Trail Stories: South Coast Kids Track

The South Coast Kids Track located in Island Bay, Wellington, has received funding on two separate occasions from Trail Fund NZ to the total of $1500. 

Another of the projects funded during our 2013 “Winter” round of grants was the South Coast Kids Bike Track, a new project based in Island Bay, Wellington.  The project came about because a group of local parents wanted somewhere local and easily accessible for their kids to ride off-road. They had all spent quite a bit of time driving kids across town to various bike tracks so they could get their off-road biking fix and decided it was time to make a local track so all the kids around the South Coast of Wellington could experience the fun off off-road cycling.


The team found a suitable site, an unused grassy bank on town belt land, set up a Facebook page to gauge community support and wrote a proposal for the track that was given to the team responsible for tracks at the Wellington City Council. From the start the Council were very supportive of the track and even provided some funding for the digger work while Trail Fund NZ were able to provide funding to cover tools for the hand dug bits of the track. At this stage the team is all set to start building in October.

The initial track design was produced by a member of the local group (Jeremy Blake) in consultation with Ric Balfour of Trail Fund NZ and Russel Garlick of the Wellington Mountain Bike Club. The intent is to develop a track that is appropriate for children practice and progress their off-road cycling skills at their own pace. The sloping gradient of the site is a perfect introduction to cycling in Wellington and will allow us to provide challenges for more advanced riders while still catering for novices.

image012The team has proposed to develop the track as three short ‘stacked’ loops, with technical challenges increasing on the loops that are located higher up the hill. This way kids can choose the level of riding they feel comfortable with, while providing scope for additional challenge when they feel ready. The design will use extended traverses across the slope to provide kids with the longest possible downhill runs.

It is anticipated that the track will provide elements found on standard mountain bike trails but at a much smaller scale to suit smaller bikes and less competent riders.  Features (such as rollers, table tops and steps) will be designed so that they can be rolled over on a bike with 20” wheels.   These features will also be used to reinforce the one-way nature of the tracks, and to deter children from riding up the down tracks.

Lower loop – the lower loop will be targeted at those just starting out on a pedal bike. It will have a very gentle gradient, wide sweeping lightly bermed corners and no specific trail features.

Middle loop – the middle loop will also have modest gradient but will introduce a number of features suitable for a progressing rider, such as rollers and judder bars.

Top loop – the top loop will progress things further, with a narrower trail traversing through the trees at the top of the slope providing scope for roots, off-camber sections and low board walks. The down trail will have a small drop-off, rollers and a modest table top.  These features will be designed so that they can be rolled safely but also provide opportunities to get a little air time as their skills progress.  Any potential jumps will be designed to minimise the chance of accidents for riders that may land short of the transition (e.g. table tops rather than doubles).  Any board walks will be no more than 30cm above ground level, and have an alternate line for those that do not wish to use them.

Climbing trail – at the southern end of the site it is proposed to construct an up-hill trail to allow riders to make their way back up the slope.  The uphill track will intersect with the downhill tracks at various points to provide access to the three different loops.

With the project set to kick off in October this soon be a exciting place for kids of a wide range of ages and abilities to get a taste of mountain biking and a great resource for both the southern suburbs of Wellington as well as the wider city where kid and beginner friendly single track is a rare thing indeed.