Tree roots an impediment, mountain biker says

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Root of the issue . . . Debbie Nehoff, of Levin, walks dogs Ali (left) and Klaus over exposed pine tree roots on Silverstream Track on Wednesday last week. The roots were a discussion point at a Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting the same day. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Exposed tree roots on a Mosgiel track present an impediment to mountain bikers, an enthusiast says.

AOK Wanderers mountain biking group founder John Fridd, speaking in the public forum at a Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting last week, said exposed pine tree roots were making it difficult for people to navigate a section of the Silverstream Track near Peter Johnstone Park.

Board chairwoman Sarah Davie-Nitis said she was aware of the issue.

“It’s close to my heart,” she joked, in reference to her having injured her arm after tripping on a root while running on the track last year.

AOK Wanderers mountain biking group founder John Fridd

Mr Fridd, of St Clair, said he had ridden mountain bikes on the track for about 20 years and the section had become “more gnarly because of the exposed pine tree roots”.

The roots had been a factor in a senior rider in his group falling from her bike and being “grazed and bruised” about two years ago.

The section needed to be smoother.

“I don’t believe it would take much to fix.”

The roots could be surrounded with boxing and covered in gravel or a boardwalk could be installed across the section.

If the section was smoother, Mosgiel would increase its appeal as a destination for mountain bikers and release untapped financial benefit, he said.

Mrs Davie-Nitis said the board would contact the Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council to see if the section could be made smoother.

When the Taieri Times went to see the track after the meeting, Debbie Nehoff, of Levin, was walking her daughter’s dogs across the roots.

When told of the discussion at the meeting, she said she thought the track should be left as it was – in its “nice and natural” state.

“Stop trying to make everything perfect . . . We are losing our naturalness in New Zealand by making weird, perfect places for people.”

She believed a mountain bike could be ridden over the section of track.

“If you can’t you shouldn’t be riding one.”