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Home Featured Articles A Growing Voice for Sutherland Shire MTB Community

A Growing Voice for Sutherland Shire MTB Community

by Jason Lorch

Membership for the Mill Creek Trail Association is now open!

The Sutherland Shire of New South Wales has had a long history of mountain biking and has one of the largest mountain bike participants per LGA. Due to being wrapped and intertwined with National parks, this has been and is still an ongoing struggle and some may say, battle, for access to sanctioned mountain bike trails.

But there is one place that has grown and shone over the past several years thanks to its location and the mountain bike community, and that is the Mill Creek MTB Trails.

The folks at Mill Creek MTB Trails have created the Mill Creek Trail Association to act as a voice for mountain biking in the Sutherland Shire, it’s bigger than just the trails at Mill Creek and will take a “Shire wide” approach to all things MTB trails and access. By joining the club, your joining fee of $30 will go towards supplies for building and maintaining trails, volunteer trail days, and trail advocacy work for the Sutherland Shire.

A Brief History

Menai is a suburb in Southern Sydney, 29 kilometers south of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the Sutherland Shire, and was a very popular area to ride during the ’90s and 2000s. There were the usual cross country trails but also some legendary freeride features, of which these tales are told today around campfires by burly men with beards and plaid shirts with a far-off look in their eye… No, but seriously, they were legendary.

Unfortunately, the trails were shut down due to land management issues at the time. (Read a more comprehensive history here). Fortunately, a group of local riders worked tirelessly writing letters to relevant parties involved with the management of the land, and this eventually paid off. Through many negotiations, a new trail network was born and this has seen the return of mountain biking to Menai in the form of the Mill Creek MTB Trails.

To build and maintain the trails requires muscle and dedication, and this is how the Mill Creek Trail Building Crew formed. Originally formed by the Sutherland Shire Cycling Club, but has since grown to a larger community of riders who meet regularly to build and maintain the trails. This has provided a sense of trail ownership and land care that has seen the trails grow and flourish. So much so, the trails at Mill Creek experience incredible amounts of traffic and have become an iconic area for local riders as well as attracting riders from far afield.

To cut a long story short, the Mill Creek MTB Trails has a long history but is now at a very positive place with the landowners and management bodies. The trails are one of only a few in Sydney that are sanctioned and maintained regularly, offering a riding experience for beginners to intermediate riders. The Mill Creek MTB Trails have been a true success story for Sutherland Shire and are now progressing to the next level of trail care and development with the Mill Creek Trail Association, and this is where YOU can now get involved and become part of this growing community.

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Rock roll down, Mill Creek MTB Trails
Photo: Mill Creek MTB Trails
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Dan Greenwood and Mal Townsend sending it with style.
Photo: ©Sean Murray
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Above and below. The trails have even been graced with mountain bike royalty in 2019 with the likes of Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Luca Shaw, and Lois Vergier as part of the Santa Cruz Syndicate Team tour where they (Team Syndicate) rode with several different local rider groups and experienced local trails around the Sydney region. The legend himself, yes that is Greg Minnar riding the Mill Creek MTB Trails.
Photo: ©Cassandra Hannagan
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“Wait! Is that Steve Peat shredding the Mill Creek MTB Trails?” We hear you say. Yes, you are correct.
Photo: ©Ian Ganderton

What is the Mill Creek Trail Association?

The MCTA (Mill Creek Trail Association) was created to be a voice for mountain biking in the Sutherland Shire, it’s bigger than just the trails at Mill Creek and will take a “Shire wide” approach to all things MTB trails and access. MCTA wants to see Mountain biking and trail access grow in the Shire and although what currently exists now is great, there is much more to offer the MTB community.

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Always a good turnout at dig day.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Get involved and learn about trail building.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Thank you trail fairies, we love your work.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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The creating of the popular jump line, “Hit the Turps”.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Getting it done.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Concept to realisation
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Mill Creek MTB Trails offer some great feature to keep you on your toes and progressing.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Bottom of Hit The Turps jump line.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles

Why Join the MCTA CLub?

If you ride trails in the Sutherlandshire area and want to see more sanctioned trails, then joining the club will help provide a stronger voice for mountain biking in these areas. By joining the club, your joining fee ($30) will go towards supplies for building and maintaining trails, volunteer trail days, and the general running of the club. The club is run by volunteers so nobody is making a profit. The funds go entirely back into the upkeep and maintenance of the trail networks.

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Santa Cruz Syndicate event.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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Look what trail building can do for your physique!
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles

As a member, you will also receive invitations to attend members-only social rides and events, and also participate in the member’s annual survey (guiding what projects the club pursues), and be kept up to date with inside knowledge on local MTB projects and news.

To have a voice with landowners and stakeholders, MCTA needs member numbers, and to create more trails, funding is needed. As an incorporated club MCTA can accomplish both of these items with your support! If you ride the trails at Mill Creek, The Royal National park, or other areas of the Shire then MCTA needs you!

MCTA has chosen to adopt a financial model where members (or anyone) can contribute to specific larger projects as much or as little as they wish. Previous projects, like Hit The Turps, were largely crowdfunded and MCTA intend similar projects to be supported and delivered in the same way.

Put simply, the more members MCTA have, the better they can represent the entire local mountain biking community, and the better the collective chances are of partnering with landowners to deliver facilities for mountain biking in the Sutherland  Shire.

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Above and below. Specialized sponsored after dig beer and BBQ event.
Photo: ©Tyres and Soles
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To JOIN right now, hit the link here.

For more information or questions on joining MCTA, head over to their Instagram or Facebook page.

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