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Serrata Track preview by Flow

jbsp1's picture

By jbsp1 - Posted on 26 November 2014

BT's picture

Cannot wait to hit this. Who knows if you can get to this Serrata track from the Dam side? Or do you need to drive into Forestville and enter via Currie road?

EDIT: Neveremind, just saw the post by danielschipper in the other thread.

azsthj's picture

Well done NPWS on opening something... All my life I can only remember 4WD and bike tracks, camping areas, etc, etc being locked up. Very pleasant change. Track looks sensational and just out my back gate. Thanks, hugs and kisses.

MC's picture

Gee they're doing a bad job of managing this opening if they're serious about keeping people off it.

Preview rides and advertising how good the trail is, accompanied by lots of pretty pics, with still no word of an opening date, just a vague notion of it being "in a few days" "this week" etc.

And they're getting pissed off that people are out riding it already?

Watto's picture

Says trailscapes Facebook page

spindog's picture

very soft opening....guess NPWS will make a splash once the eastern (Gahnia) trail is open??

dreggsy's picture

They put up the final signs on Monday, officially it will be ready to ride this weekend.

dreggsy's picture

They put up the final signs on Monday, officially it will be ready to ride this weekend.

bikemad's picture

be out of order to ride it tomorrow?Trailscapes says its open,ill be over that way but dont want to piss anyone off...

hawkeye's picture

So, yes, it would be out if order until the track is dry.

ingsyboy's picture

Anyone know how NPWS will be notifying people if it is closed? if not I will try and find an email or contact and post the response I get back. i.e. Twitter, FB etc.

Update: email-

Web site: click alerts.

Note it still says closed for both. I have requested info from them regarding Twitter feeds, FB page updates etc.

Pants's picture

I'd say that when the Dam is closed, so too will/should the Bantry Bay trails.

Signs were all in yesterday and the track is pretty fun to ride. The filter at the start is quite technical when hit at speed. Only wish it was longer!!!

bmar560's picture

bugger, I left home early for my commute this morning so that I could try it out. It started pouring when I hit the golf course wiggle, so had to do it another time.

Good to finally have more options for my lunch time or pre-work ride Smiling

danielschipper's picture

Unlike Manly Dam and other local trails this has has been built with rock armouring from top to bottom. I understand not riding in the wet / after the wet due to erosion but that does;t seem to be the case with this trail.


BT's picture

It would be good to have a trail that can be ridden wet. Most of us know the right thing to do in regards to wet weather riding and we stay off the trails when appropriate, so I'm keen to find out what the official stance on this track is from National Parks.

spindog's picture

yes there is lots of rock armouring but there's a lot of dirt to. usual rules apply, don't ride when wet! Eye-wink

bmar560's picture

I rode it after work to check it out. It was all good, not a puddle to be seen even though we had a fair bit of showers throughout the day. Saw a few riders enjoying themselves this arvo too.

Very nice and rocky technical trail(for me anyway) until you get to the bottom, rock face roll downs a plenty and tight corners. It's definitely not a beginners trail

ChopStiR's picture

The sign photographed in the link says "2 way" and "shared use".

Whats the chance of walkers on the trail? Can the trail be ridden in both directions or is there a one direction preference like Manly Dam?

Rob's picture

... see this sign:

Serrata Trail Sign

BT's picture

It's the connecting fire trail and return loop that's a shared 2-way

ChopStiR's picture

Cheers, makes a lot more sense.

Burt de Ernie's picture

I was so excited to ride this trail which I did this morning. I can safety say that I wont be riding it again.

What a disappointment. I thought that a purpose built trail would have awesome flow. I can hardly get my bars through the trees on the sides of the trail.

If it weren't for the signage one could easily mistake this trail for an illegal trail built be non-professionals.

It feels like this trail was built purposely to fail.

I don't get it...did I miss something?

hawkeye's picture

It's not a flow trail. Nor was it meant to be. Just because it's IMBA rated doesn't mean it will be a groomed, bermed, cookie cutter green or white rated flow track.

It's meant to cater for a different set of tastes.

I'm not sure yet if its according to my tastes, but others like it. IMBA guidelines cater for a broad church.

Matt P's picture

I'm with Burt on this. I found Serrata disappointing.

However Burt, I understand that both Serrata and Ghania are being used as a test to gauge how MTB trails in national parks might cope so hopefully if things go well, the next trail will be much better.

I haven't tried Ghania yet. Might pop along later today for a squizz.

goatman's picture

It does get a little better the more you ride it but generally a disappointing trail considering how good the other less legal trails are on the NB. Why the ridiculously tight corners at the start then pretty much straight lining in the last half.

