Off-Road Mountain Biking: A profile of participants, setting and preferences, by Gordan Cessford, 1995
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Rider Comments

These comments were made by riders at the end of the questionnaire, and contain a wide range of attitudes and opinions. No analysis was undertaken of these comments. They are included here with the text being close to the form in which they were originally made.


Most walkers I have encountered have been pleasant as we slow down and tell them how many more riders are following us the worse people to encounter are runners who will not move over at all even though you try to give them a wide berth. If you go to Karori Reservoir I have never seen people walking along the singletrack the other thing that should be looked at is signposting the tracks to warn people that mountainbikes use this area, also if a track is a loop type you should have it signposted to which direction you should go as to avoid head-on collisions.


Signs need to be posted alerting walkers of the possible activity of MTB. MTBs need to be aware of the possible activity of walkers.

If we take the attitude that Mountain Bikers will be responsible ie signs saying "thank you for your safe riding practices" or similar this will be far more effective to control MTBs than a negative stimulus sign in the order of 'No Riding' etc.

If the council and enforcing authorities produce positive expectancy advertising for walkers and MTBs these will only be a small group of people who will flaunt the conditions wanted.

I will be happy for further involvement/survey work.


Tinakori Hills closed to bikers but the place is empty/deserted/under utilised.


Tracks which are heavily used in the weekends by families such as the Orongorongo 5 mile and surrounding tracks there is a need for designated areas for mountain bikers and walkers as with Redwood Forest Rotorua.

However I do a lot of riding around Belmont Regional Park after work in summer and the weekends throughout the year. I only rarely come across hikers (3 this year) and even other mountain bikers. I would be most upset, annoyed if restrictions were placed in this area other than the usual closure for lambing.


Riders may be unfairly blamed for track damage - mot damage I see occurs mainly because the tracks aren't constructed to shed water properly i.e. no rain bars/ditches (Bikes do cause some damage however).

The Hawkins Hill - coast area is potentially a fantastic biking area - all it needs is more tracks - the Dump Road - Hawkins summit track is in very poor repair and needs attention.

This area seems unused and would attract little opposition if it was developed for bikers.

Wellington is easily the best city in NZ for Mountain Biking and it has a very large following here. A large proportion of the country's top racers live here - developing the available riding would benefit the sport greatly.


I hardly ever see walkers on tracks I frequently use. Walkers seem spooked by not hearing cycles approaching. It is usually a surprise to see any walkers, motor cycles/hunters on any tracks. Most responses are o.k. I guess signs warning walkers/cyclists would educate - (where there is a problem). Seasonal/Off season use of National Parks should be considered. Speed restrictions? One way (As used in USA). Younger riders need sense of responsibility - Educate. Bush Cycle Code.


I have tried racing, but I find I enjoy rec riding or the adventure style of race. I enjoy the outdoors and photography, perhaps this would be combined on some of the Mountain Bike tracks with photography spots, marked. I think Mountain Biking has a great future and I should have brought a bike earlier, but I do not want to see things, places spoilt. Careful planning and questioning all parties who use the outdoors will mean we can all enjoy the outdoors together and preserve the natural history.

I have been on a DoC Mountain Ride during the Summer and found this most enjoyable, meeting other riders of all abilities, ages, sex, it can be relaxing or a good fitness work-out. Please look at expanding these rides with good guides for future seasons.

Good luck with the survey, lets hope this outcome is positive for Mountain Bikes.


People and Bikes can't share same track. Something has to be done. e.g. warning walkers and Mountain Bikers therefore both aware.

Obviously some tracks are better for Mountain Biking rather than walking and vice versa.

Good this about Wellington - many tracks

- not crowded with other cyclists or walkers.


Mountain-bikers are emerging from the shadow of 'noisy trail bikes' at last. Environmental damage is minimal unless the area is especially sensitive or over-used (i.e. for races). Most bikers are courteous to walkers and I am awe-struck that we co-exist on Mt Victoria so well.

I have had some 'discussion' with irate walkers - generally with dogs - and point out the parallel of the wayward dog owner on Oriental Parade who lets his dog jump on people, shit on the footpath, bite and frighten children. There are wayward Mt Bikers as well but don't judge the majority by the minority.

