Easy Rider Gets Easier

Postby SwampThing on Wed 13/Mar/13 1:01am

Stuart Hughes, GTT Project Manager trials the new bridge.
As the Tasman Great Taste Trail winds it's way closer and closer to Kaiteriteri, locals are beginning to notice a few changes in the area.

First to appear was the new bridge over the Riwaka River. This now enables cyclists coming from Motueka or Riwaka to turn right onto Goodall Rd before crossing the bridge and popping out onto Pah Rd, opposite Pah Point.

The proposed route for the cycleway from there is to follow the coastline of Tapu Bay.

Once current roadworks around Turners Bluff are complete, it will cross the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Rd near the entrance to the Mountain Bike Park.

This is going to be a stunning section of the Trail and hugely popular with locals and visitors alike.
The history of Maori occupation and early European settlement in Tapu Bay will be brought to life - and all thanks to the bicycle!

The challenge for those of us engaged with the Park is now to extend the Grade 2 cycleway standards onto Easy Rider.
ER was designed as a Grade 3 mountain bike track. It's purpose is to provide an earlier entry point into the Park's trail network for those that cycle out, bypassing much of the steep and winding road that carries on to Kaiteriteri.

Carl Walls of Motueka Excavations makes a start...
 But getting Grade 3 down to Grade 2 is no easy matter!

We revamped the entry switchbacks behind the pump track before xmas (see Dec 19 post) before knocking off for the Summer.

Last month we swung into action again, this time at the other end of ER.

Our original entry/exit point here was always meant as a temporary fix, pending proposed road-widening plans.

As these works have stalled, we got the go-ahead to make our new entrance. Numerous truck-loads of excavated soil (and countless wasp nests) later, we had something resembling a track.

In fact, at present, it more resembles a road - but, once trackside vegetation springs back, it will quickly become a green corridor that provides an inviting entry to the MTB Park.

The outlook over Tapu Bay will remain the same, though.

And, as with most of our best viewpoints, you can expect to see a seat to appear at some stage to encourage you to stop and soak it all up.

We're expecting that those Great Taste Trail riders who venture onto Easy Rider for their first real 'mtb' experience will like what they find :-)

Grade 2 comes to Kaiteriteri

The excavated soil was just what we needed back at the main Park entrance...

Filling in a deep gully, we were able to ease the gradient of the track that enters from Martin Farm Rd and climbs up to our entrance hub.

This had a steep final pitch that often saw beginners & little 'uns pushing their bikes - not a good start for their mountain biking experience!

The big, wide, swooping corners we've just created now ensure you arrive at the mapboard with smiles instead of sweat.

Meanwhile, we've moved back onto the track proper - with Mighty Mouse, our hard-working little digger.

Much of Easy Rider will be closed while we carry out the upgrade work so some patience will be required. Wherever you see tape closing an entrance, it indicates either that Mouse is at work somewhere along that section or that grooming is in progress. As soon as we feelthe track can accommodate bike traffic without causing tyre ruts, we'll remove the tape. A little rain will help  :P

Our monthly working bees are cranking back into life. Check out the calendar for details of the next one. Expect to see the short bypass at the top of Big Airs open, next time you're up there. The option of toughing out the granny-ring grind up to the Skullduggery hub is still open to you but we'll see how many take it now there's an easier alternative...

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Original Published: 12:30pm Tuesday, 12th March 2013 - NZST
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