Bike trials a mountain biker's sanctuary

AFTER sitting dormant for years, new life will be breathed into the former earth sanctuary opposite Lake Canobolas when work gets under way to transform it into Orange’s premier mountain biking destination.

Orange City Council signed an agreement with the Central West Off Road Bicycle Club on Thursday to establish around 11 kilometres of cross-country bike trails on the site.

The council committed $10,000 towards the project in May and the club will pour its own funds and conduct working bees to make the bike park a reality, now the plans have been approved by Cabonne Council. 

The club’s president Scott Charlton said the club had already marked about 2.5 kilometres of trails and would develop the sites in four sections beginning with a skills area landscaped with boulders and logs to challenge all levels.

“Section two will be an easy beginners’ area, and then an intermediate area and then eventually the fourth section will be up the mountain for advanced riders,” he said.

“It’s designed as such so we can connect the whole lot and have a 12-kilometre loop for races.”

Bike riders won’t be the only ones to benefit from the new park with Mr Charlton also expecting it to be popular with bushwalkers.

“The last bit [of the trail] is up the mountain so it has great views of the lake and to town, so it will be worthwhile to walk,” he said.

“Anyone can get in there, no one is excluded ... and the nature of the track means it won’t be dangerous for walkers.”

Bicycle committee member Cr Jeff Whitton said the development of the Lake Canobolas Mountain Bike Park was the first step in a number of council initiatives to cater for bike riders of all ages and levels.

“There are all different types, there are people who love to ride on roads, and those that like mountain biking on trail rides,” he said.

“It’s utilising something that we’ve been developing over many years.”

The earth sanctuary will be open to pedestrian and bike access at all times, but closed to vehicles except for club events.

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