Last Wednesday, it was a rare privilege for me to take part in the opening of the Roger Packham Trail, the very first trail to officially become part of the Bright Mountain Bike Trail Network.
It has the authorisation of the Alpine Shire, the support of the local community, and the endorsement of the Alpine Cycling Club and it’s enthusiastic members.
The trail has been rated as a blue square trail designating it as more difficult. The details on how classifications are made can be found here on the IMBA website. Hopefully it will be the first of many such classifications in Bright. Those of us familiar with mountain biking in the area know how rich it is in single track; some of it sweet and flowing, some of it fast and furious, some technically challenging – but all of it guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
Brendon from Cyclepath recently told me of the frequency with which he has conversations with visiting customers about single track in the north east. They often assume they will need to go to Beechworth or Mt. Beauty for good single track. My immediate reaction (and I’m sure Brendon’s) was, “You HAVE to be kidding me!” But that’s the thing… it’s pretty secret at the moment. Exactly how good it is, isn’t widely known.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is it better to keep it quiet and enjoy the secrecy and solitute; or publicise this treasure and bring on the many cyclists and consequential business to the town? No doubt a source of ongoing debate.
This day was about remembering Roger and there’s no argument about making Roger’s trail public. Rog loved this swooping, fast and flowing trail and he finished nearly every ride with it. We lost him to sudden illness a year to the day before it’s opening, and the cyclists in the area will now always remember him as they ride his lines.
Here’s where we promised we’d do it. It’s lovely to see it come to reality.
So as not to repeat myself in this post here are my words from the opening ceremony for you to read separately if you wish. He was a strong and capable man and we will remember him dearly.
After the unveiling of the sign by Jenny Packham (Roger’s wife), nearly 30 mountain bikers of varying ages and abilities rode the track for the first time in it’s official capacity (without a crash or involuntary dismount that I know of!). It was a surreal ride and concluded at the swing bridge end of the trail where the trail-head is picture perfect (left). There were no doubt many thoughts flowing through the minds of those who knew and loved him.
If you’re ever in Bright and you ride a mountain bike… ride this trail and have a ride for Rog.
Local photographer, cameraman and friend of the Packhams, Glen Thompson, produced the following video for Jenny to help her and us remember this day.
R.I.P. Roger and enjoy the ride mate.