Ashley got the chance to pilot for recently retired Paralympic gold medalist Lindy Hou at the Vets meet on the weekend. This is the custom steel frame, dura ace tandem she raced on in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, in Oz team colours with Lindy and her pilot Toireasa’s names on it. We are wearing team-only kit from her sponsors Clarence St Cyclery.
As promised, a brief report on the Bruce Ridge consultation at Ainslie Football Club last night, attended by Greg, Tony and Ashley.
There were about 20-30 people present, the majority mountain bikers, but also a couple of conservation people and walkers/runners. Discussion was very amicable and everybody was willing and able to see each other’s point of view. At the end of the meeting there was unanimous agreement that we were going to embark on a 5 year “initiative” seeing the viable existing trails on the ridge consolidated and maintained. It was agreed that a community based management group made up of mountain bikers, conservation folks and others would work closely with government, parks and other bodies to oversee the initiative. So guys you can expect to be asked to do some weeding and be educated about rare orchids and grasses as well as doing some trail building!
A lot of topics came up. One issue was whether singletrack should be sole or dual use (i.e. bikes only or bikes + walkers and runners). People were pretty unanimous that we wanted dual use so no-one felt excluded. All agreed that rider/runner interactions on the ridge are in general friendly and mutually respectful, and we want to continue that spirit.
Another issue raised was whether trails should be two directional or unidirectional. Most agreed that we like Bruce because the trails can be ridden in either direction. Greg pointed out that some sections of trail should be one way however to stop erosion. Directing people to ride up rather than down switchbacks was agreed by all to be a good idea, especially since the formalisation of the trails, increase in popularity of mtbing, and loss of other trails (Majura and sparrow) will put ever more pressure on the ridge.
The existing downhill trail was agreed to be the most problematic in terms of erosion, and it seems likely that will be closed. There was support for the idea of a sustainable downhill trail, and the suggestion was that should be built on O’Connor ridge, which is already a more degraded environment than Bruce (it’s a former soil dump). But it’d have to be a pretty short trail!
There is currently 17km of singletrack on Bruce ridge, and the consensus was that people were happy with that level of coverage. The focus should now be on making those trails sustainable, e.g. by better design, putting in bridges over drainage points, and other consolidating measures. We can expect to see some trails closed down while they are being rehabilitated. No-one was in favour of using the ridge as a race venue, even for weekend club races. CORC agreed to that willingly.
There was some discussion of signposting. No doubt we’ll need some fairly large and detailed signs at the main entrance points to inform people about what’s happening re the 5 year initiative and to encourage them to ride responsibly and show people that bikers can understand and respect the conservation value of the area. One guy said he liked the informality of Bruce and too much high profile signage would detract from that. I tend to agree, but I think a balance can be struck by using more subtle signage within the ridge area.
3fidi got recognition at the meeting for having done the trail mapping. Greg, Tony and Ashley all spoke up at the meeting about various issues, so hopefully we won’t get left off the mailing list again!
Maybe Greg and Tony can comment on things I’ve forgotten.