OK, I confess. I'm a Blue Mountains local, I know plenty of good tracks I haven't written about, and I'm not about to start now. If I told you where these spots are I'd have to kill you... Some of these places are really special, and would suffer from over use if widely known.
But, if you're an experienced rider who rides responsibly and doesn't mind a challenge, you can find some for yourself. I can't guarantee what you find will be legal to ride. Be aware that singletracks marked as walking tracks in national parks aren't legal, but not all tracks are in the park. I don't recommend riding tracks illegally.
The Blue Mountains has heaps of tracks, some that are overgrown, log blocked, leech infested nightmares, and some that are sweet, sweet riding. You'll have to put some serious effort in - almost all involve steep climbs, and the best I've found involve some walking or carrying bikes up steep rough hills. If you ride on less well known tracks, take it easy and be prepared and self sufficient - unlike the more popular tracks, you mightn't see anyone else all day. Make sure you let someone know where you're going - if you fall off you might not get found otherwise...
Often these tracks are only short, linking with other tracks via road, however the terrain means rides can still take a long time.
So why I am I telling you this if I'm not giving directions? Because I am going to tell you how to find them. No, no, not specifically, just generally.
The first thing to do is to suss out a likely area. Most towns in the Blue Mountains and areas on the urban fringes have roads running to the ends of ridges, or to patches of scrub. Get hold of the relevant topographical map (topo) to find likely dirt roads and firetrails - many of these degenerate into tracks or have tracks running off them. If you're lucky, the firetrails may have overgrown into singletrack. If you learn how to read topos you'll know what terrain to expect. The latest series have aerial photo maps on the reverse - it's even easier to find promising tracks and read the terrain. You can get topos in newsagents, outdoor shops and many servos.
Other possibilities are powerlines - not so much the little ones, although they do have maintenance tracks, but the big ones.
Yup, those towering steel monstrosities you see marching across the wilderness. There's always tracks under these powerlines, but many only run till the edge of the nearest gully, with an unrideable gap before they start again on the next ridge. <rant>It's somewhat amusing that some of these powerlines are in catchment areas where bikes are definitely not allowed due to potential pollution issues (yeah, right), but the power company's trucks and 4WDs are welcome. They get in every now and then and chop all the trees down under the lines for a firebreak as well - but no bikes...<end rant>
Luckily not all the powerlines are in catchment, as they provide a wealth of riding in some very rugged terrain.
Don't forget to ask around - locals are often in the know. Some tracks are well known to different sections of the riding community, but are only advertised through word of mouth. Clubs are usually a good source of info. Not all the tracks are on the map, and the best almost certainly aren't. The best way to find them is to get out there and explore. Explore, explore, explore. You never know what that track will turn into - sometimes it will be a dud, boring, or an unrideable nightmare, sometimes just average, but sometimes it'll be magic - and those are the rides we live for.
If you do go exploring and find these places, remember that we want to keep riding them. Ride responsibly, be aware of other users, stick to the track and take your bloody rubbish OUT with you!! ALL of it! Don't ruin it for everybody!
All rides are now rated in Fat Hippies - one means grab a slice of pizza
and stay on the couch, two means not bad, three means well worth a ride, four
means a great ride and five means stop looking at your computer, go ride it!
|Distance||as long as you like|
|Difficulty||easy to very hard - may need to walk some uphills and downhills. Surfaces often loose and rocky. Can be hard to find.|
|See also...||the not secret tracks|
|Interest||lookouts, swimming holes, bushwalks, waterfalls, other tracks, aboriginal sites|
|Ridden||you never know...|
Standard disclaimer:Like all outdoor activities, mountain bike riding can result in serious or fatal injury. Track conditions may have changed since this review. Don't ride beyond your ability. If you fall off it's your own fault. Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, thoughts, comments, opinions etc expressed herein are mine, and should not be taken to represent my employers, or for that matter, anyone else. If you don't like anything I've said, sorry, just change the channel.
Copyright © Tony Fathers, 2002 - 2006