A visit to Blue Derby in Tasmania is a must - and here's how to do it right.
Driving into Derby there are bikes everywhere — on cars, outside shops, bolted to the roofs of buildings and yes under riders too. With the recognition the Blue Derby Trail network has earned and the way the town is bustling you would probably guess that it has been around just as long as somewhere like Mount Beauty, but things only really took off in 2015.
Before Derby became a mountain bike town, it was a locale on the verge of going bust. When World Trail founder Glen Jacobs first rolled into Derby he remembers there was only one person out on the street, and they were boarding up the windows of a shop.
"People were living here of course, but nothing was going on, and it (the town) was closed," he recalls.
In only a few short years, Derby has gone from a 21st-century ghost town, to a bustling mountain bike destination, with a trail network that has earned global acclaim — including two Enduro World Series (EWS) Trail of the Year awards.
The story of Derby's boom and bust is one that's common around the world, precious metal was discovered in the ground — in this case, tin — and miners flocked to this corner of north-east Tasmania to get their share of the riches. Once all of the valuable material had been liberated from the ground, the mine closed, the jobs left and the town waned. On the brink, Derby was nearing something we would speak about solely in the past tense, but it turns out there was one resource that the miners hadn't dug up.
"The first thing I noticed about Derby... this township (was) plugged into a mountain," says Jacobs. "Then we looked at the mountains, and we'd never seen anything like the boulders, the soil, the waterfalls, the lakes, the trees, and the coast just over the hill. We came here, and we've gone, 'this place is going to be amazing.'"
And he was right; Blue Derby has become a world-class riding destination — the trails, the food and the experience in this little Taswegian town are a bit different than what you'd get somewhere like Verbier, Breckenridge or Park City, but it's every bit as good.