Partnering up for the good of trails

Partnering up for the good of trails

Thanks to a combined effort from Ibis and Trail Fund, eight trail building clubs up and down the country have more tools in their sheds to further develop the amazing network of mountain bike trails around New Zealand. Read more on each club and its plans below!

For more than a decade, Trail Fund NZ has been helping volunteer trail building groups around the country establish themselves and their trail networks by gifting grants, ebarrows and other tools.

“A little can go a long way, especially when it comes to giving newer clubs credibility with small grants or investing in tools for trail building,” says Trail Fund NZ grants manager Hamish Gordon. “Tools are truly the gift that keeps on giving, so we were super stoked when Ibis distributors Hyperformance Hardware approached us about donating $2,000 for a tools round.”

Hyperformance Hardware co-owner Sandra Williams says the donation is a win-win for all mountain bikers, given the end result is more, and /or better maintained, mountain bike trails.

“It’s really all about supporting the people who are out there putting in the hard graft – they are the ones behind the incredible trail network that has been developed in New Zealand, and that so many of us enjoy.”

To make the application process simple, Trail Fund decided the tool of choice would be the New Zealand-made Weapon of Mass Creation, touted as the swiss army knife of handbuilt trail tools by product designer and trail builder Gareth Hargreaves.

“I’m a big supporter of Trail Fund and was more than happy to offer the tools at a discounted rate to get them into the hands of trail builders around the country,” says Gareth, who is also on the advisory board.

It turns out the clubs were pretty excited the idea too, with Trail Fund receiving eight applications for the 20 Weapon of Mass Creation tools on offer from a wide variety of groups. Keen to see all the deserving recipients some tools, Trail Fund added another $1,000 to bring the total to 30, and each trail building group received between 3 and 5 tools!

Read more about the recipients below!

Nelson Mountain Bike Club

Nelson Mountain Bike Club was stoked to receive five new Weapon of Mass Destruction tools to help with its scheduled Dig Days on every second Sunday throughout the year.

“At these Dig Day events we complete essential maintenance on the local Nelson trails,” said applicant Mel Barker. “With more than 60 trails to maintain and a really large population of local riders, there is constant work to be done.

“As a not-for-profit club, maintaining and purchasing tools can be hard. We have been really short on tools until now, with only six grubers and some spades, shovels and rakes for digging. This has meant that we rely heavily on members bringing their own tools to dig days in order to get work done, and often the tools they bring are not specific for trail construction. The new Weapons of Mass Destruction will enable us to get more work done in a more efficient manner!”

Brooklyn Trail Builders (Wellington)

This small but mighty group is thrilled to receive four Weapon of Mass Creation tools to be able to provide volunteers with the right equipment for the job. The number of people who turn up can vary greatly, and at times the club has run out of tools for volunteers, which is not ideal for attracting more!

“As volunteers, Brooklyn Trail Builders take pride in hand-building and maintaining quality trails in Waimapihi Reserve, so having quality tools gifted to us is sincerely appreciated,” said applicant Rob Lee. “We're really grateful to be benefactors of the collaboration between Trail Fund NZ, IBIS and WMC Trail Tools. There's no question we'll put the tools to very good use."

Mud Maidens (Rotorua)

This volunteer-run female mountain biking group will be putting its four new Weapons of Mass Creation to good use looking after the popular Tuteata trail in Whakarewarewa Forest (the Redwoods).

The Mud Maidens, whose goal is to provide a welcoming and encouraging environment for intermediate and advanced riders to get together for regular rides and skill sessions, has recently taken on more trail maintenance work

“With the approval of the Rotorua Trails Trust, the Mud Maidens have now adopted the maintenance of Tuteata and these tools will be a huge help,” said applicant Cati Pearson. “This group is run by a small group of volunteers and we have been using our own personal spades and rakes for the maintenance up until now. It’s great to be able to have some specific Mud Maidens tools for us to use!”

