Words: Sebastian Jayne                                                                          Images: Dominic Hook

Like when you’re at the ice-cream shop, bike riding locations can quickly become about what’s most popular. Vanilla or chocolate, the safe bets, can get you through with the sureness that most other people like it, so you probably will to. Maybe you've had it before and being adventurous is not worth the risk, as it’s not every day you get to go to the ice-cream shop… or go on a mountain bike holiday.

 

But what if you were adventurous, just for one day? Maybe a scoop of avocado ice-cream and a scoop of curry ice-cream on top. You still could get a scoop of vanilla, just to have something familiar. The same goes with bike riding locations in the Victorian Alps. The safe bets are Bright, Falls Creek, Mt Buller and Mt Beauty. But lying just beyond, for those adventurous enough, are trail networks just as good with their own flavour. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at two old and familiar favourites along with two new, more adventurous options. That way you can decide if you’re going to add a few extra scoops next time you visit the gateway to the Victorian Alps.

 

Beautiful Beechworth
 
Beechworth is a rocky delight perched atop a plateau in Victoria’s North East. The town is a heritage classic with old world charm enticing you to stay a little longer to see all the sights. The trails are equally enticing with a ribbon of twisted singletrack swirling around the dedicated mountain bike park just out of town.

 

The Park
 
At first glance the spaghetti lines of the park’s trails can be a bit confusing, but the park is signposted and it is generally easy to find your way around. The yellow loop takes in the majority of the park’s best features with some short cuts or extra sprinkles added off the beaten path.

 

The trails are very natural and make full use of the granite boulders to add extra excitement to the ride. The rocks add technical challenges but if you do tame them, great flow can also be found.

 

There are a few ways down from the car park with the traditional cross-country descents joined by the short course downhill and some favourites just off the main lines. The climbs back up feature lots of flowy switchbacks to keep the gradient manageable for all riders. The full loop should take around 30–40 minutes to complete.