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ACT Environment’s advice to cyclists

We are very lucky in Canberra to live in such a cycle-friendly city. We can ride pretty much anywhere, but there are a few things to consider.

The ACT Environment is very accomodating. I think it’s worth noting their advice to cyclists. I will highlight interesting information from ACT Environment in the coming weeks. 

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Namadgi National Park, ACT, Australia
Namadgi National Park

“Mountain bike riding is permitted on formed (management) trails including fire trails and shared use trails. Shared use trails (multi-use tracks) are located in many areas including Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.”

ACT Environment, accessed 30/5/2020

“Always enter an area through a formal entry point (open/unlocked gate, style etc).
Do not lift bikes over fences or locked gates.
Please obey all safety or closure notices – they are there for your safety.”

ACT Environment, accessed 30/5/2020

The problem with ambiguity

Paths in the forest. Information or directional signage issues. Photo by James Wheeler from Pexel.com.
Paths in the forest. Information or directional signage issues. Photo by James Wheeler from Pexel.com.

It is common, however, to have gates that you climb through, and fences that have steps over the top. Clearly, this is a “formal entry point” but if the gate is incorrectly locked, then a bit of bike lifting will be required. Gates are often locked to keep out cars or prohibit the entry of 4WDs, which is otherwise permitted in some parts of Canberra. Private land owners can be most helpful in reminding us the reason a gate is locked. However, we are permitted to ride on management trails. A locked gate can be an oversight or lack of consideration for the cyclist.

Gate, Lower Molonglo River Corridor, Molonglo River Reserve, Stockdill Drive, West Belconnen, Canberra
Step-through gate, Lower Molonglo River Corridor, Molonglo River Reserve, Stockdill Drive, West Belconnen, Canberra
Swing gate, ANU Ionospheric Trail management trail, western slopes of Mount Stromlo, Mount Stromlo Forest, Canberra
Swing gate, ANU Ionospheric Trail management trail, western slopes of Mount Stromlo, Mount Stromlo Forest, Canberra
Fence crossing, close to Bennett Fire Trail, management trail on the western slopes of Mount Stromlo Forest, Western Canberra
Fence crossing, close to Bennett Fire Trail, management trail on the western slopes of Mount Stromlo Forest, Western Canberra

An example of this “lack of consideration” is Pipe Flat between Coppins Crossing Road and the National Arboretum. This road provides emergency access to the National Arboretum and that is why it is locked. The Molonglo River Reserve Plan confirms that recreational cycling is permitted in this area.

“Gates – I had to put my bike over a gate 9 times on this trip. You are warned! It would be nice if the ACT Government replaced some of them with grates.”

Molonglo River Reserve — Cycling Gravel
Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley, National Arboretum, Canberra. OpenStreetMap
Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley, National Arboretum, Canberra. OpenStreetMap

I hope the ACT Environment can fix the gates to allow easier cycle access. I have mentioned previously that information and directional signage is also neglected but something that can prevent accidents.

Ambiguity is one problem with ACT land management. The other issue is the lack of consistency. A little common sense is necessary, as with all things in life. 

Other matters

National Park

I have not done much about riding in the Namadgi National Park yet but I intend to. The distances are large and the hills steep but the views are spectular.

For remote areas the advice is the same as bushwalking:

“Please take all your rubbish home.
Take some drinking water with you.
Warm and waterproof clothing should be carried as high country weather can change unexpectedly any time of the year.
In more remote areas notify the ranger of your intentions.”

ACT Environment, accessed 30/5/2020
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Showing courtesy

In the ACT we are required to wear a helmet (even in a forest), “announce our presence” by calling out or ringing a bell, and avoid short cuts or form new trails. A little courtesy goes a long way.

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

5 replies on “ACT Environment’s advice to cyclists”

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