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Great Rides: Sanders Reserve – Revisited

March 1, 2011
Sanders Reserve Visitors Centre & Carpark

Looking East through the swish carpark to the access road.

This is a follow-up to my initial impressions made on a visit over the Christmas break. I heard from two sources things had been happening so I hopped on my CX bike and rode over there. That is a story in itself. Paremoremo Rd is a really pleasant ride if you don’t mind a few hills. The countryside is beautiful and all is at peace with the world until the first car blasts past you. There has been a lot of ill feeling in the area about the establishment of a “bike” park on land predominantly used for dog-walking and also well-suited to horse-riding. I don’t know if that was a factor but I swear 1-in-10 cars would attempt to pass me as closely as possible, and at open-road speeds that’s more than scary, it’s virtually homicidal behaviour. There is a nice wide verge on much of the road but there are narrower sections and next time I’ll be using a rear vision mirror to keep an eye on the approaching idiots.

Sanders Reserve Landscaping

Looking South across the Visitors Centre entrance toward the Kids Trail.

I have been unable to find out the anticipated opening date and the park is still “Under Construction”, but much work has been done in the last two months. The gap in the fence down by the main gate has been blocked by a bollard, but judging by the amount of cars at the end of Sanders Rd this wasn’t discouraging people.

I rode up the access road and cresting the hill was confronted by an impressive looking children’s trail and a much-improved carpark. A neat feature is a protected pathway running through the middle of everything so you don’t have to ride through the carpark to get back to the family vehicle or the gate.

The kids trail runs all the way up to the visitors centre and continues around the corner. It’s like a big flattened BMX track with bermed corners, a few mellow bumps and a multitude of twists & turns. I think the littlies are going to love it. You can see the whole kids trail from the visitors centre so parents could sit in the shade with a coffee and watch the ankle-biters wear themselves out without ever losing sight of them.

Sanders Reserve Kids Trail looking South

That first woopty-doo section of the Kids Trail was fun!

Sanders Reserve Kids Trail looking West

More of the Kids Trail looking West from the Visitors Centre.

Sanders Reserve Amenities

Toilets, changing rooms, water-fountain and ankle-biter viewing platform.

Last time we rode on the West facing trails. This time I headed East and it was an equally puzzling experience. The trail network over this side of the hill is predominantly made up of very smooth, very wide paths. The photo below is a bit deceptive as they must be close to two metres wide and remind me of the concrete paths put in for electric carts on a golf course. Maybe this area is for horse riding? It’s certainly not an everyday mountainbiking experience but is much more suited to family riding than the impossibly twisty and steep stuff on the other side.

If these tracks are for bikes there must be some system of signage and give-ways planned as I passed several spots where two or three tracks converged or crossed-over one another. I’ve never seen that done before, it could be disastrous!

Sanders Reserve Eastern Trails

Golf-cart racing anyone? Needs trees or a shrubbery.

Sanders Reserve Trail Intersection

Don't most accidents happen at intersections?

I think Sanders Reserve shows a lot of promise and the unusual trails will probably make more sense by the time the park officially opens. With the fantastic children’s track on the flat hilltop it’s certainly going to be a great destination for those with smaller children. Four to eight year olds will have a ball blasting around there. Older children can explore further afield and any mistakes made in trail building can be corrected over time.

Enough already, let’s get this thing opened!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. davidinnz permalink
    November 30, 2014 11:34 am

    This is definitely not a Great Ride. Not even a Mediocre Ride.

    What a disappointment! The “open” trails are not fast because the weeds are now 1m tall, obscuring your view of the trail ahead – and thus I travelled in a lower gear than normal, since there is no warning of the next uphill. There is no flow. The major trails are wide, but covered in gravel that would be better described as crushed rocks – very harsh. Twice we encountered dogs off leashes. SUGGESTION: Auckland Council should consult with Auckland MTB Club on how to turn a mediocre attempt at MTB trails into one that people will want to return to. (As it stands, we are never going there again.)

    Wasted rates.

    • November 30, 2014 8:15 pm

      Yeah, probably a bit misleading writing this one up in the “great rides” section. I guess it actually needs tracks designed and maintained by actual mountainbikers.
      Thanks for the update.


  1. Great Rides: Sanders Reserve Mountainbike Park « Bike Friendly North Shore

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