When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride 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 – Codgers Mountain Bike Park (Nelson) on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Rhea 12yrs old – mountain bikes occasionally, Isaac 9yrs old – mountain bikes occasionally and Roman 9yrs old – first time mountain biking.
Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
youth mountain bike helmet

Where is it?  What is there?

Located 1km from central Nelson up the Brook Valley on Brook Street.  Just look out for the map board and the wide trail start of the Dun Mountain track.

Parking can be found further up Brook Street, by turning left into Tantragee Road, next to Riding for the Disabled where Nelson City Council has developed a car parking area with toilets and bike washing/repair station.

Codgers Mountain Bike Park is run by Nelson Mountain Bike Club in partnership with Nelson City Council.  The lower beginner and family friendly tracks do not require a permit to ride in but be aware that other areas require you to be a member of the club (HotBox/Smasher/Lollipop/Turners/Fringed Hill Rd).

If you need to hire bikes see Trail Journeys in the Millers Acre Centre, 37-39 Halifax Street…or Torpedo 7 on the corner of Rutherford & Bridge Street….or if you would like to be guided see Gravity Nelson.

The ride – is it doable for you?

This park has something for everyone. It is a matter of working out what will work best for your family.  For first time riders the layout of the bike can be confusing so find a map and study it before you go.

Biking Distance?  The length of this ride is entirely at your discretion you have an extensive network of tracks spread out over 3 hillsides.  These tracks range from grade 2, easy, to grade 5, advanced, but if your kids don’t mountain bike as a sport they will be restricted to the easy to moderate tracks at the beginning of the park.

Biking Surface/Biking Skills required/Level of biking fitness:  Once you leave the main trail (Dun Mountain Trail) basic mountain biking skills will be needed but again the easiest tracks are well designed for beginners.  Just be aware that the tracks will be narrower, have more challenging undulations, climbing sections and tighter corners so ideally your kids should be riding a bike with gears.  The biking surface of the suggested route to follow is mainly compact clay/dirt with a few gravel sections to contend with. This park has no flat beginner loop or section.  To get to any trails you must climb on a steady ascent for 10/15mins.

Can you ride with Kids Attached? This is a ride that you can enjoy with kids being towed or attached to your bike.

Some additional support may help get the kids riding in Codgers Mountain Bike Park.

    • For independent riders : The Tow Whee Tow Rope may help assist getting them up a hill, or keeping up with older siblings.
    • Attached to your bike: The Shotgun offers you the ability to enjoy the mountain biking park with your younger kids. You will need to ride to your ability making sure you are keeping them safe.

Compacted, groomed, wide climbing trail – Dun Mountain Track.

Some Trails that our group enjoyed.

For younger and/or beginner riders:

Either from the Brook Street entrance or the Carpark, The Dun Mountain Trail, gives you access to the park & beyond.  It is a wide, smooth continuous climb for approximately 10mins – a perfect introduction to off road climbing on a bike.  No kid likes to climb so you may need to stop for several morale/water breaks along the way.

You are looking for Tasman Journeys, the first track on your left that is sign posted and not a track exit (be sure not to start climbing up a track that is designed to be ridden down, & note, if you do this loop you will be coming down one of these).  Tasman Journeys is a switchback (tight cornering) climbing track that takes you up to a height of 426m.  This section is the most challenging of your climbing.  All 3 kids I had with me on the day had to stop and rest (and complain).  The second time they climbed it with grins and enthusiasm – great what a bit of adrenalin and down hill speed can give you.

About 10mins into your climb on Tasman Journeys you need to look out for the left turn into Crazy Horse. 

Crazy Horse is a purpose built 672m of descending track with wide sweeping corners.  This is a great way to teach people new to mountain biking about cornering.  It is rated an intermediate track because you need to maintain control through lots of turns.  Wide corners are made to ride wide or through the outside of the bend.  So try to teach the kids this, to keep them out of the inside of the corners where the gravel and stones tend to fall to.

The track ends on the Dun Mountain track you have just climbed up – so now it’s decision time because if you cross the track Lower Crazy Horse carries on down to the very bottom of the hill (more of the same with some fun little flowing sections).  However, you can choose to climb 50m up Dun Mountain track and you will be at Tasman Journeys again.

If they are enjoying themselves and have more energy you can continue through the park on the Dun Mountain Track to Tu Meke a 745m rolling, flowing little gem of a track.  This was the favourite part of our ride for all the kids. If you do choose to do this you will hopefully have some smiling excited kids, talking about what fun that ride was… 15 to 20 more minutes depending on how often you stop and how fast you are climbing up the hill.

 

For intermediate riders:

There are just so many options! Climb into the park on Tasman Journeys and when you hit the 4WD road you can turn left and head towards P52 (fun flowing downhill track).  Turning right you continue to climb to a skid site where your options are Firball, Hulk & Hogan, Turners (leading to a jump track down into Maitai Valley)… and more. Basically you need to come and give them a go and find your favourites.

Climbing on the Dun Mountain Track

Kids enjoying riding trails to match their level

Sign posts found throughout Codgers Mountain Bike Bike explaining trails

Be safe and comfortable when riding in Codgers Mountain Bike Park.

How far you are venturing away from your base will determine the amount of gear you need to carry. As the riding network is quite extensive it is good to be prepared so you can manage any situation. Whether that be an injury, energy or water requirements. Also the option of layers to ensure everyone is riding at a comfortable temperature.

Enjoy the experience and have fun

Some things to look out for on the

  • The options with the loops we have talked about are great.  We know kids (pre-teens/teens) that spend their entire afternoon doing loops of Crazy Horse – going faster, lining up jumps, generally just playing around.
  • If you are making a day of it in Nelson, right at the end of Brook Street is the Waimarama Brook Sanctuary 
  • Let the kids lead the way.  Let them find the tracks and work out what signs and names they should look for along the way.  The signs in this mountain bike park are well done so are perfect for those new to map reading.
  • If you get high enough there are some great views over Nelson City out to Tasman Bay to enjoy

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