In August 2010, a group of local mountain bike enthusiasts started the ‘Tip Riders’ mountain bike club to represent mountain biking in the Manning-Great Lakes area. Chrissy Jones found out all about the group from Club President, Mark Drury.
Why form a mountain bike club in the first place, Mark?
We really wanted to promote mountain biking in this area, to not only increase the profile of our tracks to riders from outside the area that are looking for fantastic riding tracks, but to also increase the number of riders participating in the sport (particularly female riders and families).
The club has been a great thing for the local area. Tell us about that …
We’re really seeing the benefits of forming the club now. We have about a dozen female riders who regularly ride together and who have participated in training days with a Cycling Australia instructor. This has really given them the confidence to enjoy riding. I’m sure they will tell you the social aspect of mountain biking is great, as well as just enjoying being in the bush and seeing what nature has to offer us here.
The club has also noticed the benefit to the local community through tourism specifically related to mountain biking in the area. Over the Christmas holidays, we met a number of families riding on the Kiwarrak State Forest tracks that were staying in Forster, Harrington, Old Bar and Taree to ride our mountain bike tracks, in preference to holidays that they had normally taken each year to other destinations.
We’re pretty chuffed that the work of our club is now starting to benefit the whole community, with people coming here from Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Sydney and Newcastle. We also regularly have groups of riders from those areas taking day trips to Kiwarrak to ride the tracks.
Tell us about your social rides…
Primarily we ride in Kiwarrak State Forest, with over 40 km of single track and park outside the Tip on The Bucketts Way between Taree South and Tinonee. The trailhead is straight across The Bucketts Way from the grassed parking area.
Social rides are usually held in Kiwarrak State Forest at:
9.30am Monday (ladies only)
5pm Wednesday (bring lights)
2pm Saturday (ladies only)
and 2pm Sunday afternoon rides are becoming popular. Although, it is best to check whether anyone is riding before venturing out at these times.
Bourke’s Bicycles in Taree (215 Victoria Street) is a good starting point before heading into the forest, with the staff happy to advise on possible rides. While you are there, pick up a copy of the Kiwarrak State Forest Trail Map (view at: http://goo.gl/PYu8j)
Is membership open to all?
There are three types of membership: senior, junior and social.
Seniors’ membership (19 years of age and over) is a $20 club fee plus a payment of $90 to MTBA – Mountain Bike Australia. This will allow the member to race in all club races and other MTBA affiliated races at other clubs. The member will also have certain insurance coverage.
Juniors’ membership is for 18 years of age and under. There is a $10 club fee plus $65 for MTBA. You receive the same privileges as seniors for racing and insurance.
Social membership (any age) is for those members who do not wish to race but ride socially and would like to support the club and receive insurance benefits as a race marshall. There is a $10 club fee plus $45 to go to MTBA. If you wish to race at our club races or at another MTBA affiliated club, you need to pay $5 per race.
When is your next ride, and what’s the format?
Rain or shine, the next ride will be on Saturday 11 February at 16.00 hours in the Kiwarrak State Forest, with the meeting point at Lantana Crossing Road. Our meeting times are ‘ready to ride’, so if people need time to prepare equipment, we ask them to arrive a few minutes earlier. Duration of the ride is 1.5 hours.
You can enter as an individual, or enter as a team of 2 or 3 to see how many laps you can get out in 90 minutes. Those riders who want a format that is more like a cross country race will enjoy this just as much as those who don’t think they can ride for 90 minutes (and want to share the load with one or two others).
Hopefully we will have some new race timing software that we’ll be trying out for this race, so we will have lap times for individuals and team riders. If it’s a hot day, people can leave drinks at the transition area to collect on the way through – so they can remain well hydrated.
Remember that we give recognition to the faster riders, but randomly give prizes away for all entrants.
As always, thanks goes to Bourke’s Bicycles Taree, Hogs Breath Café Forster, Manning Valley Free Range Eggs, Mackie Electrics, and Bruce Pain – RFS for their continued assistance in holding these races.
How can we get involved with Tip Riders, and what’s the future aim of the club?
The club holds monthly club participation events on different ‘loops’ within the Kiwarrak State Forest, to give riders of all levels opportunities to be involved in the sport. For riders who would like to venture out but are intimidated by the thought of getting lost in the forest, the club has a number of coloured loops so you don’t lose your way. Just park at the Bucketts Way Tip entrance (hence the name Tip Riders) and walk your bike across the road to the signs.
We now have a Special Purpose Permit with State Forests of NSW. This will allow us to hold orientation days, club races, a juniors program and larger races in 2012.
Ultimately, Manning-Great Lakes Tip Riders aims to liaise with Great Lakes and Greater Taree City Council to promote mountain biking in Kiwarrak State Forest and put the region on the map as a mountain bike holiday destination for both racing and social riding.
For further information on the club, or to add your name to a mailing list to keep up to date with all the coming events the club has to offer, contact Bourke’s Bicycles Taree or see www.mgltipriders.asn.au