More and more people are following the trail
STEVE Wilcock has long enjoyed the thrill of mountain biking.
And the president of the Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club is excited that more and more people are saddling up to get a taste of the adventure and outdoor enjoyment the sport offers.
About 80 people turned out for the club's try out day at First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve on Sunday.
And a number of them were so impressed they signed up for a two-month trial membership with the sport's governing body.
Wilcock understands why.
"It's a healthy, outdoor activity. One of the things I like is it provides an avenue for kids to get out in the bush and do something that's adventurous but safe and they can create their own fun," he said.
"I've been a cyclist all my life. I know that for many riders mountain biking eliminates all the hazards that come with riding on the roads.
"Also, it's a very social activity. Families can do it together and there are no limitations."
Wilcock said the club currently had 85 members, from children through to riders aged in their 60s.
"It appeals to a broad range of people and, most of all, it's a huge amount of fun," he said.
"I've been doing it since I was 12 and I am substantially older now and I still love it."
Wilcock said the try out day gave newcomers an introduction to First Turkey's mountain bike trail network and provided some rider instruction.
He said another attractive aspect of the sport was that people did not have to invest thousands of dollars to buy the latest equipment.
"We had people there (on Sunday) on bikes that have been sitting in their sheds for 20 years," he said.
"As long as it has two wheels and is mechanically sound, the standard of bike doesn't matter; it's all about the activity."
Wilcock is anticipating that the future development of mountain biking trails across the Rockhampton region will be a boon for the whole community.
Establishing First Turkey as a leading mountain bike venue is the immediate focus for the club, and the project is receiving support from the three levels of government.
Wilcock has ridden mountain bike trails around Australia and New Zealand and he is confident that Rockhampton's mountain bike trail network could soon rank as one of the country's "must-do" venues.
"We are still in the early stages but it's developing," he said.
"It has the potential to come up to certainly a national-class facility and eventually a world-class facility.
"Such a venue would provide economic benefits for the region as well, bringing people into Rockhampton.
"We have a great canvas to work with. It's certainly a good space for us to be in."