Wellington is the best MTB city in the world, and one of the best regions as well. It isn't flat enough for some but thats geography.

MTB people tend to environmentally aware, educated outdoor-fitness types. Most are easy-going and enjoy the fitness and fresh-air attributes. Many spend $3000 on a bike and have no car!

MTB has fantastic tourist potential for the region - perhaps some effort could go into marking trails that take ages to learn otherwise.


Mountain biking on narrow walking tracks will/has created a recreational conflict of use situation. The speed of MBs in contrast to walkers will/has caused a number of accidents, unless some form of MB is controlled on walking tracks accidents will occur. Korokoro stream is a fine example - as is the Karapoiti Gorge.

Thanks. I hope your research is not a white elephant.


Mt Victoria - too many walkers who tend to under estimate the control you have on a mountain bike i.e. they always think you will hit them.


I would like to see good hard mountain biking on T.V. It would also be a good way to get across a good conduct message which needs to be promoted to new comers to the sport.


Riders need to be educated about not skidding up tracks, riding fast through walkers and general sensitivity especially when riding in larger groups which can be intimidating to walkers and like a pack of wild dogs to farmers.


As a basic conservationist I am opposed to allowing MTB riders into fragile areas - which tends to be most (native) forested areas, because too many of the MTB riders are grown-up children who do not show a great deal of responsibility toward their environment - access restrictions may be punishing 'responsible' riders, but being 'responsible' they will generally understand.

Education, of the damage that bikes can cause by bikers is important to help ensure protection of fragile areas.


I have never had any problems as a walker or biker with others on tracks.

Many tracks have been very little used in the past so their upkeep was hardly justified. But there do seem to be more walkers and bikers out there this year.

Many thanks for the map.


On tracks which are used by both, walkers and cyclists I'd like to see warning signs to remind people that each other are on the track.


I feel narrow, native walking tracks should bot be ridden on in Winter as the damage from bike tires will make a mess. Also I feel rules should be made and advertised publicly i.e. riders give way to walkers.


With new MTB bike purchases an 'Off Road Package' should be supplied with items such as maps of recommended routes, code of conduct on bike, detailing how not to damage trails i.e. no skidding etc.

Something like a condensed Wellington version of Kennetts Book 'Classic NZ MTB Rides'. Funding could be from a small levy on bike purchases such as $5 per bike, shared by wholesaler and retailer.

I can understand why DoC have their current policy on mountain bikes in National Parks. As long as alternatives are available it makes it even more acceptable. E.g. Access to Rangatawa Forest in the Ruapehu Area. I believe that a few thoughtless riders reflect badly on the majority. As such I hope the majority are not further restricted in, for example the Wellington Region.


I believe some walking tracks could be open to bikes at specific times. E.g. last weekend of each month for some tracks first weekend between March-October etc to spread the load with other users. Penalties for using them at wrong times to protect other users' interests. This would only be needed for high-use tracks and should be trialled with walkers being surveyed as well as bikers.

Thanks for the input - good luck with your research!

# 199

In all the places I've ridden over the years I've had no bad feedback from walkers I've met on the tracks I've been on. In fact I've found it is rare to meet anybody except other mountain bike riders on most of the tracks with the exception of very popular walking tracks e.g. Mt Kaukau.

If part of the objective of this questionnaire is to determine which areas in Wellington are most suitable for bike riding or if it is to try to establish the compatibility of walkers and cyclists on the same tracks, then people should be informed if any intended closure to cycles, of any existing facility as it would be a shame to do so without consulting the users of specific tracks. So, if according to this questionnaire Mt.Victoria for example was not one of the most popular off-road venues it would be wrong in my opinion to conclude that it would be an o.k place to close to cyclists if any specific place is to be closed to cyclists it should be publicized to allow feed back from those who use it.


I believe we should be working towards universal use of all tracks by all interest groups. They must all learn to co-exist. I would be agreeable to limiting use of some sensitive areas during winter but this should apply to runners as well as bikes. Keep up the good work!


Mountain Bike and other sports can be combined (Use the same areas). Most MBrs know where and when they will come across other users (walkers, trampers, etc) so they ride with a degree of caution. MBrs don't ride everywhere like mad men. They know that if they hit someone, not just that person but themselves will suffer.