As has been mentioned on here, I understand the restrictions, but here we have 2 legal purpose built trails on the NB that probably 70% of crew either can't ride or won't enjoy. Seems like a lost opportunity to me.

Simon's picture

They were getting about 700 riders a week last time we checked.

Not to everyone's taste but no trail will be. I think it's hit its mark as an intermediate track that's text book sustainable for this soil type. It is the subject of university research which will inform if any more trails will be built or opened up.

Riders have been averaging 20-30km a ride so are obviously linking it up with other trails.

I'd would be great if people can let me know their favourite trail in Northern Sydney and their favorite trail.

crank's picture

To say it is built by non-professionals is a big call! I thought they were very well made and signposted.

I've only ridden Serrata and Ghania the once as it's a big drive from Bargo but I thought they were excellent trails. I'm not meaning to put anyone down if they can't find flow on those trails but I felt the better you are at riding technical trails the more you'll enjoy S&G. And the more you ride them the better your skills will get. Smiling

The only issue I had with either track, and Manly Dam, was the complete lack of any rebound or compression damping in my forks. That made for a few interesting sections! I only run 720mm wide bars so they weren't a problem anywhere along any trail out there.

VTSS350's picture

That may be your opinion Burt de Ernie but its not even close to being correct.

I have never had an issue with my bars and the trees and I am running 760mm wide bars! I think you need to concentrate on your bike skills a little more!! Both tracks flow really well once your up to speed!

You say "I don't get it...did I miss something" yes you did, a great example of a wheel built trail for the first time legally in a national park!! It only gets better from now!

Burt de Ernie's picture


Your its was a big call and retrospectively unfair. I guess I was venting my disappointment.

My main concern was that I found myself concentrating on my bars due to trail widths when I`d rather just be enjoying the trail.

Burt de Ernie's picture

I don't know why you are attacking my bike skills especially because you haven't seen how well I can My bike skills OK.

Im just saying....are Canadians of NZ`ers going to go back home telling story's of how epic the serrata trail is?

I guess that's what I was hoping for.

dtm's picture

yes I agree very much a lost opportunity.... I think it is good someone is keen to tell the truth then blow smoke up the trail builders arse !
I can ride both trails without getting off and happy to say that they lack flow and imagination , if you gave the builders of the possum or daisy duke half that amount of money , I am sure the trails would have been 10000% better , The corners are just really badly designed and I have ridden in NZ , all over AUS , Swiss Alps , Tassie and yes no one is writing home about how good the trails are and planning overseas trips to just come ride them.

Hey I am stoked that we have these trails and happy to ride them and yes do have fun but agree the trail builders are not up to scratch when you compare them to other trails in the area or all over Aus ,, and yes I understand that they have to work with what they have but I understand this more than most as have built a few very popular illegal trails in the local area .

goatman's picture

Don't dare disagree with the general consensus on here mate!

I think some of the commenters need to ride a bigger variety of trail than the Dam and Terry Hills Smiling

spindog's picture

the top section is reasonably challenging and the bottom section’s a doddle. looking at the very first map NPWS published Serrata would have been a more mellow (beginners) trail starting right at the Currie rd gate and gently contouring down the valley until it hit the fire trail at the bottom. for reasons that aren’t quite clear (I could speculate but won’t) the trail start was moved to just inside the park boundary which necessitated a redesign and that dictated some switchbacks to loose the height necessary to meet the original alignment
I think the trail builders have done a sensational job given the really tight constraints imposed on them. the alignment was already chosen and every element of the construction was mandated including materials, techniques, trail widths even down to which individual trees could/couldn’t be removed.

Ghania on the other hand has a more consistent feel to it.

Either way it’s a great first start for the NPWS project team and I hope we’ll see lot’s more projects like this in other locations.

if you haven’t already please take the time to provide some constructive feedback to NPWS and encourage more of these projects. email:

hawkeye's picture

The corners on some of the descending B lines are actually more difficult than the A lines.

Same issue with the switchback B line on the Golf Course singletrack over the road at Manly Dam.

Tight, heavily off-camber, sandy and loose, crevices and gaps that run parallel to your wheels, lines that tighten up on the exit, and rocks that will bite either rider or bike if you get it wrong.

Simon's picture

Opinions and discussion is all healthy. Just bear in mind the effort that has gone into these and the difficulty in getting something for everyone.

Instead of just saying this is crap etc and doesn't flow can you describe what you personally mean by it.

And name the trails you prefer. I've talked to a few of you via PM and it would be good if feedback can be constructive.

