Wheel excitement over bike tracks
It’s mid-school holidays and Wollongong’s newest bike tracks are proving a real boredom buster.
Just before Christmas, Wollongong City Council opened three new local bike tracks in Bulli, Horsley and Fairy Meadow.
The dirt tracks were built near existing illegal bike trails and offer young riders the chance to improve their skills in their local community.
The expertise of companies like Dirt Art and Iconic Trails are used by Council for developing and building the tracks, and they are constructed from dirt that’s classified under EPA guidelines as being free from building and demolition waste. Long-term, it’s hoped a Bushcare group-type model will support passionate locals to lead their the ongoing maintenance of their local track.
“It is so positive to see these enthusiastic bike riders from across our community getting out and exploring these tracks,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.
“Young people are outside, away from devices and pushing themselves in a fun and exciting way to develop their riding skills. In addition, in these times of COVID pandemic restrictions, cycling is a safer outdoor activity that lessons the risk of infection, but means you can hang with friends and have a great time.
“These local bike tracks are a key part of our cycling focus as a UCI Bike City. They support skills development and social interaction in a safe and constructive way. They are also being built in or near areas where enthusiastic riders are already building illegal trails that can be dangerous for riders or damage sensitive plant life.
“This is a great project with so many real positive elements to it. I think it’s a real win for our community – and it’s clear our young riders do too.’’
This year, in addition to Council staff monitoring the tracks and their usage to maintain safety, we will look to carry our further landscaping on the sites. We continue to welcome and take onboard to community feedback for further tweaks and refinements to the four sites. We also have plans to bring the tracks’ designers back to the sites to work with users on modifications and updates, and also intend to develop more suburban trails in late 2022.
“I hope people continue to use the tracks over the next few few weeks of school holidays and throughout the year,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“They can get pretty busy and I encourage everyone using them to be mindful of other users’ and their skill level, and to leave the tracks for riding – not for walking on or digging around – and remember if it’s raining or has recently been raining that they need some time to dry out.’’
Cr Bradbery said young people might also be interested to head to the tracks at Cringila Hills next Wednesday 19 January for an opportunity to explore the tracks and meet Council’s Youth Services team.
Staff will be at the Park from 1pm, as part of an initiative to be out and about in the community during school holidays. Last week, they were at Harry Graham Park, in Figtree.
“It’s an exciting time for cycling in our city and we’re focussed on supporting everything cycling,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“Later this year, we’ll be welcoming some of the world’s top riders for the Wollongong UCI Road World Championships and this is sure to further inspire our community members to get out and ride their bicycles.’’
Track Fast Facts
- You’ll find the four tracks at Bulli Park, Bulli, Anama Street Reserve, Fairy Meadow, Harry Graham Park, West Wollongong and Dimond Bros Reserve, Horsley.
- The tracks are designed to suit riders of different levels – check out the details on Council’s website to find the track that best suits your skillset.
- We consult the experts at companies like Dirt Art and Iconic Trails when designing the tracks to make sure they’re suitable to their locations and offer a range of riding opportunities.
- The first track at Figtree’s Harry Graham Park was built in late 2020. This hugely successful trial project saw Council work closely with young people and their families to design and build a track that would allow young riders the chance to push their skills in a natural environment rather than using illegal trails, which were being built along the creek corridor.
- These tracks are made from dirt that meets the EPA Guidelines for clean fill and they can get very muddy. It’s best to avoid riding the tracks when its wet so they’re not damaged.
- When you’re using the track, be mindful of other users, give way to one another and allow other riders the opportunity to safely finish their run, wear a helmet and don’t forget a full water bottle as riding can be thirsty work.