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Great Leap Forward – gather round, mountain bike enthusiasts

 

Great Leap Forward

Explore new mountain bike trails in Bramley National Park

Gather round, pedal power enthusiasts – the region’s blossoming mountain biking scene is set for another boost, with the opening of a wonderful new group of trails in the Bramley National Park.
By Norman Burns. Images by Elements Margaret River

As we were all kicking back next to a log fire with a glass of red in hand last winter, a group of workers were braving everything nature had to throw at them in Bramley National Park, just outside Margaret River township.

Their mission: in the most eco-friendly way possible, create a series of exciting, challenging but accessible trails for mountain biking enthusiasts, the latest piece in a fantastic recreational jigsaw that is putting the Margaret River region firmly on the map as a mountain biking mecca.

Now you might wonder if mountain biking is even the right term, given that the highest point in the new Bramley National Park trail is around 27m. A hill yes, a mountain no.

But as mountain bike enthusiast, Margaret River local and director of mountain bike trail design company Common Ground David Wilcox explains, there ain’t no mountain low enough to prevent the construction of an amazing dream land for mountain bikers, no matter whether they are expert or novice.

David says over the past five years, the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Margaret River Off Road Cycling Association (MRORCA) have been working tirelessly to deliver 10km of new trails to the region.  And so Common Ground, in association with Magic Dirt, set to work over what was a cold, windy and wet winter to create some magic.

MRORCA says the trails will cater for all levels, from fast, ‘flowy’ less technical green trails to a black descent that “will have you more time in the air than on the ground”.

So a lot of imagination has gone into making these rides – and their names – as gnarly as possible.

From the beginner-suitable Cut Cork to the Bender for intermediate riders to the Cash and Karri (geddit?) for the real guns, the Bramley Trail Network will offer something for everyone, as David points out in this guide below.

CUT CORK

Classification: Beginner – Green Circle

A great introduction to Margaret River Mountain biking. The trail forms a beginner, green graded loop, which takes in some of the best sections of contouring hill line alongside the Wadandi trail, and makes the most of a vantage point on the banks of the Bramley Brook and drops through dense karri forest on return. It can be ridden in isolation as a standalone loop or as a link out to the other trails in the network.

A RIVER SOMEWHERE

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Contouring along the banks of the Bramley Brook, A River Somewhere is a fast and ‘flowy’ piece of single track which takes in a variety of different forest and soil types. From tight vegetation to open woodland, karri loam to pea gravel; the changes in terrain and ride characteristic help to bring some of the variety of the West Australian mountain bike experience to the micro scale. With many optional stone-faced kicker jumps, bermed corners, and fast contouring sections, A River Somewhere will become a rider’s favourite.

HIGH HORSE

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

The climb which doesn’t feel like a climb! High horse flows its way around the eastern most end of the Bramley Trail Network. Through clever alignment and construction, the trail maintains the feel of a fast, flowy single track while all the time gaining elevation. Great fun in its own right (even to those averse to climbing), High Horse is an ideal link back up to trails such as Line Manager, Cash and Karri, WRC and Pugsley. Cut the trail and hit attack mode on the stone-pitched optional lines. Lap it up.

PUGSLEY

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Now including a massive wall ride (one of only two in Western Australia), Pugsley trail has a simple philosophy: fun, fun, fun, for everyone. Compact and overbuilt with pumps, pops and banked descending turns. The features are designed to be rolled, manualled, or jumped, with a large margin for error built in.

ROCK & ROOT

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Linking Cut Cork to Big Pine, Paper Trail and Bender; Rock & Root is a genuine old-school technical climb. The new trail incorporates

sections of the original and has a punchy middle section that can be attacked via the optional A-line.

BIG PINE

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Big Pine is Margaret River’s Top Trail. A regular in the Cape to Cape mountain bike event, it runs down the western side of the Bramley Trail Network. Big Pine is both fast and friendly, progressive yet forgiving. Fresh off a re-build this past winter, the updated trail has some freshly shaped jumps, some reworked turns and new stone-bedded river crossings.

BIG CLIMB

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Bypassing the dreaded fire road of days gone by, this blue-graded climb winds its way up to the start of Paper Trail, Big Pine and Bender. Thoughtfully constructed, the hill disappears as the trail flows on, allowing you to have fun, enjoy the stunning karri forest and focus on the turns over how much it burns.

BENDER

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

More natural in feel than Pugsley and Line Manager, Bender works the natural dips and compressions of the hill, combining flow trail fun with the subtleties and complexities of south west karri forest. Watch this one. Some of those corners come up fast!

PEDLIUP

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Pedliup is a more direct climb than High Horse, What Goes Down and Rock & Root. Aimed at the pedallers out there, genuine strava contenders will need to master the technical log ride to claim the crown. Clear this and the bulk of the climb is behind you.

WRC

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

A trail for the racer in all of us. WRC (world rally championship) incorporates many of the currently existing landforms found in the forest, including old logging roads, to create a trail with a more natural feel.

CASH AND KARRI

Classification: Advanced – Black Diamond

Drawing influence from the bike park flow trails of British Columbia; Cash and Karri brings the motions of a full-scale jump line to the smaller elevation profile of Bramley National Park. Running down a shallow gully, the trail incorporates step-down jumps, step-up jumps, a lofty right-hand hip jump, and even a boner log feature.

LINE MANAGER

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

Re-imagining the same patch of forest as the much-loved Manager’s trail of the past; Line Manager is a blue flow line which takes in high and low speed jumps and corners on its route down the hill. With a wider profile than other trails in Bramley National Park, and exaggerated rider motions, Line Manager is a rollercoaster of a trail and will be universally appreciated by a wide range of riders.

GOLDEN CARROT

Classification: Advanced – Black Diamond

Can you spot the golden carrot? Following the steep banks of a creek line at the western end of the Compartment 10 Trail Network, Golden Carrot is an advanced (black graded) climb, with enough stone and root to keep even the gnarliest mountain goats on their toes. Bringing the feel of the mountains to a hill not much taller than your average anthill, the Golden Carrot will have you cursing wizards and watching for witches as you fight to unlock it’s dark secrets.

WHAT GOES DOWN…

Classification: Intermediate – Blue Square

A real gem in the middle of the Bramley Trail Network, What Goes Down . . . links A River Somewhere with Line Manager, Cash and Karri, WRC and Pugsley.

PAPER TRAIL

Classification: Advanced – Black Diamond

Paper Trail is a black graded technical trail, running down the western face of the Bramley Trail Network. Incorporating flow elements in the flatter top section, and technical rock gardens lower down, Paper Trail brings diversity to the Compartment 10 Trail Network.

How to find the trails

  • The best place to start your Bramley National Park ride is the Margaret River trail hub, located at Rotary Park (see map opposite)
  • The Margaret River Off Road Cycling Association website also has the latest details on trails and hot tips for riding in the region at mrorca.org.au
  • If you want to get out and about on a mountain bike, but don’t have your own, there’s a great range of bike hire and tour options in the region. Check the Your Margaret River Region visitor centres or visit our Biking & Cycling Tours page.

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