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Mountain biking is becoming more and more popular in North Otago, and there are plenty of tracks to explore across the region. John Shaw uncovers one of Oamaru’s “almost secret” tracks that offers some of the best views in town.

Mountain-biking tracks at Cape Wanbrow, the Oamaru Reservoir and Herbert Forest are well known to most people, but the newer Link Track has largely flown under the radar.

The Link Track concept was created by Mountain Biking North Otago about four years ago for the local mountain-biking community as a means of getting from Chelmer St to Reservoir Rd by riding almost entirely off road.

The Link Track ride is predominantly on purpose-built mountain-bike tracks, to avoid riders surprising other users on the gravel paths.

While there are features such as jumps and steeper terrain in parts, these are all avoidable.

The only thing that is not avoidable is the good level of fitness required when riding some of the uphill sections.

Of course, you can dismount and walk – there is no shame in that, although there are no excuses for the increasing number of e-bike riders in town.

Those in the know about this “almost secret” will be well aware of the tremendous bird life, wooded areas and fabulous views of the town and harbour.

Look for the little blue “Link Track” signs to help you navigate the trail.

HOW TO GET THERE

Enter the Link Track at Chelmer St via the driveway opposite the entry to the Oamaru Public Gardens, to the left of the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park. Ride past the pound and on to the track to the left side of the driveway.

After a short climb, you will go through a gate and then the track goes straight ahead. Do not turn right up the gravel path.

Eventually you will join the gravel, where you turn left and follow this track all the way to the Observatory Retirement Village.

The track then follows the road in Stoke St and crosses Eden St. Continue along Stoke St before heading off-road again on the newest section of the track, behind the white fence at the top, beside the Vintage Car Club.

Follow the track down to, and then cross, the gravel path. Partway along this part of the track there will be signage indicating an advanced “steep, technical” descent or an “easy out” option. The easy out option takes you on to the gravel path for a relaxed descent to the bottom of Glen Eden.

Uphill . . . The Link Track goes through Glen Eden Reserve.

At the bottom, both these options turn left and follow the track all the way around and up into the treed section, and ultimately Reservoir Rd.

There is a stile near the top of the track should you wish to explore Glen Warren and enjoy the wonderful views that it offers.

The Link Track is fast becoming more than simply a link track. With the new lines and features that have been added over time, it has fast become a great ride in its own right.

Get out there and enjoy it in both directions.

For more information on the Link Track, or other mountain biking tracks in North Otago, visit the Mountain Biking North Otago Facebook page, or call John Shaw on 021 439-778.

  • John Shaw is the Link Track co-ordinator for Mountain Biking North Otago.