Motorcyclists cutting up cycle track

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The motorcycle wheels have cut deep in this section of track.

It makes Allan Kelly cross.

He is chairman of Bike Geraldine, and the tracks along the side of the Orari River are a community asset, designed for cyclists, mountain bikers, walkers and runners.

They were not designed for two or four-wheel motorcycles – but motorcyclists have been using the tracks as a personal playground, causing extensive damage.

The tracks are used by locals and visitors and are central to the annual Geraldine mountain bike race.

Without the support of the regional council, ECan, the Timaru council, Geraldine Lions and countless man hours, they would not be there.

Now, motorcyclists are causing extensive damage – and putting users’ safety at risk.

Mr Kelly, a keen mountain-biker, said signs would be put up soon to warn motorcyclists to stay away.

If the signs were not successful, barriers would be considered.

The section above Flatman Road, inland from Geraldine, is the worst affected.

Other torn-up sections below have been smoothed by machine.

Mr Kelly said the side-by-side motorcyles were the worst, cutting deep into the tracks.

In some places, they were almost unusable by mountain-bikers – well used to rough tracks.

The tracks run from Vance Road, near the Orari Racecourse, all the way up to Burdon Road, near Woodbury.

Mr Kelly, also a Geraldine Lion, said the Lions worked very hard to get the approval of ECan to use the land beside the Orari River, and was grateful for their help – and machinery – in linking the tracks.

The Timaru council provided signage.

From 2006 to 2013 the tracks were maintained by Geraldine Lions and volunteers, but after severe gales in 2013 Lions sought the public’s help to clear up uprooted trees.

Later that year the mountain-bike committee called a special meeting to gauge support for a group to maintain the tracks – and extend them.

A committee was then formed, and it is seeking to become an incorporated society which will be able to apply for funding.

The tracks are sprayed twice a year by committee members and mulched .

Said Mr Kelly: “Without the vision and foresight, a lot of man hours, the many hours on tractors, mulchers, post drivers, front-end loaders and grader blades…the tracks would not be there.”

The tracks are also used for the annual Geraldine mountain-bike challenge from which $56,000 has been raised for different charities.

The tracks – rougher then – were first used by the regional council to get access to its river works.