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Proposed Mountain bike track in Centenial Park Sydney.

pbarbaro's picture

By pbarbaro - Posted on 20 February 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I am a Mountain Bike enthusiast living in the heart of Sydney. So like many in my position it takes at least an hour to get to a good cross country track. Then on the weekend i was riding my roadie in Centenial Park, and i noticed the amount of unused grass around the perimeter of the park and had an epiphany. Why not build a single track around the edge of the park, seperated by a fence to protect both the cyclist and the pedestrians. So here i am trolling all Sydneys bicycling web sites lookingfor support. In the next few weeks i will be setting up a website so that people can give there support in any way they wish. I would also be interested in hearing from those who have rallied councils in the past to further cycling for any tips and tricks. And finally it would be great to have financial support to help with the final building of this track. I am very serious about seeing this through and i hope that we can use it as a template for future shared cycling developments.

Hope to hear from anyone who is interested very soon.

kymbolino's picture

But a lot of it is under state and national heritage listings. They're pretty hard to get around. In fact, the only development work I see them do is restoration and refurbishment. To install something new would be pretty tricky, but i'll back ya.

EDIT: This is what I came across a little while ago:

"Off Road Cycling is off limits
Centennial Park has a proud history of cycling. Its dedicated track around Grand Drive is one of the most popular cycling circuits in Sydney. However off-road cycling is against Trust regulations (Regulation 21.2.d) for environmental and safety reasons.
The major problem associated with off-road cycling is rapid soil erosion. The soil in the Parklands is very sandy and the plants that grow on it are very delicate. Combined with heavy rain, soil erosion has a serious effect on the Parklands environment including damage to our ponds, the creation of hazardous surfaces and blocked drains with the potential for flooding. Serious erosion from off-road cycling has been observed across the Parklands, in particular between the Paddington and Robertson Road Gates, where improvised tracks carved out by mountain bike wheels have destroyed the grass covering.
Off-road cycling also causes conflicts between other Park visitors using the grass areas for passive recreation, dog walking and relaxing. So if you are cycling in Centennial Park, please keep to the marked left lane on Grand Drive and leave the grass areas to
regrow naturally."

They must be talking about this:

Username2's picture

Im in on this too. I wish you luck also, keep us posted!

Scottboy's picture

looks like it was already trashed by runners & walkers there were a few there during filming & it doesn't help that the tool in the end skids on the dirt ...

Hasbeen Racing's picture

The path around the outside is not exactly pristine. It is well worn from runners, walkers, dogs etc. I don't see mtbs doing any more damage except in the wet so the rangers would need to manage that.

I can see a safety issue as this would be a shared path. Also a little surprised they rode anti clockwise when the road track is clockwise.

Pete B's picture

There used to be quite a few people riding around outskirts of centenial park but since they put the signs up about six months ago, I've not seen anyone.

I'm sure it could be done but it would have to be more like a hard pack/fire trail surface to avoid erosion when people ride it in the wet (which is bound to happen). I'll back you on this cause, it would be great to get a wet weather trail in Sydney.

Type "bottle lake forest" into you tube and you'll see the type of trail that I mean. I rode BLF last year and even though it wasn't partiaculaly technical, it flowed well and was a good, fast, fun track.

Nick R's picture

The dirt track around the outskirts of Centennial Park is pretty boring - pretty flat and straight (gradual curve) with no real terrain features except for a few trees and a few tree roots. To make it into something that would be interesting would require major changes to the terrain.

MarkkyMarkk's picture

If the Centennial Park people are not interested, what about approaching some of the golf courses in the area? There's usually a strip of land along the side of the fairways buffering the whole course from the surrounding land. You could operate it on a sliding membership style just like the golfers - I mean, if you're paying an annual membership fee to MTB then you could at least expect mimimum quality of service in terms of track maintenance & features.

herzog's picture

I think the Centennial Park trust needs to have a chat to the Mt Annan Botanical Gardens trust, to see what's possible with a bit of vision and community mindedness.

Slowpup's picture

Maybe the CP Trust need to have a chat to the man upstairs too, to see if it's possible to increase the available elevation as well.

I support the sentiment of this thread but, in my opinion, Centennial park does a great job of catering to a broad range of user groups already. Rather than bringing pressure to bear on this resource and its administrators it might be more appropriate to try improving the amenity of an under utilised resource in the area.

I reckon there would be a number of suitable locations within ride distance of Centennial park.......Moore park always looks like a great place for undesireables to linger...... regular MTB traffic might enliven the area.

herzog's picture

Ahh yes Moore Park.

Bombing down the old grass skiing hill on the dually is a bit of rush. You get decent air 2 or 3 times on the way down.

frothing_maniac's picture

I'd suggest looking into malabar headland? They have approved to keeping it a nature reserve and randwick council is looking at options for it's use .

If u want some support and even help getting something going in thus on any area mentioned above let me know and if I can offer assistance will do.

Pete B's picture

Good idea frothing_maniac.

I recon that would be the easier place to get the council to agree allowing mountain bikw trails to be created.

