There will be few mountain bikes under the Christmas tree this season, and after a few plates of leftovers, a foray at the Inverell’s relatively new trail park could be the ticket for families in need of exercise.
After what has been described as thousands of hours put in by volunteers to clear and construct one, three and five kilometre trail loops, the Inverell Mountain Bike Park is complete, and inviting regional enthusiasts to get on their wheeled steeds have have a go.
“It is a fantastic park to ride,” Inverell Mountain Bike Club member Ian Rees said.
Safe, and fenced, with no motorised vehicles, walkers or runners allowed, the park offers a variety of easy to challenging routes for cyclists. Stage one of the park’s signage has been installed, outlining the park conditions and rules, native flora protection, with a brand-new user’s guide and a colour-coded direction track, with arrows and loop names.
It doesn’t matter how much wet weather we get, it’s still a useable facility.
“Now we have two tracks, which consists of three loops to choose from,” Ian said. “The first is a short, one kilometre Wombat ramble. This is a green coded track for the beginner and kids.”
He said anybody with moderate fitness and mechanically sound bike and helmet can traverse the longer, intermediate trails. Three sections offer a challenge to work toward, with steep inclines and descents which can be navigated on foot for the less experienced.
Club member Mick Hoynes said the beauty of the Inverell park, unlike other areas in the district where a bit of rain makes a track impassable, is its all-weather access.
“Where our park is out there, it doesn’t matter how much wet weather we get, it’s still a useable facility,” he said. The park can be accessed safely by bicycle on the Inverell Gilgai track, which runs parallel to Thunderbolt’s Way.
Anybody riding the park trails must have a Mountain Bike Australia (MtBA) license for insurance purposes, but there is a one-time, free eight-week license available to all riders to get a taste of the activity. Application for the free license and information on annual licenses is available on www.mtba.asn.au/membership.
Meanwhile Tour de France champion Chris Froome will lead a strong field in a new Australia Day cycling race to be held on Melbourne's Formula One circuit.
The three-time Tour winner will lead Team Sky in the Towards Zero Race Melbourne event on the Albert Park circuit.
The January 26 men's and women's races will lead into the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong on the weekend of January 28-29.
The Albert Park race will be a kermesse, or street circuit event.