In the past 18 months one riding area has risen from obscurity to become what is arguably the most popular trail centre in south east Queensland.
Words: Hayden Wright
Photos: Gerard Lagana
The Eastern Escarpment Conservation Area, or ‘Westys’ as it is currently called by locals of the area, offers riders trails from green to black and cater for both regular and adaptive mountain bikers alike. Whether you ride two wheels or more, this well thought out and executed trail area has you covered. The design and delivery of Westys is the brainchild of Pete Wilson and his team at Trailworx, who were involved in the project from inception through delivery. Through the succinct developement of the concept and the support from the Redlands City Council what has been delivered is a true godsend for local riders who were screaming for more technical gravity trails closer to the Brisbane CBD.
With most of the trail building being completed through the first half of 2021, what Trailworx have created truly works with the terrain, helping to accentuate the unique geological traits of the local area. The trails incorporate natural gullies, rocky shelves, bedrock, natural chutes, and a surprising mix of natural dirt types for what is a relatively small area. Predominantly machine built, the new trails link into what was a tired and underutilised existing network, which also got a freshen up through the beginning of last year. With a good mix of tech, flow, jumps and natural features there is something here to please riders of all abilities - all of which is tied together with a scenic climbing trail that is pinch free and tree laden. Top it all off with some amenities such as toilets, taps and shelters and you have a recipe for success in our books! Don’t just take our word for it though, the bustling carparks on a Saturday and Sunday morning are proof that Westys is the new fan favourite. A tip of the hat to both the Redlands City Council and Trailworx for uncovering this diamond in the rough and delivering what is an exemplar trail centre 30 minutes from the CBD of Brisbane.
Westys is located around 30 minutes drive from both the Brisbane Airport and CBD. When arriving you have a handful of carpark options. If you are looking for the toilet and water-based amenities, ‘Gate 2’ is where you can find those and serves as a good starting point for the main cross-country riding. The primary carpark for the downhill trails is located at the roundabout, ‘Gate 6’.
Trailworx have masterfully crafted singletrack from mild to wild, with everything in-between. If an XC loop is what you are after, check out Leo Lands – named after local planning officer and mastermind behind the entire Eastern Escarpment development Leo Newlands. Right at the other end of the spectrum is a black trail aptly named Blacking Out. This 2-minute thrill ride will challenge even the most experienced riders with jumps, rock gardens and narrow shelved sections from top to bottom.
A trail bike is best for this area, somewhere in the range of 140mm rear travel. While you could have a boat load of fun on any bike, something like the Pivot ShadowCat tested by Georgina in this issue would be a tonne of fun!
Westys currently contains 12km of professionally planned and built singletrack which never takes you more than around 1.5km from a car park or main road as the crow flies. Even in the event of a bad mechanical walking back to the car is a legitimate option. The longest climb from Gate 7 up Metamorphic is around 130m in vert, with the average descent of the main trails in the area being around ~80m and 2 minutes.
Both the Rats Cycling Club and the Karingal Scout Group are very active in this local region, so if you had any burning questions, you could reach out and they would be happy to help. If you are new to the area head out on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you’ll be sure to make at least a handful of like-minded new friends who can show you around. You can guarantee that the area around the top of Powerful Howl will have dozens of riders passing through and catching their breath mid lap, say G’day and jump on for a lap!
BEST TIME OF YEAR
These trails are tree laden, drain well and are easy to climb. Any day that ends in a “y” is a good day for Westys!
WHILE IN THE AREA
The nationally renowned Sirromet winery is only a 5-minute drive up the road. Offering food and drink options from breakfast right through to dinner, you’d be mad to not pack a change of clothes and enjoy some delicious food and a local glass of red. They also offer free standing “sanctuary” accommodation if you want to make a weekend of it.
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS
There is a gamut of independent bike stores within a half hour drive such as The Bike Shop, Rival Bikes, ForTheRiders and Big Mountain Daisy Hill.
LOCAL CLUB CONTACTS
The Rats Cycling Club operate in this area and run a variety of social rides across the week. Check out their web page for more information.
This April Westys will play host to a round of the SEQ Enduro Series, along with a round of the Rocky Trail Entertainment Flow series in September. We’re sure you’ll also see some club level events in both Enduro and XC held by the Rats throughout the year… plenty to choose from!
Adaptive Cycling: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Trails Signposted: Yes
Mobile Reception: Telstra Yes, Optus Yes
BBQ Facilities: No
fitness level: 2/5