When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride at a fun destination, like Christchurch Adventure Park with kids, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great day’ on the bike with kids there are simple things to think about, plan and do.
In this story we are riding in the Christchurch Adventure Park in Christchurch on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Isaac 11yrs old – new to riding an adult size full suspension mountain bike and learning to jump.
Christchurch Adventure Park
Where is it? Located on the Port Hills in Christchurch at 225 Worsleys Road
Opening Hours: Summer weekdays 10am to 8pm, weekends 9am to 8pm
What can you do or get?
- 25 downhill bike trails accessed via a Gondola that takes mountain bikes
- 1 climbing track
- bike hire
- coaching/lessons/holiday clinics
- pump track & trampoline
- zip lining
- sightseeing (gondala and walking trail)
- great cafe
Cost: There is a cost to ride in the park. There are a huge range of ticketing options depending on what you need. Anything from a single lift pass to an annual membership.
We rode on a Family Day Pass, $150 for 2 adults, 2 kids, unlimited lifts for the day of the pass. (Price quoted is for Jan 2020).
Please note that child seats attached to or being towed by an adult bike are not permitted in the park.
Gear You Need
First things first….to be allowed on the Gondola at the Adventure Park you need to be over 1 metre tall and able to self load your bike
BIKE: A full suspension mountain bike is recommended for use in the park. At a minimum a trail style full suspension bike will allow you to ride the beginner and some intermediate tracks in comfort. Anything above this level is best ridden on a downhill full suspension. Bikes are available for hire.
PROTECTION: A performance level helmet that matches the type of riding you are about to do. Many riders chose a full face helmet (helmet with chin bar covering the entire face). It is compulsory to have closed in shoes. Gloves, knee and elbow pads are recommended. Gear is available to hire.
SKILLS: These types of riding days, where you get assistance to the top – by gondola or shuttle are all about the downhill. To enjoy your day you need to be confident up off your seat in a balanced yet relaxed riding position. You need to be used to braking and cornering. Jumping is not an essential skill but the majority of the tracks give you the ability to execute this technique. On some tracks jumping skills are a must as there will be gaps in the trail and no easy route or “out” option – please be aware of where you chose to ride!
An extra layer of clothing is recommended for the gondola ride, which can be cold especially if you are sweating from previous rides.
Full suspension mountain bikes are recommended for the park
Match your helmet to the level of riding you are doing
Choosing the Tracks to Ride
To have a good day prepare by getting familiar with the map, park layout and where you want to ride. The park has been well designed for progression in riding. There are trails from beginner mountain biking to pro line expert.
Be aware of the colour coding on the trails and always follow the signs.
- Green – beginner
- Blue – intermediate
- Black single diamond – advanced
- Black double diamond – expert
- Red triangle – pro line
The park has done a huge amount of work on their signs and information about tracks to keep you as safe as possible. Keep water intake up and be aware of anyone in your group getting tired. It may be downhill riding but it is still really physically challenging. Take a break for food and check your child’s energy levels – when they are tired or not concentrating the mistakes can happen.
Tracks We Rode
Whenever you ride in a new environment it is really important to warm up and get used to what you are doing with your first run. Take it slowly and be prepared for obstacles.
Track selection is totally up to you and the people you are riding with. You can chose to ride the same track over and over again to learn it and get the most fun out of it. Depending on the ability of the child you are riding with, this may be the best way to start.
WARM UP – BEGINNER TRACKS – As you exit the gondola, still facing up the hill, the beginner tracks are found to your left. Duncans Donuts is the name you are initially looking for. This leads into Active Rest and Non-Compliant with an option to include SnakeObs which is a more technical beginner track – fine for any child who has experience mountain biking down switchbacks.
The beginners tracks are all wide, open, dry loose gravel/rock tracks. They have an easy steady descending gradient and lots of switchbacks. This is a great way to start the day to get used to your bike and get your confidence up.
INTERMEDIATE RUN 1 – Heading this time to the right or as you exit the Gondola pass the map board and head down into Summit Connection. This track takes you along the hill top to the second half of Flying Nun which is a speedy flowing track. After Flying Nun you will connect up with Choir Boy – a wide cross hill track that leads you to all the interesting stuff. We paused for a rest then looked for the intermediate ‘flow’ tracks. Name This Trail, track #15 was the first one we tried. Around 2.5km of machine built single track through pine forest. This was Isaac’s favourite track – one he choose to return to and ride again later in the day because of the jumping. It was at a really manageable level for someone new and practising this skill.
INTERMEDIATE RUN 2 – Taking the same route to end up on Choir Boy we followed this track all the way to its end point. Here you take Loess Rider down 2.6km of great flowing fun. This is my track of the day.
The Adventure Park website holds a lot of information and videos of some of its tracks. A great page to check out is the Track Preview Page.
To be safe make sure someone in your group carries a basic biking first aid kit. The emergency number for assistance is 0508727572. When riding with kids it is always good to be prepared especially if it is a new environment.
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Map of Christchurch Adventure Park
Warming up on ‘Active Rest’, beginner track
Does it fit?
The location of the Christchurch Adventure Park makes it very easy to get to. So you can be enjoying a mountain bike experience with the kids that doesn’t put you in a remote location. The network of tracks gives you lots of options. It does however take time to complete a run. The Gondola ride is around 10 mins and depending on how fast you can ride with your child and how fit they are or tired they are…a downhill can take over 20mins. Add into this rest breaks, food, toilet stops or any bike repairs needed and your day disappears pretty quickly.
Christchurch Adventure Park with Kids
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