Opening on Australia Day, January 26 2018, Maydena Bike Park is an amazing project that’s been in the works for years. Offering the largest vertical drop of a bike park in the Southern Hemisphere and nestled in the Tasmanian wilderness just outside Hobart, the bike park plans to offer a huge amount of trails and provide yet another world-class trail destination within Tasmania. Already tasting success before it’s opened, the opening day is already sold out!
We caught up with the managing director and founder from Dirt Art, Simon French, who’s work within the Tasmanian MTB scene and with Maydena has been instrumental in the creation of the park…
First of all, congratulations on starting such an amazing project. Does it feel rewarding to be this close to launching after such a long process?
Thanks! It has been a very challenging project for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the two year approvals process. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the trail rolled out in such an incredible landscape. Watching our vision come alive, and exceed even our high expectations has been fantastic.
How did the project first come about?
We were invited to the site around 10 years ago by the then Forestry Tasmania, who were looking at opportunities to revive an adventure tourism project at the site. These discussions never came to fruition, and the site and summit has sat essentially vacant until now. A little over two years ago we submitted a proposal to the state government to lease the site and develop it as a major mountain bike and adventure tourism facility. We spent around two years in the planning phase, and have been close to five months into the construction phase now, with 16 staff on site trail building.
Was it a surprise for you and the team when the proposal was accepted?
No, not really. The site is perfectly suited to a major mountain bike development, and we put together a very comprehensive proposal for the development, which included a very strong commitment to protecting the environmental values of the site.
What do you think has been the biggest challenges in the project so far?
We have faced what at times feel like endless challenges. On countless occasions we have been told all manner of things, such as; we won’t be approved, we’ll never be able to do what we are doing, that we’ll fail, that we won’t get the support of the community, and that riders simply won’t be interested. So far we have proven our detractors wrong on every occasion. There hasn’t really been a standout challenge to be honest, it has been a fairly consistent stream of battles that began on day one, and some we are still facing today. The consistent them for us has been dealing with stakeholders openly and honestly, and addressing concerns to achieve the outcomes everyone wants and needs. We have had significant support through approvals from the state government, who have been instrumental in helping us deal with many of the road blocks we have faced with the project.
What do you think will set Maydena apart from other bike parks around the world?
Our park is genuinely unique in a number of ways. We’ve structured the network so the trails can be ridden as a full-blown downhill park, or as an enduro/trail riding experience. We’e carefully developed our trails to offer multiple different options in a single run, meaning there are almost countless trail combinations already, and we are only a third of the way through our approved trail development.
Will there be multiple trail grading options from the first day of opening? Will there be green/blue trails right though to double black trails?
We have around 20 trails for all abilities for open day, but we won’t have a genuine beginner trail from the summit just yet- this will be open ready for next summer. At this stage we offer an easier intermediate descent from the summit that will suit most rider abilities.
How many kilometres of trail are planned to be open in the first few months?
We won’t know the exact number until our teams finish in January, but we’ll be close to our initial target of 35km.
I understand you’re using 4WD’s to shuttle initially and it’s a large vertical drop, how long does the uplift take generally? Is there going to be multiple dropoff points on the way up for different networks?
Our bus trip up will take around 20min. We only offer a single drop at the summit at this stage.
How about descent times, how long are the trails going to take to ride from top to bottom?
The fastest descent will be around 15 minutes, with the longest descent taking some riders over an hour.
Can riders just turn up or do they need to book in advance?
We strongly suggest booking in advance. Many days through summer are already either sold out or close to selling out.
Will hire bikes be available?
Yes, we are partnered with Canyon bikes to offer both Strive and Sender bikes.
Where’s the best places around the bike park for riders to book accomodation?
We will soon be listing accommodation providers on our web site.
Is there any local trail networks around the park that could be linked up at all?
Not within the local area, no. There are a number of trails around the greater Hobart area (around 1 hour from Maydena).
The view from the top in the old Eagle’s Eyrie building looks amazing, is there going to be a few facilities up there so riders can pause and enjoy the view from the top?
Yes, we will be operating a cafe, bar and eventually a restaurant from the building.
Thanks Simon for taking the time for the interview. I think I speak on behalf of quite a few riders to say I’m really looking forward to the park opening!
You can find more information about the park and book online at https://www.maydenabikepark.com/