Words and Photos: Kristina Vackova
 
When my father removed the training wheels on my bike, I developed a love for biking and the freedom it brings. I remember I had the only one wish for Christmas - my first mountain bike - and how disappointed I was when I found a ladies cruiser behind the curtain next to the Christmas tree. I feel sorry now for my parents for how they must've felt after all the scrimping and saving, to see their daughter crying over her Christmas present. Fortunately for me, they were very understanding. They pulled together some extra funds and the cruiser went back to the shop. I became the proud owner of my first and fresh new mountain bike. I've been riding ever since and my bike follows me everywhere I go.


Our Backyard trails feature is looking at some of the best riding locations a little closer to home than we usually venture. These locations are the ones that keep us entertained through the week when we're not travelling or dreaming of far away places. Check out the other locations below!

Part One - Gap Creek, Queensland

Part Two - Stromlo Forest Park


 

When I decided to make my move to Australia fourteen years ago, my bike was pretty much the only thing I brought with me. Manly Dam inSydney became my first proper MTB trail and my skills started improving.
 
A year ago I moved down to Tasmania and while I'm still fairly new to the area, I feel very lucky for what we have here. The general scene in Hobart is a combination of all-mountain, enduro, xc and road. It is easy to find trails of all levels and the trail network is spread across the whole city. I love where I live as I can just ride from home to the main biking area – in South Hobart, in the foothills of Mt Wellington. There is no shortage of hills in Hobart, and since I live on the top of a particularly steep one facing the mountain, I generally drive down to the trail hub, to avoid the long climb on fire trails back to home. Driving to the trails saves my legs and I am able to spend more time riding in the area I most enjoy. But clearly, this is also just an excuse for being lazy. In the time of lockdown, I embraced those climbs to keep fit and explored trails and other areas that weren't closed.

 

On The Dirt on the Hobart Trails
 
Being a fairly new Hobartian, I am still discovering trails at my backyard and how different they can feel depending on the season. During the dry summer days, tracks in Hobart can become very dusty and loose. I prefer their condition following a few rainy days. The dirt becomes tacky and allows you to carry more speed, and the lush, green forest becomes more vibrant which makes it feel like riding in some kind of a wonderland. The South Hobart trail network has a very natural feel, featuring a combination of rock gardens, sweet berms, slippery roots, wooden features, drops, and jumps of all sizes. The first trail I rode when I moved here was called 'Red Wine'. For me, it was the best introduction to mountain biking in my new home and left nothing but a big smile. It is a super flowy trail with small features ending just behind the Cascades Brewery, the perfect end point for a stroll down to their nearby Brewhouse to get a frothy one on summer hot days. Alternatively, it's not far down the road for an awesome brunch or just a coffee from a nearby Ginger Brown cafe.

 

Even in a lockdown, when the best trails were closed, I'd ride my way to Knocklofty, a bush reserve in West Hobart, and explore all the fun little informal blue trails, such as Rocklofty or Yellow Hippo.
 
It definitely does get cool and windy down here in Hobart, but I love how in summer I can just go riding any time of the day without the extreme humidity. In the wintertime, parts of Mt Wellington get quite soggy and wet, hence trails like Slides are aptly-named. Another great place to ride would be the Clarence Mountain Bike Park, on Hobart's eastern shore, but for that, I'd need stronger legs to ride all the way there and back on my mountain bike.
 
What to expect on Hobart's Trails:
Amount of Trails: 60km
Type of riding: All-mountain, Enduro, XC
How long can I ride?: I could ride pretty much all day.
Don't forget: North-South track is not the only trail in Hobart.
Best coffee nearby: Ginger Brown, South Hobart or Signal Station Brasserie, Mt Nelson
Local Knowledge: I do like dry red wines and dry humour, but Red Wine at SoHo is better after shower or two.


 
Where I want to ride post pandemic
 
When the travel restrictions ease, I'm very lucky I don't have to travel far for more riding opportunities. I'm definitely going first to Derby and then on to check out the new trails at St Helens, and to generally ride and hang-out with friends.

Once the travel restrictions ease more, I plan to cross the waters to New Zealand. I haven't ridden in many places and I know there's a lot more to explore. Areas like Nelson and some of the epic rides like the 'Old Ghost Road' are on my list. And finally, once the international travel restrictions to Europe ease, I am excited to explore all the new trails that have been built over the years back in my homeland. Since the biking scene is growing rapidly and trails are being built all over the world, even the Czech Republic hasn't stayed behind.
 
Meet your local
 
Name: Kristina Vackova
Bike: Santa Cruz Bronson 2019
Instagram: @kiphotomedia