A visit to Blue Derby in Tasmania is a must - and here's how to do it right.
Shuttle up, ride down
Before Blue Derby was Blue Derby, Buck and Jude Gibson who now run Vertigo MTB were the only uplift in town. They had one bus, and would hang out in the parking lot at the trailhead waiting for riders to trickle in. A few more players are operating in Derby now, but Vertigo is still ferrying passengers up the mountain, and shuttling allows you to get the most out of the network — that said there are still plenty of loops that don't require an uplift.
The majority of the vans and buses headed up the mountain leave from the bus depot across from the trailhead and take you up to Blackstump; the junction of Roxanne, Snig Track, Return to Sender, Upper Flickety Sticks and of course Upper Blackstump. Using the trails at this junction also makes for easy access to Kingswall, Kumma Gutza, Shearpin and Detonate.
All of the shuttle operators in town also make trips up to the Blue Tier and Atlas. The Blue Tier forms the 'blue' part of Blue Derby and is a second trail network which descends from the top of the Blue Tier wildlife reserve and flows down into Weldborough with trails like the Blue Tier Wilderness Trail and Big Chook.
The Atlas trailhead sits about 400m above the Derby part of the Blue Derby network and is a 10km point to point trail starting from the ruins of the Atlas tin mine. It's mostly descending, the surroundings are bursting with natural beauty and in the typical World Trail fashion the singletrack is chock full of tacky berms and jumps. At the end of Atlas, you emerge from the trees at the top of the Dam Busters descent with the option to head for Krushka's or Trouty too.
If you're looking for a ride that's a bit more high octane, Evolution Bikes have just turned the key on a fleet of CanAm buggies. The side-by-side ATVs are quite a bit more capable than trailer laden vans and busses and can access more rugged areas of the network, like the new 'Big Pappa' Shuttle Drop, above the Atlas descent adding more than 100m of vertical to the already sizable drop on the Atlas Trail.
All up, six shuttle operators can give you a lift up the hill in Derby, each offering a slightly different program — with some offering private charters, group packages and even airport transfers and accommodation too.