FilthyFrother's picture

Your on to it you Maniac!! "I know the Maniac, Ive rode with him, He is a friend of mine"

Im a local Firefighter and i deal with CP management now and again and i can tell you there is no way they would consider it. Sorry to be negative but there are simply too many issues for it to ever happen..

Its a shame because up until six months ago i rode the outside track to work most days and had a good hit out now and then, combining several laps when i couldnt get away to ride.

Malabar on the other hand is just waiting to be jumped on!
Not sure where they are at with it but they have been holding community discussions on what to do with that huge area, and its not development. Some of it will be National park consisting of Aboriginal sites and rare native bushland and some of it public space.
This link is old but it gives you an idea..

Im in, lets get the ball rolling!!
We may have missed the boat but better late than never.. And at least NPWS is considering MTBing these days..

bikemad's picture

im currently in bronte and have gone in there to play a few times of late,until i noticed the no mntnbiking signs-pity cause there are some good rock drops in there.depending on what you like to do on a bike there are some good technical rock sections behind the clovelly bowling club...

mrptl's picture

I too, think that CP management won't consider at all a MTB track in the Centennial Park. They've got already too many others thing to deal with, and I don't see them taking over an extra charge on their plate.
I like the idea of having a track next to the shore near Malabar. Nice scenery, and space for everybody. I took once the walking track next to the Randwick Golf Club, going to Little Bay… quite nice!

Which area is the Malabar headlands exactly? The shooting range between Maroubra beach and Long Bay?

Pete B's picture

Have a look around this website:-

It may be a good place to start the ball rolling?

antc's picture

Whats at St Peters these days where the chimney stacks are?

herzog's picture

I've ridden out at Malabar - it definitely has potential once it gets reopened. There's some decent singletrack out there, as well as a lot of bare rock which provides some Moab style riding, providing excellent technical challenges.

There's also a couple of spots on the cliff top providing great views up the coast to the north, back to Bondi.

Further south at La Perouse, there's a few trails off the side of the access road that runs through the golf course (public road). Some of these are actually signed for bikes. You can ride all the way to the tip of the northern headland of Botany Bay.

herzog's picture


ChopStiR's picture

I think the imba Northbridge Project is the perfect example of bringing a need to a place that needs something!

A trail in cenntennial park would be fantastic but I to agree that this is very improbable

Check out the Northbridge Project.

Matt P's picture

I actually think it has the potential to be damaging to MTB as a whole.

Given the area and the human traffic, there would quickly be huge number of people using it (erosion unless it has a zillion dollars spent on it).

The number or inexperienced people (plus those on hybrids, bmx, commuters etc) riding it could end up becoming frustrating to more experienced riders. This results in fewer experienced riders using it leading to the current issue of lack of quality trails. Therefore local council/s get frustrated because the trail "misses the point". Makes having our cause taken seriously more of a challenge.

There would most likely be an increase in risk of rider and non-riders having an "incident" - never a good outcome.

The inexperienced (uninitiated) not using proper MTB etiquette could cause incidents - doesn't help.

To be a proper circuit, it would need to cross 7-8 thoroughfares. Likelihood of meeting moving obstacles greatly increases. Stand back and wait for local dross whinge about hoons on two wheeled killing machines frightening little Tarquin and Chzarleeeeigh-Anne (don't forget the locale).

However, on the plus side, it could see the introduction of just ONE decent MTB shop in the very local area!

I'd be pushing for the Malabar option as well.

Hop fiend's picture

those 'incidents' are what would be the killer for use there-all we need is crap on ACA or Today Tonight to really screw up our sport

Empy's picture

Matt put into words most of what I've been trying to think how to say for the last few days, and without any swearing!

It may seem unfotunate, but we can't expect to have dedicated MTB trails everywhere.
That sort of thing takes lot of resourses to buid and maintain, who will provide that? And for what, to ride around a park?

In my veiw (and believe me I've been through it) your time and energy would be better spent on a 'true' MTB area.
If Malabar is nearby and accessable it would seem like a much better option.

As well as that showing respect for Centennial Park and other users will do much more to further your/our cause.

Empy's picture

Highbridge was built in a derelict area of dumping and waste, find an area like that to develope and you may well get a different response from council.

REDBULL's picture

Hi everyone! I've been around malabar headland a few times as well. It makes for an interesting ride, although recently I haven't been able to get up there as the entrance guarded by the riffle range people. I think we'd have a better chance of establishing a trail there than at centenial park, it was even a suggested Option on the councils proposal Plan thingy. I live nearby and would be more than happy to show anyone around if they like. La perouse headland also could be an option but is well established as a national park so I doubt it. Anyway if anyone's interested let me know, to have a local trail nearby in Sydney would be fantastic!

natskis's picture

I've just found Centennial Park after getting back into mountain biking and quickly found out that you can't use it as a mountain biker.

This is a pity, but is there an update on Malabar or any other possible trails a bike ride away from the CBD?

Pete B's picture

Manly Dam is only a ride away from the CBD. Bit of a hill to climb as you come over Spit bridge in both directions but not too bad.

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