If there are some areas that are walked and used by other activities to a much higher degree than MBrs,


I have come across a lot of trampers, walkers, runners while riding along tracks. I have never considered this a dangerous situation. We normally pull off to the side of tracks to allow them to pass. I always make a note of saying hi etc as I am conscious of reflection of mountain bikers on general public. I always stay and converse with runners about how far I've ridden, condition of track ahead etc. I do strongly feel that all tracks (*except for those with special circumstances) should be opened up to mountain bikers. (* i.e. replanting programme going on that could be damaged by traffic flow).

Mountain bikers enjoy the outdoors as much as your tramping enthusiast and are careful of their surroundings.


Thank you for the opportunity to have a say. Personally I haven't had any problem with any walkers I have come across on my rides. This is probably because I'm a shift worker and tend to ride mid-week which avoids the crowds.

I do think that popular walking tracks which haven't any room for passing such as the catchpool 5 mile track should be Mountain bike free. Any responsible rider should be able to work that out for themselves. I think information on lesser used tracks would help spread mountain bike traffic and would be a good idea.

Limiting access for specified times might give riders the chance to use tracks not normally open to mountain bikes and would be a good idea.


I would like to thank DoC for their time in putting together this survey. I have always enjoyed our National Parks whether I have been tramping, climbing or skiing. It seems to me that a opening up more of our National Parks to Mountain biking would be a great thing, as there is a whole wilderness out there to be explored which can sometimes take days to get to by foot.

If more tracks were opened up I agree there would have to be some control over the use of walkways, as they do need protection from ware and tear. As for the up keep of walkways are concerned I feel a small realistic charge should be placed on mountain bike users, similar to that of DoC hut users in National Parks. More education information on the use of DoC tracks would be of great use as there are still many misconceptions concerning Mountain bikes. I look forward to hearing about the outcome of this survey and thanks again for DoC positive outlook on this No.1 growing sport.


Park P.D. workers kick us out, walkers tell us to f*** off and there is only one steep narrow overgrown track for us.

# 301

I don't really go out off-road very often, especially lately that I've been busy. However I use my bike to commute around the city everyday, and usually ride to the tracks that I do off-road. To me it's vital to have access to areas close to Central Wellington.

I'm a climber and tramper before a Mt Biker so I feel embarrassed encountering tramper on the track because many bikers are brash when they roar past trampers. Any biker that intimidates me when I'm with my 3-y-o daughter can expect a fist in the face! You're welcome to contact me if I can help.


The area in Tinakori should be open to mountain bikers because the terrain prevents speed and there's no danger at all to walkers. Also the ground is so rooty environmental damage is limited. Walkers there and in Karori Reservoir tend to be normal unlike Mt.Vic.

The reason I do so much mountain biking is that after 14 years of riding my knees can't take it any more. Mountain biking offers everything and much more in terms of a replacement full time sport. I do it basically every lunch hour during the week plus a ride on the weekend with various like minded.

Despite intensively using areas close to the city we virtually never encounter walkers, mainly the odd runner. Often these people will not even look at you - resenting the intrusion. Never in riding 5 days a week has there been any accident with walkers or runners. We attempt to change their attitude by being friendly, courteous and passing carefully. Most conflict arises from their perception of an intrusion on serenity/pristine outdoor experience.

Environmental damage is minimal. Most is caused by rain which scours out up to a metre deep on Mt Vic. It affects any track and is not accentuated by mountain bike use. Some areas turn into muddy bog holes in winter e.g. Karori Reservoir. To a degree its self regulating but those areas could be controlled at certain times of the year. Given the limited numbers of walkers/runners. I can't see any possible reason why all groups can't use the same areas contemporaneously. Karori Reservoir is the most popular for walkers because its new. The main access track from Highbury to the windmill could have gates to slow down mountain bikes coming down, because that is one of the few areas of real danger to walkers/other bikes coming up, because speeds of 60 km can be achieved there. Alternatively ditches could be dug across the track to take water off and slow bikes down.


A lot of people who start Mt biking for fun end up using the bike for transport which is something the City and Regional Councils should be encouraging. e.g. I use my bike for commuting 80% of the time which would not have happened without the off-road riding and competition aspects and I know many other people in the same situation. People are much more likely to use bikes for transport if it also their sport or recreation and I think this alone is a good enough reason for the councils to encourage mountain biking wherever and whenever possible. Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinions.


