Getting Ready for the Mountain Bike Trails in Australia
Getting dirty close to home: MTB trails within an hour of Australian capital cities
Mountain biking conjures up visions of remote wilderness, rugged beauty and epic trails - all things we have here in the Land of Oz in spades. Most people, however, live in cities and the small issues of work, partners, kids, money or inspiration do not allow them the luxury of multi day MTB expeditions.
Luckily there are some ripping trails within easy striking distance of all Australian capital cities. We have put together a great list of the best Mountain Biking trails close to the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth that will help you get started.
But first, if you are just beginning to venture into this world of dirt, there are a few important things to consider before hitting the trails.
Are Bikes Welcome?
There are all manner of places to ride around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth - both groomed mountain bike parks and various public trails.
Firstly though, check that riding is legal in your chosen location. Some places do not welcome bikes and some areas are multi use or one way, so it pays to make sure where you are is a fine place to be. Being in the wrong spot at best will damage the reputation of the sport, and restrict access to trails in the future, and worse could see you face to face with half a ton of frightened horse, causing despair to all concerned.
Know Your Route
When you do head off, know roughly where you plan to ride. The magic of the wide world of web can provide you with maps, and most areas will have access to electronic maps using a screen based product, so work out a route and know your boundaries – for example, “if I cross this major road I have left the park and am now AWOL”, or “crossing a fence to the south will put me in private property and make people grumpy.” Maps can also provide an escape route, as in, “now I’m really tired but I can see an easy road back to the car just over the hill to the right, let’s go home for margaritas and lie about how rugged we are”.
Many MTB parks are well signposted, but don’t always expect this to be the case. In addition, there are always those mystery tracks that beckon, and that’s part of the fun too.
Mountain biking is one sport that can take longer than planned. The trail may be harder / slower / more frightening than you think, you may explore further than anticipated, there could be a mechanical issue, or someone may choose to step off their bike at speed and damage their person. It’s wise to be prepared for these eventualities, and plan to be out for longer than you think.
Dress for the occasion, and have clothing you might need in the future – raincoat, jumper and so on. Your clothing does not have to be technical, and there is no need to be a lycra lizard, but padded pants, either on the outside or under a baggy short, are advisable. They help with the bumps of a rough track, and provide support and padding for both men and women should the seat decide to… go places inadvertently. As it were.
Hydration packs are a wonderful way of carrying plentiful water, and also allow the carriage of extra items – some food, relevant clothing, sunscreen, as well as a phone, first aid, (or at least something clean to plug a leak), and some lights if your planned time of finish is within an hour or so of sunset.
First aid does not just apply to the brave and bold punters on the ride, and sometimes bikes need a little help too. As a minimum you will need a spare tube of the right size and valve configuration, some way of inflating the tube that is not your lungs, tyre levers and a multitool.
Take a Mate
One of the best things to take riding, especially as you start out or explore a new area is a friend. Good to share fun times with, great for back up, and an aid to constructing improbable stories. Take your buddy, take your brain, take care and you will be a long way forward in the having a good day stakes.
Mountain Biking in Australia
Mountain biking is growing in popularity, and more trails are being put in as councils and governments realise the health and economic benefits of attracting cyclists to their area. In addition, even modestly priced bikes provide a level of performance undreamed of twenty five or thirty years ago when Keith Bontrager and Tom Ritchey et al were howling down hills in Marin County thinking “This might be the basis of a sport we’ve got here.” Consequently there are more opportunities than ever for the new mountain biker to get involved in the sport.
There are also a range of worthwhile courses out there for beginners, women only, racers, kids and more which are a great way to gain greater skills than you currently have. If you think this is a pastime for you, think about a course to fast track your knowledge base, rather than learning by trial and error.
Of course if you don’t have one, you will need a mountain bike, or you might like a newer or better bike, and for this you can speak to your nearest Reid dealer about a steed that might be right for you or check out our great range of mountain bikes for sale online. Now get off the interweb and go riding.
If you're ready for adventure check out even more MTB Trails around Australia