Warning after tracks damaged

"If there's continuation of abuse to the tracks by four-wheel motorbikes and vehicles, we'll have no hesitation to put barriers up"

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by Alexia Johnston

Damage to Bike Geraldine’s mountain-bike tracks has prompted a call for people to be respectful of the facility and all recreational sectors who use it.
Allan Kelly, who helped establish the tracks on the outskirts of the township, near Vance and Burdon Rds, as a Lions Club of Geraldine project, was disappointed the facility had been damaged recently, to the extent some areas could not be ridden easily.
Four-wheel motorbikes and vehicles were thought to have caused the damage, he said.
“On the corners, they just scoured them right out.
“They weren’t usable for recreational riders.”
A team of volunteers have since spent a day and a-half levelling the tracks.
“We were concerned if we hadn’t done anything to the tracks and anyone was injured we would be liable under the Health and Safety Act, by putting riders on tracks that weren’t suitable.”
Mr Kelly said while he appreciated the tracks were legally available for anyone to use, the damage had caused headaches for mountain-bikers – the main sector for whom they were designed.
“It’s a respect thing,” he said.
Environment Canterbury (ECan) allowed the group to use the land, some of which was part of the Orari riverbed, to establish the tracks.
“We just appreciate what ECan is allowing us to do,” Mr Kelly said.
The mountain-bike tracks were the result of a lot of hard work by a dedicated team.
Many hours were spent on tractors, mulchers, post drivers, front-end loaders and Gradall blades creating the tracks.
As a result of that hard work, the tracks were an asset to the community.
“The saddest thing for me, as a Lions Club member and chairman of the Bike Geraldine [group], is that many members of this club don’t get the pleasure of seeing the number of mountain-bikers using the track during the warmer months.
“The number of families I see when biking the tracks, the walkers with or without dogs, people on horseback – [it] is a great payback for all the work this club has put in.”
For the past nine years, the tracks have also been used for the Geraldine Bike Challenge, now named the Geraldine Multi Challenge, which has raised $56,000 for various charities.
“Without the tracks, would this money have been raised?”
An ECan spokesman was contacted for comment, but did not respond before The Courier‘s deadline.