There have been a variety of tracks ridden in the Ben Lomond Forest Park for years, but it was always a grunt of a ride and push of the bikes up to the top.
The long awaited Gondola opening day finally arrived and hundreds of people lined up. Season Pass holders got a special preview day on Sunday, with a complementary pass for a mate to come too. We decided that Tuesday was the day for us to sample the goods. Glowing reports had been flowing over the hill and down the Cardrona Valley to us so we knew it would be all on.
Expecting crowds, we made sure we were there early, but there was to be no worries. The morning was super quiet, no stress about people coming thundering behind us.
We tested most of the trails, starting with the user-friendly Hammy’s trail- 6km of smooth running goodness with bermed corners and some optional wooden obstacles for added excitement.
Next up was the Vertigo trail- steeper yet still smooth with plenty of flow. We weren’t sure what to expect when we launched into Ant’s track and Armageddon, but soon found out why they were marked as a ‘double black diamond’. Best advice- just keep your feet on the peddles and don’t stop.
There is a variety of wooden ‘North Shore’ features throughout the trails, a courtesy peddle past on the first run intrigued us enough to go back and try them out. The cornered wooden structure on Thingamajig is easier than it looks- give it a try- just keep rolling and look ahead!
The trails all meet in the middle so you can chop and change from steep and techy top section to a smooth, flowy bottom section of vice versa. There are lots of offshoots off the trails that are well marked so keep your eyes peeled if you’re feeling adventurous.
Vertigo bikes has a shop and rental area at the top of the gondola so if you don’t have the downhill gear then you can rent it there.
The half day pass works from either 10am till 3pm or 3pm till 8pm for $40- 5 hours of riding. We got 9 laps in with a stop for lunch in the middle.