Thames Mountain Bike Club

Formed in 2011, Thames Mountain Bike Club is a volunteer organised committed to improving mountain biking in the Thames/ Kauaeranga areas, we well as the wider Coromandel peninsula. It looks after three areas – the Moanataiari network north of Thames, the Hotoritori network in Kauaeranga Valley and the dual mountain biking and hiking Karaka Track.

The Club is grateful to have four new Weapon of Mass Creation tools to help fix up the Karaka Track, which is currently only about 60% rideable.

The Karaka Track, which is a great asset to our public, is much more of a bikepacking-style ride which follows an old County Road on Thames-Coromandel District Council Road (TCDC) Reserve,” said applicant Ric Balfour. “The Club has an MOU with TCDC to use and maintain the track along this road reserve corridor up to the junction of the Waiotahi (7kms).

The Club has already upgraded the first 3kms with two new bridges and several smaller boardwalks and widening, vastly improving the track. However, the upper 4kms remains in poor condition with 40% of it requiring riders to carry their bikes.

“We’ve managed to engage a digger to form the track out to 1.3m and the Club has committed to doing the finishing work after the digger is finished,” said Balfour. “Previously we didn’t have enough tools to arm a good-sized working bee crew, but this donation from Trail Fund and Ibis will go a long way to fixing that!”

Northern Buller Biking Club

A small sub club of the Buller Biking Club on the West Coast, Northern Buller Biking Club’s vision of a developing a trail network on a 1,200-acre property is closer to reality now that it has three of its own Weapon of Mass Creation tools.

“Our goal is to create a spectrum of biking trails, from the most basic beginner tracks to more advanced downhill trails with rollers and jumps,” said applicant Jesse Paley-Atkins. “The property is close to major trails such as Old Ghost Road and the Heaphy Track, but the area lacks tracks that are accessible to all ages and abilities.

“We want to create these trails to promote biking in this area and, with permission from the Gentle Annie Trust, we have 1,200 acres of playground to create something really special and unique. Having the tools to do the job will help us get moving!”

Whangarei Mountain Bike Club

A small but dedicated group, the Whangarei MTB Club operates two parks in separate locations that have been developed over the past 20-plus years.

“Apart from a small number of trails, the building and maintaining of the trails is mainly undertaken during working bees, with volunteers supplying their personal equipment,” said applicant Murray Clinch.

“Previously this has consisted of whatever is available to complete the tasks at hand, but having dedicated trail tools such as the Weapon of Mass Creation will be a big help!”

Given the resources available, Murray reckons Whangarei mountain bikers are lucky to have such amazing trails, and the new tools can only make them even better!

Kaipara Cycling Incorporated

Keen to expand places to mountain bike on the West Coast of Northland, Kaipara Cycling is fundraising hard to build Kauri Coast Mountain Bike Park, a public park that’s open year-round and has something for everyone. Trail building has just started in the 440-hectare pine forest with a sandstone base, and the goal is to build more than 40km of trails.

The Club has engaged professional trail builder Ryan Lovett to design and build the trails, and the volunteers are hard at work following behind the contractor, trimming coat hangers on trees, stamping in berms and defining draining.

“Our community is very committed to this project as there are no bike trails of any length on the west coast of Northland,” said applicant Sadie Cogan. “We are thrilled to receive three specialist trail building tools as we have a lot of work ahead of us!”

Mountain Biking Otago

Signal Hill riders will be stoked to hear that Mountain Biking Otago’s four new Weapons of Mass Creation tools are assigned the local Sigs Digs group for maintaining and evolving two trails on Signal Hill - Common Ground and Daily Grind.

“These two trails the ones that probably appeal to the widest pool of riders,” says applicant Greg Bouwer. “As such, they require the most amount of work to keep them to a standard that is accessible to the target audience – the intermediate rider that is after a challenge but not quite willing/able to venture into riskier terrain.  

“Sig Digs is a diverse group of diggers, united by a common goal of building trails that help people get hooked on mountain biking. They are a small but dedicated group of MBO members whose ethos is to build trails that not only they enjoy, but are perfect for bringing less confident riders out for a fun experience.”