If you’re not the most confident of riders, is it worth making the trip to Tasmania’s latest attraction, Maydena Mountain Bike Park?
Look. It has been a while. I call myself a MOTIL (Mother Of Two In Lycra) but when it comes to gnarly trails, I’ve been out of the saddle for years. Despite this, when an experienced and technically talented friend, suggested I join an all-mums trip to Tasmania to ride the new gravity park at Maydena, my response was “Heck yes!” Several weeks (and a few hundred dollars) later, I found myself at the top of a blue run, muttering “Holy hell! Holy HELL! HOOOOOOLY HEEEEEELL!!!!” and frantically digging through the recesses of my brain to remember how to negotiate a rocky descent.
An hour later I was high-fiving myself for making it to the bottom in one piece . . . and lining up to go again. That’s mountain biking. It’s terrifying, difficult, and completely addictive.
Maydena for beginners
For someone with skillz that are up to date and on point, Maydena is bliss. The trails allow you to challenge yourself and there are enough to keep you busy. At this brand new mtb park, one day is nowhere near enough. It takes a while to get from top to bottom and even the speediest riders will only be able to squeeze in a maximum of around seven runs during opening hours. For me, a 30-something working parent who learned to mountain bike in Canada a decade ago, I’m stoked to say I had a fabulous time. Riding a bike, it turns out, is like riding a bike. By the third run on the first day, I had regained my old confidence and managed to get from top to bottom without chickening out and walking the tricky bits. The flow of the green and blue trails at Maydena means there are no super scary surprises. You can trust that each track is designed to maximise your enjoyment while still giving you the adrenaline rush you’re looking for. If you hire one of the park’s brand new Canyon bikes, you can let the suspension take over through the challenging sections.
Should you ride Maydena?
While Maydena has plans to expand to accommodate a wider range of abilities, right now (March 2018) the first section from the top is a blue (mid-range difficulty) run. If you are an absolute beginner with zero physical fitness, and your friends always remind you about the time you tripped over something that wasn’t actually there, take a shuttle up to where the track begins, hang a right and head for the restaurant. Order a coffee, take in the amazing view and head home with no broken bones. For a novice who is keen to have a crack, my recommendation is to book a lesson before you unleash yourself on the trails. Learning from an expert will give you the skills you need to ride safely within your abilities. You’ll find out when to stand up in the saddle, how to position your feet when you’re descending and when you should grab sharply at the front brake (never do that on a downhill run).
Once you’ve had a lesson, you can decide whether you’ve been bitten by the bike bug or if you’d rather hang out at the bottom of the hill with some freshly made pizza and local Tassie beer. For the mountain bike initiated, the answer to ‘should I ride Maydena?’ is YAAAAASSS. There are few downhill experiences in Australia like it. The shuttles run regularly and the crew are focused on making sure everyone has a great experience. Put it on your list, you won’t be sorry.
Where is Maydena?
Never heard of Maydena? That’s not surprising. This tiny town of 200 residents is around an hour and a half inland from Hobart. There are a few different accommodation options if you’re planning to stay more than a day. These are mostly AirBnb leases owned by Taswegians who grabbed the opportunity to fix up an old logger’s cottage and rent it out for $$$. The mountain bike park itself serves coffee, beers and an impressive menu of tasty victuals. There is a general store the size of a postage stamp in the town but to make sure you’re properly fuelled for the weekend your best bet is to stock up on all your groceries, first aid supplies, and booze before you leave home. Unless you’re with Telstra, you’ll be cut off from your beloved social media apps when you’re in Maydena. Fortunately, Maydene mountain bike park offers free wifi so you can saturate your Insta feed with #ridemaydena #shredding, and #mtb4eva.