For both road cyclists and mountain bikers the Australian Alps offers no shortage of options for those who love a challenge in an amazing environment. Tourism operators offer a wide range of organised activities and bike and gear hire. Information about those can be found at the National Park and region visitor centres.
No matter what kind of activities you enjoy in the Alps, you can minimise the impacts you have on the environment and other visitors by following some simple rules. Remember to stay on track and plan your trip.
Challenge yourself to leave as little trace of your visit as possible. Care for the Alps now - so they'll be just as wonderful in the future.
Mountain biking has really taken off in the Mt Bogong region. Dedicated mountain bike parks have sprung up with so many trails to choose from! Make time to visit Mt Beauty, Beechworth, Bright and Falls Creek. The Rail Trail is a more sedate option to see the area on two wheels. Or for the more punishing option, bring your road bike and take on the fabled Alpine Classic.
Once the snow melts at Mt Buller, pack the skis and snowboard away and dust off the mountain bike. Whether downhill or cross-country, there is plenty to keep you occupied!
Thredbo and Jindabyne have long been known as a mountain biking mecca in the summer. Strap on your body armour and tackle one of Australia's longest downhill mountain bike trails - the legendary Cannonball Run. Road cycling and off-road touring is also a popular past time in this area.
Taken from Alps news #42.
In Victoria's Bright, tracks have been successfully shared by bush walkers bike riders for as long as anyone can remember.
When asked who the majority of bike riders in the mountains are, the director of the Australian branch of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), Nic Bowman, keeps it simple. "They're bushwalkers who happen to ride bikes."
Nic recently shared the association's perspective with parks managers at the June operational meeting, the aim being to gain a greater understanding all round of the common ground to be built upon. Nic is the first to agree that bike riding in natural areas has been a hot topic for some years now, one that many land managers may have hoped would go away. But that is changing, and in New South Wales and Victoria especially the climate and degree of understanding has shifted.
For the assembled group, Nic's aim was to bring everyone up to speed on the world of mountain bikes: the culture with its different subgroups; the role of the Association and its formidable resources to be shared (impact studies, track construction guidelines, signage, risk management etc etc); the love bike riders have for natural places and their participation in stewardship programs related to bush care and trail maintenance.
The results were a fair amount of discussion on various aspects - for example the adoption of IMBA guidelines in South Australia walking trail construction because of their lower maintenance; the results of the impact studies; possible economic benefits; signage dealing with track difficulty ratings; risk management; and, thanks to IMBAs existence around the world, a sense of what's happening elsewhere.
"Our aim is to help create a network of shared use trails that is inclusive, a model that already works well in New Zealand and the United States. We value natural landscapes and we need to encourage young people to enjoy the bush as they will become the future conservationists."
Bart Smith (Ranger in Charge of the King-Howqua Unit in Victoria's Alpine National Park), came prepared, with a list of questions. "Knowing my patch and what I manage, mountain biking is no longer new and emerging, and we need to get a handle on it. Having someone like Nic speak was a good stepping stone as we've a keen interest in developing 'epic status' tracks and experiences around Mount Buller."
The science viewpoint
Recent research is helping to show the effect of mountain bikes in national parks. In simplest terms, like hiking, mountain biking has a range of negative impacts on vegetation and soils as well as on water and fauna. In flat areas where the riding is smooth and the number of passes is less than 500, impact is virtually the same as for hiking for a given distance. More research, both on and off the track is needed, while good management will need to adopt a big picture view to better deflect off-track impacts, such as construction of unauthorised trail features.
For more information, contact Associate Professor Catherine Pickering: firstname.lastname@example.org