If it's not to your liking or favorite trail that's ok. Take from this NPWS serious commitment to riding and look at how far we have come. Public enemy number 1 in 2008. Be encouraged that once the studies are complete showing riding can be sustainable and that riders can be trusted in the bush (not shitting in the bush, selling drugs, smashing bottles, vandalizing cars, increasing local crime rates, squashing wild life, desecrating sacred sites, causing mass traffic jams near the bush, running over walkers on the trail, WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN OTHERS PERCEPTION OF US) more will come. The style of trail built is the only one that we could get approved as a first step.

Finding a trail everyone likes within the constraints of Bantry is difficult if not impossible. I have enjoyed the discussion of which is more technical, Serrata or Gahnia, which flows better and the opinions are opposing but valid for that rider.

We all know that the informal network extends from the beaches to Hornsby and that without it we would all be jammed wheel to wheel on a few short tracks.

What I want help with is using Strava maps and local knowledge to come up with a proposal to get official recognition and funding for the end goal of a network people will fly here for. Governments are great at supporting big picture stuff broken down into smaller steps. We just need to give them a plan to put their name on to help things along.

Gahnia and Serrata are paving the way for this.

Government is all about responding to community needs and taking on good ideas. For years however the strongest voices have been those who were fearful of us, the usual big developers and other professional full time lobby groups.

Here are examples of how rider led ideas given to government has influenced government policy and direction.

Our 2008 submission about Oxford Falls discussing issues and solutions was what got Mike Baird interested in supporting us and he referenced it in State Parliament during a 15 minute address. This got us a meeting with him and the Environment Minister. It also got referenced in Canada during the development of their policy.

Our discussion paper we presented to the Environment Minister in 2009 was the template for the NPWS 2011 mountain biking Policy and Strategy.

The short list we gave them of NSW locations seems to have informed NPWS eight priority mountain bike projects.

Ideas discussed with one of their Directors initiated their investigation into using the informal network and helped Yer Mum to be tolerated.

A day walk through with Directors and managers changed mindsets that All Mountain trails such as Yer Mum can be sustainable and considered in the future.

Documents written about dirt jump design principles and how safety is designed into the jumps has changed impressions of the activity with Council. Jumps that were uninsurable may become insurable if we develop the paper work that documents best practice design.

We can't sit back and expect government to deliver what we want and to think for us. Be actively part of the solution. Let's all work together and make use of the political process that is set up for this purpose.

The political process is a mystery to many which is why TrailCare was formed. Many of us do this in our day job for clients and know the ropes. Some of our clients in our day jobs include councils, State Government and the Federal Government.

But again TrailCare is just a bunch of volunteers and we do get a bit tired trying to think for all riders. We have members from across clubs and NobMob to consult with riders. We also welcome anyone with passion who wants to use that to get results.

Sinkes's picture

Well said Simon. Btw love the trails. What a great start to what could be. I look forward to more trails in the sirrounding areas.
Thank you.

Burt de Ernie's picture

There is always a bigger picture which is easy to take for granted and obviously my initial comments were born from a little selfishness and frustration.

Simons words brings perspective particularly the "The style of trail built is the only one that we could get approved as a first step" comment.

Whilst I stand by the intent of my original message that the new trails aren't suited to my riding style, I am truly thankful for the individuals and groups who poor their spare time into this cause so at least if nothing else, I have trails to complain about.

BT's picture

What I love about both trails is how they remind me of the previous unofficial trails in the area from years ago. They weren't overly flowing fast trails, but technical trails that you had to always be working hard to make the most of them (like Gahnia). Once you've ridden them a few times and got to know the ins and outs, more lines start opening up and you can get a real move one which is a lot of fun.

PS: Regarding Serrata, there is an unofficial B-Line that's opened up off the main trail at the bottom of the last A-line roll down. It's as if people just ride straight down the roll down and go straight, without turning left, then sharp right as is intended.

Should this line be blocked off?

Simon's picture

Hi BT,

Yes, all riders should keep an eye in the track and stop to fix up any issues. Note that we need to be careful about moving large pieces of bush rock to block stuff. This is fineable under federal law and why NPWS brought stuff in by helicopter. Fallen branches etc would be better.

As a community it is our track.

I find that when you stop off other helpful randoms normally join in and help out. Great way to meet likeminded people and builds community.

Reporting it on here is better than nothing. Better still would be to report that you fixed it and then others know it's an issue and can keep an eye out for it happening again.

This is something we were talking about the other day at TrailCare. Riding culture has changed a bit. Everyone used to keep an eye on things and get their hands dirty a bit more. As riding has become mainstream we have lost that a bit and need to get on top of it.

Bigger issues including tweaks to the alignment should be passed onto TrailCare or NPWS. This needs to be done with the trained trail maintenance crew.

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