A Word from Dylan Rushbrook, Tourism Central Otago general manager


Cyclists must prepare well for trail rides

Unfortunately, there are a few people doing silly things putting themselves and/or others at risk

It would be hard not to notice that there are more and more people around Central Otago on bikes. In recent weeks and over the long weekend it seemed as if every second car was carrying bikes on the back (or roof).

As someone recently said to me, “cycling is the new skiing”.

The popularity of cycling is definitely a good thing.

It attracts visitors to the wider region, adding value to the economy, and it’s great for people’s health and wellbeing and for the environment.

Unfortunately, there are a few people doing silly things putting themselves and/or others at risk, potentially damaging the experience for others and the reputation of our trails.

Some common themes I’ve heard recently are linked to the Lake Dunstan Trail, and people trying to set record times, not having the skill level needed, or being unprepared for the weather and the terrain.

To be clear, the section from Bannockburn inlet to the Dunstan arm rowing club at the Clyde end is rated grade 2-3, meaning there are intermediate sections along the way.

To explain: grade 3 is suitable for regular experienced cyclists with a good level of fitness and over 12 years old; children should be accompanied by an adult.

If you were going on a tramp in the outdoors, you would be prepared.

Cycle trails are no different.

Weather changes rapidly, and in Central Otago the wind is a particular challenge as the locals know well.

Just try being on the rail trail in high winds seem like a marathon.

As locals we have a responsibility to ensure that visitors to Central Otago have an amazing time and take away special memories of their holiday.

A part of that is providing good information so people are informed and prepared before heading out.

If you think this is just a problem for commercial bike operators to fix, you’d be wrong.

The reality is that particularly for the Lake Dunstan Trail, most cyclists are private riders. They’re the ones that have bikes on the backs and the roofs of cars that we see every day.

Please be an amazing host.

Share your local knowledge and make sure your friends, family and colleagues are prepared before they head out and that they are not taking on a ride beyond their ability.

And like the road rules state left!

You’ll find more information about all out local trails on www.centralotagonz.com