My area is well represented at the National MB races but has no appropriate area for organising a race. The regional authorities are not cycle-friendly and seem to go out of their way to prevent cyclists from going off-road. This is making the situation worse. I think we gradually get used to it until we visit somewhere like Palmerston North which caters for cyclists - even encourages them!

I enjoyed the "Orongorongo Classic" very much and will be back again next year - hopefully I won't miss the Karapoti Classic this time.

I would love to see some of the trails and walkways opened up to cycling around my area - I'd be willing to research this further for you if you'd like some details.

Even if it meant just one day a year.


Mountain bikes should have the same right of access as other environmentally compatible users to all at DoC estate. With timeshare/off peak rules being applied where warranted. The human perception of other user groups will always be a limiting factor but with education and de-sensitizing through exposure, will become less of a problem.

After reading your "Draft Bicycles use Guideline" I feel you should be looking at things in a wider perspective - Section 1.4 describes what almost all forms of recreators do. The track itself has the biggest environmental impact user groups just damage the damage to a greater or lesser degree!


* Some areas should be out of bounds for Mtn bikes.

* Some areas should be multiple use i.e. Mtn bikes and walkers. Both walkers and Mtn bikers in these areas should be sensitive to each other.

* Positive action ie. areas where people can go mountain biking are opposed to always saying no biking here etc.

* Open up as much farmland as possible in the region for Mtn biking. Farm land tends to be excellent for riding - rolling, visibility etc. especially around the Wgtn farms where there are also great views. If there were specified routes through Wgnt farms (e.g. Mt Kaukau to Johnson Hill over Kilmister's Farm) then I'm sure the pressure would come off single walking tracks (e.g. Wilton bush, Mt Kaukau). Mtn bikers are far less likely to crash into other people on farmland (you can see them coming from miles away).


Racing - love it mostly because you can guarantee no one on the track whose not in the race. (can get a bit looser).

When riding/training good wide hill climbs that are challenging both in gradient and in technique required and downhills that require a bit less speed and a bit more technique.


In all my experiences mountainbiking I have not seen a better scheme or place to mountainbike than Whaka Forest Rotorua. In the large area that is Whaka Forest there are specially designed exclusive use MTB tracks which are mapped. There is an area for the exclusive use of walkers too. I feel that this positive recognition of the needs of MTBers is excellent, and not once in my time in Rotorua did I see either walkers or bikers abusing the system.

Such a positive attitude to mountain bikers would surely yield similar results in such a popular mountain-biking region as Wellington.

My second point is that the current conflict between walkers and MTBers especially on various high use points of Tinakori Hill & Karori Reservoir tracks for e.g. is damaging to the image of the sport & frustrating to MTBers like me. There are various large areas of Karori Reservoir for that are very seldom used by walkers yet other areas that are intensively used. I feel designation of tracks for their respective uses But Not banning use would be useful.

The Key to the MTB use debate I think is a positive attitude to a sport that will only grow in numbers as well as recognition of MTBers needs.

Town belt, Tinakori Hill, Wellington. The area has extremely technical fun trails that are excellent for MTBing however no provision is made for cyclists' use. Conflict is encountered when walkers do not understand/respect the natural tendency of MTBers to enjoy the trails too despite them being banned.

My ideal ride would contain a mix of single track through native/pine forest at a fast pace and an extremely challenging uphill (e.g. Mt Climie) as well as technical downhills (a la Hawkins Hill) around 2½ - 3 hours. A relaxing piece somewhere in the middle (like Karapoti between the end of the Devils staircase and B$ the Dopers Creek final climb) would be good. Karapoti probably is the closest to my ideal ride.


Mountain biking is not incompatible with walkers. However some areas could be designated walkers' right of way so riders would slow down for blind corners.

Environmentally sensitive areas could be designated 'soft' riding areas i.e. no heavy breaking, carrying bikes over bad bits.

