Blue Mountains News

AMB Magazines Favourite Blue Mountains Bike Tracks

By Mike Blewitt
Australian Mountain Bike Magazine
Archived 31 Jan 2015 - Posted: 1 Sep 2014
AMB Magazine
The Blue Mountains rise out of the urban sprawl to form a dense and spectacular barrier between the western fringe of Sydney and the fertile farmlands of the Central Tablelands.

Countless explorers lost their lives trying to navigate a path across the gorges and ridges that typify the region, which suggests it’s prime riding terrain! The Blue Mountains are a rite of passage for Harbour City riders and worth a visit for out-of-towners as too.

The main corridor of the Blue Mountains follows the Great Western Highway west from Emu Plains for roughly 70km. Small villages and towns line the highway, all equipped with bakeries, coffee shops, antiques and odd sods. Beyond every pod of civilization lies a labyrinth of old fire trails, walking tracks, disused railway corridors and secret-squirrel singletrack that rewards the curious. Mountains local constantly discover new trails or rediscover old ones, and the trail fairies never take holidays.

This is raw and adventurous pioneer style riding for the most part, cuddled up against a 70km long slither of suburbia. All riding genres are catered for in the region, although cross- country and trailriders have a good range of formalised trail options.

Internet forums, websites and local knowledge can unlock a seemingly endless patchwork of informal trails. The possibilities are endless for those willing to explore beyond the lines marked on the map.

Riders looking for a first taste of the Blue Mountains can start at the base. Hidden in plain view of the highway and train line, trails weave their way up the mountainside from Emu Plains to the first major settlement at Glenbrook. Here are two Glenbrook-centric rides to kick things off.

Wentworthville Falls or Woodford, to Glenbrook

The Oaks Firetrail runs from Woodford to Glenbrook. It offers spectacular views to the Sydney CBD, fast descents and heart crushing pinches as well as flowing singletrack to finish. The tar climb out of Glenbrook causeway proves that nature has no mercy, but the Oaks loses a significant amount of elevation from start to finish.

The Anderson’s Firetrail begins near the town of Wentworth Falls. It descends deep into the heart of the mountains before climbing very steeply into Woodford, where riders can continue on the Oaks trail to Glenbrook. Alternatively, ride from Glenbrook up to Wentworthville Falls and back for a 100km lap of Australia’s most famous fire trails.

The Oaks and Anderson’s are generally well-maintained. The descents tend to be steep and the corners loose. Speed management is crucial.

You’ll need everything! There are no shops or bailout points along these trails. Tubes, pump, tools, and plenty of food and water.

Distances are: Woodford to Glenbrook, 28km; Wentworthville Falls to Woodford, 30km.

Knapsack Reserve

This neat pocket of fun sits on the northern side of the Great Western Highway, just ‘up the hill’ from Emu Plains. The Blue Mountains Off Road Cyclists have worked with the local land managers to formailse trails in the Reserve, which now feature the only legal DH track in the Mountains.

The Reserve is criss-crossed by fire roads and rocky, narrow singletrack of all technical levels. This is a great place to kill a few minutes or a whole afternoon, located within a stones throw of Glenbrook village.

Why not ride the Oaks, have a bite to eat in Glenbrook, then spend a few hours messing about in Knapsack?

The technical nature of this ride is full on DH, through to flat fire road and scenic lookouts.

You’ll need to be self sufficient, but if things go wrong you’ll never be too far away to walk back to a trailhead.

Need to Know

Local Knowledge

Stop into Bike Minded at Wentworth Falls, or Blackmans Bicycles or Panther Cycles at Penrith. All three stores have knowledgeable staff that ride the trails on a daily basis. 

Getting There

The Blue Mountains are easily accessed by car from suburban Sydney. The Great Western Highway feeds directly off the M4 Motorway and is the lifeline of the Mountains, passing through all the major settlements. The Sydney trains follow the Highway, again stopping at all towns along the way. Services are limited (every 1-2 hours at some stations), so check the timetable and plan ahead

Best Time of Year

Anytime outside of peak summer or winter is good, but all year riding is fine with the right gear

While in the Area

The Blue Mountains are full of fascinating historical sites, world famous lookouts and interesting food and shopping. It’s a great place to take the family. Katoomba is the capital of the Mountains and has all major facilities. Leura is the spot for an upmarket coffee, and Springwood is always bustling

Local Bike Shops

Bike Minded, Wentworth Falls, 02 4757 4607. Panther Cycles, Penrith 02 4731 3522, Blackmans Bicycles, Penrith, 02 4731 3048

Local Club Contacts

Blue Mountains Off Road Cyclsits, bmorc.com. 

Regular Events

Careflight Woodford to Glenbrook Classic

Facilities

The Blue Mountains region has all the facilities of the big smoke, although don’t expect everything to be open on a Sunday. As the trails are scattered all over the place you need to be relatively self sufficient. Mobile reception varies, and once away from residential areas you’ll need to rely on natural water if you run out. Water filtration tabs are worth carrying.

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