'It's opened a few eyes': Trail starts Stromlo mountain biking revival
Advertisement

'It's opened a few eyes': Trail starts Stromlo mountain biking revival

Mountain bikers have hand-built a new trail at Stromlo Forest Park as they look to kick-start a return to the venue's glory days as a "mountain bike Mecca", while the ACT government has announced funding for a new mountain bike trail network.

After The Canberra Times reported on mountain bikers' concerns that Stromlo had fallen off the radar as a world-class facility after hosting world championship events a decade ago, volunteers were given approval last month to build a "raw and natural" trail under the guidance of track development specialists Makin Trax.

Stromlo Forest Park manager Jeff van Aalst, Canberra Off-Road Cyclists vice president Darren Stewart with mountain biker and volunteer trail builder Ryan Walsch at Three Amigos, a new trail.

Stromlo Forest Park manager Jeff van Aalst, Canberra Off-Road Cyclists vice president Darren Stewart with mountain biker and volunteer trail builder Ryan Walsch at Three Amigos, a new trail.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

The new trail, Three Amigos, is about 750 metres long and made its debut in the 2018 National Enduro Cup.

Josh Kentwell, who helped build the trail, said the feedback from riders at the National Enduro Cup was overwhelmingly positive.

Advertisement

"I've ridden it and I love it," Mr Kentwell said.

Loading

"More people are wanting these raw and natural trails, and I think it's opened a few people's eyes to the fact that you don't have to build stereotypical trails."

Mr Kentwell said he hoped volunteers would get permission from Stromlo Forest Park, which is managed by the ACT government, to put in another one or two trails over summer.

He was one of three mountain bikers who started a petition calling on the territory government to fund more mountain bike trails in Canberra.

"Everywhere you look, there's government funding getting right behind mountain biking," Mr Kentwell said, pointing to the NSW government's announcement of $450,000 for improved mountain bike trails in Awaba, on the state's central coast.

"It doesn't even have to be targeted at Stromlo; just anywhere in Canberra."

In response to questions from The Sunday Canberra Times, an ACT government spokeswoman said the government had committed $374,000 over the next two years to undertake consultation, planning and design on a new mountain bike trail network for Canberra.

The spokeswoman said the new network would expand on existing key mountain bike destinations in Canberra, while about $50,000 would also be spent this year on improving trails at Stromlo Forest Park.

Makin Trax managing director Darren Stewart praised the efforts of the volunteers and said he hoped Three Amigos would be the first of many hand-built trails.

"We've identified an area at Stromlo Forest Park that might be set aside for volunteer-led trails," Mr Stewart said.

Mr Stewart, who is also Canberra Off-Road Cyclists club vice-president, said it wasn't a lack of effort that had made it difficult to advance Stromlo Forest Park's trails.

He said the club planned to continue proposing new trails and lobbying the ACT government for more funding for mountain biking.

Stromlo Forest Park manager Jeff van Aalst said the new trail was proof the ACT government was willing to act on riders' concerns.

"We were happy to listen to them and try and get them what they wanted," Mr van Aalst said.

"[The new trail] has already been used for a national enduro race and it's the style of trail [riders] want to see in the park these days."

Blake Foden is a reporter at the Sunday Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Most Viewed in National

Loading
Advertisement