Trails in Waitakere?
May 20th 2010
Story courtesy of Sophie Bond, The Aucklander 20th May 2010
Cyclists around Waitakere hope to convert a Ranui reserve into a mecca for two-wheeled activities. Sophie Bond steps onto the pedals and finds out more.
There's a murky stream containing old tyres and a tangle of pines, shrubs and weeds. It looks like a jungle but Jamie Till says it's just right for a planned mountain biking track.
"Right in here it's really good. It's relatively compact and not too steep. We could have a nice, tight, winding course along the hillside."
Mr Till, president of the recently formed Department of Cycling club in Waitakere, has been overseeing planning and funding applications for the proposed development.
"Waitakere City Council knew this funding round was coming up and asked the Department of Cycling to think about what could be done with this land, which was earmarked for recreational use," he says.
Te Rangi Hiroa council reserve in Ranui is already the site of Waitakere BMX club's track. The proposed upgrade includes building a bridge across the stream and clearing undergrowth to form mountain biking tracks. An empty paddock beside the existing car park could be adapted to fit more vehicles.
Mr Till says the Department of Cycling would like Waitakere to become known for its cycling facilities.
"There's no area out west that's dedicated to cycling, in particular mountain biking. And there's a huge catchment of potential users here."
He says the mountain bike course would be suitable for entry- to mid-level riders and be open to all users.
The Department of Cycling has joined other groups interested in the reserve to develop the cycle hub which is estimated will cost $250,000. It has applied for funding through city council's Leisure Facility Partnership Fund 2010/11.
The council says the Department of Cycling will need to keep working on the proposal's details before it is approved for the final stage of the funding process. It says a review group thought the cycle hub had great potential and would be an asset for the local and wider community.
Mr Till is optimistic the idea will come to fruition. "Hopefully, we can get started late this year. We'll get the club together for some working bees and start clearing this undergrowth."
Department of Cycling
The club was formed late 2008 to support a road cyclist and mountain biker community in Waitakere. It now has about 130 members and runs activities each week for all levels of ability. For more info, see: http://departmentofcycling.com