If the area is too environmentally sensitive for biking then there should be no walkers either. They have similar impact. Walking tracks that have gravel on them are not damaged by normal biking. However they could be damaged by deliberate heavy breaking. An occasional, easy walking area could be designated walking only, so that old people or families don't get scared.The making of walking tracks (shingle, drains, culverts; 4wd Motor bikes has more impact on the environment than Mtn biking.)


I've recently become interested in racing and have been training at lunch time on tracks close to Wellington Hospital.

I rarely if ever see other users (o.k its Winter and mid week. In the last week I've met 1 runner and 2 people exercising their dogs - the people were both standing with hands in their pockets while their dogs crapped on the track.

With a little imagination, and some PEP workers, Wellington could have a one way, all weather Mountain bike track within the green belt system that would take hours to ride, would serve hundreds of people and be the envy of the world - and still preserve our walking tracks.


I would hate to see Mountain bikes banned from riding the terrain they were created for, challenging narrow single track. I think seasonal closures would be a good idea on some tracks which get particularly muddy during winter and could be damaged. Maybe on particularly crowded tracks Mountain bikes could be allowed for slow riding only. (But obviously this is not necessary on the vast majority of tracks). Mountain bikers like to enjoy the scenery and bush too, but we have to respect other trial-users rights as well.


There are a number of young casual Mtn bike riders unaware of track etiquette who have created conflict on multi-purpose tracks - an education programme is needed for these riders. Signs on all tracks outlining riding behaviour would assist in alerting these riders to what is acceptable behaviour. The code published on the Wellington Regional Council leaflets is most appropriate.


Re mixed usage:

In my experience, the presence of trail-bike riders, horse riders, walkers and mountain-bikers is insurance against accidents and loss of equipment - there are more people around to help. When walking I find bikers slightly annoying unless they make an effort with a greeting. Bikers tend to have an 'inward-looking' style in the outdoors, as if they are competing rather than co-operating. Hunters are a bit like that, too.

Re 'Favourites'

I have shown the favourite short rides. The longer rides are much less common, and access, interests for non-riders and non-experts, etc are all factors then. Karapoti provides well in those areas.


Thank you for the opportunity you have provided me to voice my opinions. This form has had input from my own experiences but has been supported by several friends, fellow mountain bikers! Nature, scenery and all its beauty is something very precious to us all and plays a major part in our hobby so therefore the preservation of both it and access to it are equally important to us.

As you may have noted from my earlier comments both walkers and most importantly motorcyclists can be the greatest dangers. With some signposting saying "tracks used by walkers and m'bikers, stay left, be vocal when descending, no motorbikes (These signs need to be in some obscure places, motorbikes get onto Hawkins from all sorts of places).

One idea, the main track from Denton Park to the new windmill has a lot of walkers, especially weekends, how about no descents on weekends! Or what about developing the other track on the opposite side of the fenceline?

I am more than happy should you wish to talk further or discuss any comments.

Favourite - Smooth, fast technical, good scenery etc. But when M'biking mixtures of good/bad fast/slow climb/descent forest/bush. You name it, you can encounter it all in one ride! But hey? Isnt that M'biking?


I feel Wellington has the best areas for Mountain Biking to offer in N.Z. that is close to a major city. With the right management, these areas will be maintained with hopefully new areas opening up. I for one respect other uses of tracks and ride carefully when in Native forest areas. i.e. Not to tear up the track etc.


Theres too many walkers who think they own what they walk on. And there should be just as many riding tracks as walking. I've never heard of a mountain bike tracks with no walkers or motor vehicles allowed (this ought to start).


As a tramper myself I would like to say that many fellow trampers have the perception (false) that Mountain bikes because they are going fast are out of control. Hence their phobia of being run into. Note: this appears to be a result of the walkers inappropriate action if it does occur.


I feel that New Zealand's native flora and fauna should be open to the caring public in this country, walkers, trampers and mountain bikers.

But I think mountain bike riders are classed by the average person as mad idiots with no consideration or care for plants, animals or other people. This could be caused by a radical few (me sometimes to).

So in the near future Mountain Bike Clubs and riders should help organisations like DoC or NZ Forest Products to provide legal, separate, specialised tracks, information, maps etc. for bikes through native or pine forests. So that Mountain bikes and walkers can enjoy New Zealand.

With this in mind could you possibly give a contact name and phone number at the Dept of Conservation in Whangarei, so that I can start to help.


