user group. If there's not enough people willing to put their hands up and put in the hard yards, both physically and, more importantly, engaging with the land managers, then new trails will always remain a pipe dream.

The amount of work both the HMBA and those behind the GTA went through before they could pick up a shovel is / was staggering.

Lenny_GTA's picture

Exactly, it took the GTA about 8 years to pick up a shovel and HMBA has a huge amount of environmental processes to run trough before a new trail can be built.

Its funny, but when the Glenrock thing was really taking off, I was predominantly a DH rider, but getting the support of the riding community was tough. It is very hard to advocate for something when you don't have an active community behind you. Lots of people want a particular style of trail but unfortunately the numbers of people who are willing to give up there free (and riding time) to make trails happen is very small. Personally, I haven't given up on some form of inner city DH/FR type trail. The opportunities on public land (NP, Council, etc) is pretty limited though.

Something I find a shame though is that the bulk of the load of mtb access locally is being taken up by Glenrock. During the Plan of Management process NCC were always stating they wanted to assist by developing Jesmond. Whenever a formal request goes to them, well they shut the door. Hasn't stopped them wanting to promote events in glenrock though. Increased usage has put stress on the trails which is why I have my fingers crossed munibung will happen. DH wise, I would love to see Jesmond properly formalised and it is something that HMBA has spoken about.

As fwaok says though, you need committed people to make it happen. I know of a few areas locally that the land managers want to develop, but the first step is making sure there is a viable user group committed to the care of the network. If the opportunity comes up though, I'll be throwing my hat in the ring at munibung.

browny's picture

I'm not involved in DH and have nothing to do with the scene so I could be talking from my arse but I think one of the problems is the demographic of XC vs 'downhill'

XC captures a very wide user base and I also think a lot of the advocacy side tends to come from the more mature guys who have been around the sport for a while. Everyone from little kids to crusty old guys use Glenrock and turn up to the build days.

DH on the other hand seems to have a lot more churn. Lot of young guys who get other interests or older blokes who realise they are no longer cut out for the high impact and transition to XC. So, much harder to pin down a consistent core of users who can go the distance on the advocacy front, which could be years.

The attempts I've seen to drum up more DH support have fallen pretty flat, some interest for a few weeks but it peters out pretty quick. Realistically no one is going to spend 11ty billion hours doing the advocacy and then building a trail just for the hell of it.

Simon's picture

As president of TrailCare and based in the Northern Beaches my experience has been:

Demographics are not too different. The DH and FR rigs of today just did not exist when many of the older riders got into riding. We are all aging and sticking with it, perhaps not at race level but definitely at a social FR/DH level. Advancements in technology are making it easier to stick with it. A DH is no longer a hard tail with 3" of elastomer hell.

For those with young families, and as with DJ, DR/FR provides a fun viable riding option to have some technical fun in a short space of time. When tracks are accessible it is viable to go for a 1/2 to 1 hour session. For me this style of riding has great appeal coming from a snowboard and wakeboarding background.

At Oxy for example where an unofficial track has existed for 30 plus years there is a very strong community of riders. People from all income levels and backgrounds from their teens to 60's hit it up, hang out and help out with track work. There are not many recreational or sporting activities where this occurs.

This community of riders, while mainly FR focused, has provided a disproportionate amount of support for our advocacy efforts for XC than many XC riders. We know that any win for riding is a win for all, the key thing is unity and we had to get beyond the early finger pointing between disciplines for historical issues. Some of our proposals have been written by a FRer and DJer that will probably never ride the XC loops he documented.

Our key strategy in hitting up National Parks from 2008 was to push as hard as we could for solutions for all riders and pool our collective skill sets. This has seen us having ongoing meetings with the last 3 environment ministers and policy advisers during the development of the 2011 NPWS Mountain Bike Policy and Strategy with more scheduled in the next few weeks.

This achieved the intended outcome of providing clarity on where it would be preferential to accomodate various disciplines and also set clear policy and direction from a respected environmental manager for other State and Local Government land managers.

Many of us did not expect to get DH/FR tracks in national parks but lobbied for all and at leastr got AM included for parks.

Councils and State government are now looking at formal DH and FR. We are working on formal DH in the Northern Beaches and have been establishing agreements bewtween land managers.

Within the last couple of weeks we also met the State Finance Minister regarding a proposal that he has sign off for to create a mountain bike park called Bare Creek in Belrose. This is going through the approval process. This has followed from at least 5 years of effort by an XC and DH rider. We hope to create several FR lines catering for all levels and an XC race loop that incorporates a beginner gravity FR flow segment plus skills and trials area.

I think the key difference is that many FR or DH areas have not been able to operate without being shutdown or for long enough to establish communties strong enough to cope with what is at times the mental torture of advocacy efforts.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Best Mountain Bike