Network of tracks boon for club, city

Mountain Biking Otago member Hamish Seaton and Mountain Biking Otago president Kristy Booth, and...
Mountain Biking Otago member Hamish Seaton and Mountain Biking Otago president Kristy Booth, and dogs Whisky and Cocoa, at a track at Wakari Creek yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Coming into Christmas and we are all hanging out for presents.

But Mountain Biking Otago has given the city of Dunedin a present over the past 20 years which is worth more than a million dollars and provided its citizens with an outlet for healthy activities.

Over the past two decades, Mountain Biking Otago has built more than 50km of tracks in the city.

On an economic basis those tracks would have cost $1.4 million if they had been built commercially.

But through the hard work of club members, financial input from trusts and fundraising, and using labour provided by the Corrections Department, the cost to the ratepayer has been minimal.

The tracks were used for the Three Peaks Enduro event held in Dunedin over the weekend which attracted riders from all over the country and overseas.

Mountain Biking Otago member Hamish Seaton, one of the main organisers involved in the track-building, said the Three Peaks Enduro had been an example of the success of the tracks.

``You've got 200 riders and then all the support crew, so that numbers 400, probably, and they are all spending money and time in Dunedin,'' he said.

The city has also hosted national championships and schools events.

``We have now got a great range of tracks, from the real easy to the extreme. And they are free for all to use. They are not just for club members.''

Seaton said a counterat Wakari Creek at one of the easy tracks, right by the roadside, showed it was used by at least 100 riders a day.

``A lot of people have mountain bikes but are not members of our club, but they can still get out and ride. We don't mind that as long as they are using the tracks and having a good time.''

The club had just finished work on tracks in the Nicols Creek area, which took about 10,000 man-hours.

Just over half of that labour was supplied by the Corrections Department, while the rest was through hard-working members of the club.

Funding came through running events such as a 12-hour race in Naseby and then applying to various trusts.

Seaton said the work through the years led to better knowledge of building tracks and where they would work.

The tracks could be, by and large, shared with walkers and runners, and he did not want them to be exclusively used just by bikers. The only exception was at downhill tracks which were clearly marked being for downhill riders only.

There are tracks taking in Whare Flat, Nicols Creek, Wakari Creek, Forrester Park/Bethunes Gully and Signal Hill. The tracks are on council land or City Forests Ltd land.

Club members would meet Dunedin City Council staff over the next couple of weeks to update them about the tracks.

Seaton said the council was supportive of the club's work as it encouraged its citizens to get out and be active.


Nice response to the negative nellies who complain about everything and never do anything constructive...

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