I have been riding Karori Reservoir, long galley and Hawkins Hill - Red rocks via the fire break up from Denton Park in Highbury for years. These are my favourite areas - great rides, easy access (no hassle with driving anywhere).

I can see a conflict with walkers as this area is opened up for walkers and with the sightseers visiting the wind turbine. I think its crucial that this access remains open for Mountain bikes.

I'm not one of the riders that comes down that fire break at 60 kmh (there are too many other good descents) but I fear we will loose the right to ride up there, if too many walkers complain. I would welcome any solution.


Thank you for asking for our comments. I hope you get excellent response to the questionnaire.

For 2 years my wife and I were members of the West Auckland MTB Club and during that time we had a great number of rides with people who were less than ½ our age. We were always accepted as one of the "lads"; no problems if we were a little slower than the rest. The only reason we left the club was because recreational rides decreased to zero and the club became solely a racing club, with great success I might add. I have no problems with that, but it wasn't really our scene.

We did notice and often brought to the clubs attention that damage to tracks etc was primarily done by the young lads (12 to 16 year olds) fresh from BMXing and skidding mud, but its a hard job convincing them.

We believe that the biggest growth area is recreational riding - clubs are not doing enough work in that area (although I know of some which do) and that there should be plenty of areas set aside where MTB can be provided, both for races and recreational riders.


85% of the MTB movement is made up of recreational riders. Only 15% is in the racing division. Therefore we need to keep large areas of forest and other tracks open for recreational riders. We must also ensure with the racing riders and possibly restricted because of the damage and reputation that goes with racing. Even though I use the word damage here I still consider that overall even the racing division causes no more damage than walking feet.


I would like to have a map produced that defines all the tracks we can ride and how and where whom etc. we get permission from. Better still it would be nice to not have to get special permission to ride. I feel I'm a responsible rider and I look after the environment. I just want to be out there in it and don't want some idiot messing it up for me by riding rough and upsetting people who own or look after the land. Land owners seem to get upset by stupid MX bikers and the like then just ban everyone assuming they are all alike. It would be nice to know all the places we can go without upsetting someone or having to get permission prior to going out.


I'm not convinced that mountain bikes do "environmental" damage and if they do the environment would soon heal itself. However they do damage walking tracks - especially steep downhills (where locked wheels cause a groove) and flat stretches (when its wet and track is not well constructed).

Perhaps bikes could be allowed on all tracks in say March or April each year before they go soft. Just for a month. e.g. like a duck shooting or white baiting season. Bikers happily pay $20 to enter races every second weekend so I'm sure they's pay $40-$50 of more towards track maintenance for the privilege of riding something like Abel Tasman.


I initially took up cycling to keep fit and commute across town in Melbourne. My first MTB actually requested slick tyres. Eventually I got more and more off-road until the last few years when I've gone absolutely crazy on it. I think it was mud/excitement/scenery/physical that did it. I don't think I'll ever race as I'm too aggressive in a car and don't trust myself - probably get too exhausted, too pushy and hurt myself. I prefer to cycle alone as my friends can't keep up and prefer the sole challenge of pacing myself. I would love to see cycleways everywhere with a better image and respect from motorists. I don't mind bright clothing but I hate the posing aspect of shiny bikes with the latest bars and sponsors names all over clothing and sunglasses etc. In on seal, which is very rare these days, I tend to race and chase everyone in sight because my pace is fairly quick and I'm quite fit. I was thrilled to get this questionnaire in the mail as I especially appreciate the map as I thought I'd run out of places after studying maps and reading the NZ Mountain Bike Classic Rides Book. I generally do most of my riding at strange times to avoid others e.g. lunch times Monday - Friday, or first thing in morning or sometimes last thing at night. I especially avoid tracks like the Incline or Pencarrow on weekends (unless the weather is really bad) to avoid walkers, beginners or posers, 4WD and trail bikes. Sharing is an interesting issue: take the Cannon Point Rd or the incline. Walkers don't usually keep to the side, downhill mountain bikers are dangerous in these circumstances. At least with motorbikes and 4WD you can hear them. Slower bikers are also a hazard to other bikers as there is a tendency to believe you have an entire area to yourself e.g. riding 4 a-breast on the Incline.

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