Sanders Reserve MTB Trails, Auckland
North Shore park caters for riders
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Sanders Road Reserve will offer a wide range of mountain bike tracks, from the gentle recreational loop for beginners to the Pohutukawa, Totara, Kowhai and Manuka loops for intermediates.
Children can build their confidence on a soft surface designed to challenge their skills with hilly terrain, while advanced cyclists can take on heartpumping steeper tracks.
Next to the children's track is Sanders Reserve Visitor Centre.
Families can bring a picnic and enjoy exceptional views across the upper harbour and beyond to Whenuapai Airbase. Or you may prefer watching beginner horse riders trot along 3km of trails.
In the south-eastern section, dogs can run free in a contained area.
OK, so that is the lovey dovey tune you will get from the Council websites, but can someone tell me who designed these MTB trails? 'Cos they were either very blind or very drunk. Maybe both.
Or perhaps it was just that no real riders were consulted. On an open paddock area there are around 15km of trail weaving around, but what do we get? Mainly incredibly steep downhills for 10 to 30 metres with right angle hairpins that lead to incredibly steep uphills!!! Our review crew can ride almost anything and admittedly they did get around most of it with the help of their sharp skills, granny gear and a ton of effort. They've dropped some nice big rocks on tricky chicanes just to smash either your pedal, your derailleur or maybe just your face if you get it just right. And get this: they have built quite a lot of doubles, but most of them are on uphills!!! Ye gads Len, what gives!?!?
A good workout maybe, but certainly not a good ride. What an incredible shame to see all this money go towards some council owned MTB trails that are an abject failure!
We have it on good authority that the Auckland MTB Club are trying to make contact to see if we can sort this mess out. Because this much touted trail network has only served to strengthen the laughter and ridicule that Auckland riders endure over their local trails from the lucky people of the Central North Island (and just about every other main centre which all seem to have sorted it).
Stay tuned for updates.
Flash - Ideal for a 'designed' mountain bike park is having the parking smack in the middle. They have done that at Sanders, complete with a nicely designed visitors centre. After checking out the concise map, you can even view most of the trails from this high vantage point.
Rooted - there are a couple of nice little beaches at the far pennisula accessed via a great rooty section. However this is walkers only, but the signage for that is positioned at only one of the access points so some bikers may accidently drop in. Either way, the pennisula is a fine spot for taking in the view and seeing the various birdlife that frequent this estuary.
Spaghetti- there's nothing wrong with tight weaving trails in a confined area, the closeby 'Royal' Albany MTB Trails prove that. But the Kennetts Brothers' MTB Bible "Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Trails" are right on the nail with their descriptions of the Sanders Reserve trails: "...feel like they were designed by a blindfolded giant who chucked a bucket-load of fettucini on the ground, then laid some gravel over the top. They are super tight and twisty, with zero flow".
Junior NASCAR - one feature that looks to be a success right from the start is the Junior Loops. Nice and easy for little Jimmy and Jane to ride and ride on their little bikes. Yeah!
Pondy- aside from the nice views around the coastal rim of the park, there are some nice sights in the middle too.
Visiting Granny- the steepness of the mid-field will either see you hard on the brakes or down visiting granny gear for a tough slog up. Tired of the climb? No problem, it will be over in 10 metres!
Ah, Riverhead - we could be wrong, but isn't that the sweet ride of Riverhead Forest across the water there?
Super Signage - well at least the council does know how to put together nice signage. You can't really get lost in this park as it is surrounded mainly by water. Just head on out and see how much of it you can ride.
Big Tree, Little Boy - cyclewaynewzealand.co.nz trail reviewer Olie Pinion looked on the bright side of things: some of the trails were nice and any ride is better than no ride. But we do note he hasn't been back since this day!
Park right up the top of the park at the flash Visitors Center.
View Sanders Reserve in a larger map