The idea of riding immaculate trails and retiring to comfortable accommodation nestled in the very forest you have been riding in must be a dream for many mountain bikers. If you add in having a guide, exquisite food from the local area and an excellent range of drinks on offer, you might think it’s getting a little far-fetched. But this luxury experience is happening right here and now with the Blue Derby Pods Ride in Tasmania.

If you haven’t been to Blue Derby yet, chances are you have it on your ‘to ride’ list. And so you should. The destination in north-east Tasmania has one of the most diverse networks of trails in Australia. From easy trails around the lake, to long, gravity assisted flow trails, and of course trails that challenged the riders of the Enduro World Series – one of which was even crowned the trail of the year for 2017. That’s quite an accolade.

A mountain bike holiday is about more than just the trails though. A good holiday takes up time off work, so it should also be a time to recharge. And the Blue Derby Pods Ride is a a comfortable way to experience the intermediate trails in great company, while staying in an immersive environment and eating and drinking amazing local cuisine. Best of all, it’s well suited to couples – although it doesn’t exclusively cater for them.

Inside the Blue Derby Pods Ride

The images of wooden ‘pods’ floating in the forest started to appear across my Instagram feed in April last year. Some images create an immediate attraction and while I couldn’t swipe left I immediately followed the Blue Derby Pods Ride as next time I was in Blue Derby, I wanted to see them.

So in November, when riding in Blue Derby I took the opportunity to visit. I would have ridden past the entrance to the pods without knowing, except Steve Howell who setup the Blue Derby Pods Ride with his wife Tara told us exactly where to stop. We follow Steve along a short section of singletrack and come upon the main building, or hub. Sitting resplendant in timber glowing in the afternoon sun, we ride in under the annex, storing our bikes and hanging up our gear.

It looks like the whole building and the sleeping pods have been dropped from above. There’s little sign of building work, with none of the scars to the landscape that typically accompany buildings of this size.\

Inspiration to creation

Plenty of people visit Blue Derby and have a great time on the trails. And there are a number of people who do that, and see the opportunity to have a bit of a tree change. A town that is having a rebirth, with an ever-growing network of world-class trails being built around it. It’s a dream come true for people looking to escape the rat race and setup a small mountain bike focused business.

And in essence, that’s Tasmanian’s Steve and Tara did, with Tara’s marketing skills playing a key role.

“There were two core reasons why Steve and I decided to launch the Pods Ride, and move into the tourism industry. We genuinely did see a market in what we’re doing in an adventure/mountain biking experience, we did some overseas travel looking at the mountain bike market in Canada and New Zealand and saw that this wasn’t being tapped in Australia.”

“We also loved the idea of what we were putting together in that we knew we’d love it. So we were passionate about it. We’re passionate about mountain biking, we’re passionate about Tasmania and we both wanted to work in a role that we loved every day so those two things combined made it a pretty attractive thing to do.”

Sitting in the communal area, with a spread of local cheeses, cured meats and a craft beer in hand, looking across the tree tops of the forest we just rode through all day suggests Steve and Tara were right.

This visit in summer was my fifth visit to Blue Derby, but my first in about 18 months. And that time period has seen so much growth, especially after the EWS visited and really put the place on the global map. But the Blue Derby Pods Ride was in planning before soil had even been turned.

What3 days of guided mountain biking in Blue Derby, with all transfers, food and drinks, plus bike hire.

When All year round! Check the date options online. Pricing changes depending on the season.

What do I need?Intermediate riding skills, a few sets of riding clothes. A bike, helmet, gloves and spray jacket are included if you don’t want to bring your own.

How much? From $1750, departing Launceston