- Project Officer, Greater Hobart Mountain Biking Masterplan, Hobart City Council
To the Hobart City Council, Wellington Park Management Trust, the Steering and Working Committees of the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan and to the Master Plan Project Officer:
We the undersigned, ask that you recognize the following facts concerning the discipline of downhill mountain biking and consequently the support for appropriate levels of funding and access to trails and infrastructure that these facts entail.
Gravity fed riding is a large and growing segment of the mountain biking community. It is an internationally recognized sport, which is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) with a well-supported World Cup and World Championship series hosted globally every year. Australian teams and riders continue to rank consistently amongst the world’s best. Major sponsorships from multinational corporations including Nissan, Subaru and Red Bull, channel millions of dollars into local communities. Gravity fed biking develops physical and mental strength and agility in the pursuit of excellence. It is increasingly practiced and enjoyed recreationally around the world by people of all ages and genders. Providing legitimate access and well-designed trails in areas frequented by riders has successfully dispelled negative perceptions of this sport and improved relations between diverse user groups.
Drawing on well known international examples such as Queenstown (NZ), the province of British Columbia (CAN), San Remo (ITA), Portes du Soleil and Morzine (FR) as well as successful Australian developments including Mitcham (SA), Mt Beauty (VIC), Mt Coot-tha (QLD) and Mt Stromlo (ACT), we ask that you recognize the unique opportunity Hobart and particularly Mt Wellington afford us to develop world-class gravity fed trails. An investment in building a world-class trail network for this discipline will provide opportunities for local employment, sporting, youth and community initiatives and tourism enterprises, as well as supporting the existing local market for bikes and accessories. Hobart has 8 specialty cycling shops selling downhill specific bikes. Considering Hobart’s business and private investment in the discipline, the existing infrastructure supporting gravity fed biking is a woefully inadequate and inefficient use of our unique environment.
Hobart’s unique landscape attracts visitors from around the world looking for a signature wilderness experience. Gravity fed riding is a niche that is being successfully explored by many discipline specific businesses. The documented benefits of recreational gravity fed riding include a more intelligent and connected community as well as long term savings in health and law and order expenses. For all these reasons and more, gravity fed riding is an important aspect of any balanced mountain bike development in the Greater Hobart Area.
• Sanction the sport of downhill mountain biking by establishing formally designated downhill routes constructed and graded for varying difficulties from expert to beginner on the slopes of Mt Wellington. We envision this will require the construction of at least one but possibly several, single purpose/single direction track(s) on Mt Wellington itself or in another area with suitable public road access and elevation.
• Formally petition the Cascade group for formal access to suitable parts of their land focusing on the inclusion of existing MTB infrastructure.
• Open up to bikes important linking sections of existing formal tracks in Wellington Park e.g. Radfords Track to Bracken Lane Fire Trail, Hunters Track, Lower Sawmill, Middle Track etc. Gravity fed access to junction cabin should be considered a high priority.
• Sanction suitable and existing informal tracks within Wellington Park.
• Provide for public shuttle access to Glenorchy and Clarence Bike parks. In respect to Glenorchy Bike Park, constructing a downhill connection from Big Bend to the start of the existing Tolosa Downhill would be the best outcome.
• Assist in formalizing and developing the infrastructure at the Lea Scout Centre.
• Develop all other informal trails/trail networks that may turn up in discovery and prove to be suitable from a land management/access/demand point of view.
• Investigate opportunities in the Waterworks Reserve/Ridgeway area. Consider development and further access to the Goat Hills area.
• Show special consideration for beginners and skills development in the design of new infrastructure. For example, fire road networks on the mountain could be modified to include skill sections/easy grade features without interrupting the flow of emergency and service vehicles.
• Recognize that correctly designed and constructed downhill trails will be popular with a range of users, and that correctly designed and constructed gravity trails will be as sustainable as equivalent cross-country mountain bike trail infrastructure.