One of the pains of travelling interstate or overseas with a bike is organising the car hire. The number of times I've turned up at the airport to pick up a five door hatchback (which I've found is usually the most convenient way of transporting a bike with two or less people and two bikes), and found myself upgraded into a 'luxury car' which can't fit a bike ... grrr. Anyway, good news in Tassie is that Autorent Hertz Tasmania is now offering campervan with quality (thule) bike racks.
The Tasmanian Government has released a Draft Cycle Tourism Strategy for comment. The Strategy identifies three priority areas to support the growth and development of cycle tourism in the State out to 2020: consolidating trails and routes; marketing trails and events in Tasmania; and providing the supporting infrastructure and services to provide the right experience once cycle tourists arrive.
The number of visitors to Tasmania undertaking some form of mountain biking activity has climbed to 19,447 (range 18,400 - 20,500) according to the June 2016 release of Tourism Visitor Statistics, an increase of around 75% since the same time last year.
The Wellington Park Management Trust has considered the results of the shared use trial of upper Middle Track and Pillinger Drive Tracks and had resolved to permanently convert the upper section of Middle Track from Radfords Track to Reservoir Trail to shared use for cycling and walking and to extend the trial of shared use on Pillinger Drive Track to the end of 2016 while it discusses how best to address user concerns with the City of Hobart.
The Tasmanian Community Fund is seeking to fund a range of projects (up to $50 000) that build or improve community infrastructure and this includes improvements to existing bike tracks/parks, construction of new bike tracks/parks or the development of infrastructure to support community use of bike tracks/parks.
Strava data for the first quarter of 2016 seems to show that the Blue Derby trails and the North South track are the most popular riding trails (amongst strava users) in Tasmania followed by the Meehan Ranges and the trails in the Kate Reed NRA. Tasmania's mountain bike trails are still a long way behind some of Victoria's and the ACT's key mountain bike parks.
This commitment seems to have morphed from writing a new MTB Strategy to developing a draft Tasmanian Cycle Tourism Strategy in the Premier's recently released Plan for a Brighter Future - Agenda 2016 which states that the draft plan will be released in the July to September quarter, 2016.
The Wellington Park Management Trust has approved the trial conversion of Pillinger Drive Track and the upper section of Middle Track (Reservoir Trail to Radfords Track) from single use to shared use (bicycles and walkers) for 6 months. The aim is to trial a new, off-road bicycle route between Fern Tree and The Springs.
"We have the most incredible volunteers, diversity of terrain, rivers, and views. The Penguin Bike Park is a success beyond expectations, but now we have the unique opportunity to develop and improve close to 30km of trails in the Dial Range. Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania has approved the project and detailed trail marking is under way.
"We need close to $400K to bring this to reality (normally this will be $2.4 Million project)
"If you know of any grant, government or private support project (or have any spare cash). Send us the information. Thanks for your time, Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club".
Echoing the burgeoning interest in cycle tourism in the region and the emergence of "world-class" mountain biking tracks at nearby Hollybank and Blue Derby, Launceston Airport has recently constructed its own “Bike-Port”.