Canberra was once Australia’s mountain biking capital, but local mountain biking clubs believe the nation’s capital has slowly fallen off the radar as other destinations vie for the mantle.
One of the largest mountain bike clubs in Australia, Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC), said Canberra was regarded as the destination for mountain biking across the nation and showed the rest of the country “how it can and could be done”.
CORC president Matt Battye believes the Government’s lack of maintenance across the ACT’s venues meant the nation’s capital had lost its illustrious status.
“If you look at the history and the expertise of mountain biking in all forms, Canberra very much led the way,” Battye told Region Media. “But over the last 5 to 10 years, plenty of places around the country are taking what the Canberra region showed and gone ahead with leaps and bounds.
“With these things, its all about the effort and the resources being maintained.
“One-off impetus is really good but it is about maintaining whatever is built or whatever programs are put in place.”
Battye still believes that Canberra is home to the best mountain biking trails but said facilities need to keep evolving and improving.
“I don’t think there is anywhere that quite matches the infrastructure and the variability that we have but the sport has evolved a lot,” he said. “But look at what people were riding on 10-15 years ago compared to today and that is going to change drastically when e-bikes take off as well.
“So our trail design, terrain and facilities need to keep evolving and keep improving on the great work that has been done in the past.”
In March, the ACT Government revealed its plans to make Canberra the mountain biking capital with an ‘iconic’ trail network that will traverse across the territory. CORC has been in talks with the ACT Government on it’s “best of Canberra mountain bike experience” and said they are happy to see the government take their concerns seriously.
“It is exciting that the ACT Government has renewed its focus and is making this a priority,” Battye said. “We are excited that they are not just announcing this but are starting to engage with the community.”
ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman is urging enthusiasts to provide input as they develop their sustainable trail design.
“I’m encouraging trail users and mountain biking groups to have their say in a series of workshops across Canberra in July and August,” Mr Gentleman said. “Together, we can make Canberra the best mountain biking destination in the country.
“The workshops will build on what we have heard so far and offer a chance to give feedback on early concepts proposed by Canberra’s mountain bike community.
“Canberra has a strong and growing mountain biking culture and this project will help bring more tourism, visitors and jobs to our city.”
Northside mountain bike experience workshop
Ainslie Football & Social Club
30 July from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Southside mountain bike experience workshop
Weston Creek Labor Club
31 July from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm
To find out more details about the workshops and to have your say, click here.