Saturday, 11 September 2010
Mountain Biking a First for Mount Annan Botanic Garden
In what I believe is a world first (I await a correction from some far flung botanic garden reader) Mount Annan Botanic Garden now has an Enduro Trail.
For those of you not up with your mountain bike lingo, an Enduro Trail is something you endure, for pleasure.
I was out at Mount Annan this morning to help Caz McCallum open the first stage of what will be a 14 km track. The track zig-zags its way between the M5 Motorway and the top of the hills along the eastern side of the botanic garden.
To create the track, weedy African Olive and Privet were cleared and gullies crossed by bridges or rocky pathways.
The first riders were very happy with the result. Some fine tuning, of course, but overall the rated it highly and all said they will return.
At the moment two loops of the track are available to riders, the Competent and Intermediate. The Competent loop is designed for folk of moderate fitness and bike skills. The Intermediate loop is for riders who have "completed a number of mountain bike trails, have a moderate fitness level and are competent on an off-road bike".
The next stage will be the Advanced loop, for those primed on the first two loops to improve their fitness and skill levels - or who arrived fit and skilled!
Mount Annan’s terrain, vegetation and location make it an ideal cycling venue. The gentle hills are just right for a good cardio workout. And as your heart beats, enjoy the vegetation changes from open paddocks to groves of native Australian bush. Then there are the BBQs and picnic areas nearby, plus the rich horticultural collections of the botanic gardens 'proper'.
This is just the first part of making Mount Annan Botanic Garden the world's favourite botanic garden for cyclists. We have 'pump tracks' planned (you can look this up on your favourite search engine) as well as a regional cycleway across the garden. It's worth mentioning that the local champion for these cycling facilities at Mount Annan is Manager of Horticulture, Dan Bishop.
In case you are planning a visit, the trail is open daily (except Christmas Day) during the Garden’s operating hours - 10 am to 5 pm. If you want to ride around dawn and dusk, join the Friends and get not only free-entry during hours but non-vehicular access when it's light.
Riders must wear an Australian Standards (AS/NZS 2063) bicycle helmet and obey track rules and regulations, particularly 'keep to the tracks. There is a very nice map available - just visit the Botanic Gardens Trust website.
Images: Pictures from today's opening, plus the following gratuitous picture of our seasonal wildflower display near the entrance.