Blue Derby Pods Ride, a new premium guided mountain bike experience in northeast Tasmania has launched.
The first of its kind in Tasmania, the Blue Derby Pods Ride is a three-day mountain biking tour for small groups of eight people with two guides. It will use 100km of mountain bike trails in the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails network, which includes the Derby, Blue Tier and Weldborough (Blue Derby) areas of north east Tasmania.
Mixing adventure with some well-earned comfort, riders will sleep in architecturally designed eco-sensitive pods for two, which feel as if they are levitating above the forest floor. Dining will be in a central hub building surrounded by quintessential Tasmanian bush with views down to the Cascade River Valley and beyond.
While Tasmania has already established its reputation as Australia’s walking state, it is now looking to market itself as a world-class mountain bike destination, establishing new bike trails and supporting a rising demand in mountain bike tourism. According to a Tasmanian Visitor Survey (TVS), in the year to September 2016, there were 20,900 mountain bike visitors to Tasmania – an increase of 121% on the previous period
The Blue Derby Mountain Biking trails in north east Tasmania are a key driver of this growth. Mountain biking is now being credited with the revival of the tiny riverside village of Derby – once a booming tin mining settlement – with room nights up 85% on the previous year.
The $2.9 million Blue Derby Mountain Biking Trail in the state’s north east, is a purpose-built track that weaves its way through temperate rainforest, large tracts of eucalypt and myrtle forest and woodlands, all with sensational views of this region’s stunning landscapes.
Guests on the Blue Derby Pods Ride will be treated to some of Tasmania’s finest produce with a menu specially created by local chef Daniel Alps and his team at Alps & Amici, in Launceston. Alps was previously chef at the award-winning Daniel Alps at Strathlynn restaurant in the Tamar Valley. Riders will be able to unwind after a day in the saddle with locally-crafted Tasmanian wines and beers, such as the Dam Busters pale ale from the Little Rivers Brewing Company, named after one of the Blue Derby mountain bike trails.
The tour will incorporate three consecutive days of mountain biking without backtracking on a variety of world-class trails to suit the riders’ abilities. With a bus transfer from Launceston, riders meet their guides – known as Experience Leaders – at the Leaning Church Vineyard in Lalla. From there, the group drives to Blue Derby and starts the first 10km descent on the Atlas trail, which is followed by an al fresco lunch in the heart of the Cascade Valley. In the afternoon and following day riders can choose to explore more of the mountain bike trails through the Tasmanian forest – like Krushkas, Dam Busters, Flickety Sticks or Sawtooth – or stay at the Blue Derby Pods Ride hub and practice yoga, explore the extensive library or relax with a cup of tea.
The final day of the tour sees the group cycling to Derby where riders will be transported to the top of the Blue Tier, the highest point of the Blue Derby Mountain Biking Trail network. From here, they will be able to enjoy a stunning descent through lush, dense rainforest to Weldborough.
As well as leading the way and helping less experienced mountain bikers, the Experience Leaders will provide local knowledge and interpretation of the region’s historical, cultural, Aboriginal, forestry and mining stories. The guides will also adopt a minimal impact bike riding approach, engaging the internationally recognised ‘Leave No Trace’ principles.
More than two years in the making, the Blue Derby Pods Ride is the brainchild of Tara and Steve Howell.
The Howells switched gears from climbing their respective corporate ladders to fulfil their passions of mountain biking and showcasing Tasmania’s greatest assets.
“As keen mountain bike riders and fans of Tasmania’s rugged beauty, we are excited to offer visitors a guided mountain bike experience enabling them to learn about the region’s flora and fauna, history and culture, and be spoilt with a little luxury too. Spending a night in an eco-friendly pod after an evening of sensational Tasmania food and drink will be almost as good as the riding,” said Tara Howell.
The three-day Blue Derby Pods Ride costs from $1,750 per person** and includes accommodation in elevated pods (twin-share), all meals and beverages, two qualified Experience Leaders, three days’ mountain bike and gear hire – including bike, helmet, gloves and riding spray jacket – plus luggage storage.
Riders can bring their own bikes or hire one, free of charge. Blue Derby Pods Ride has a variety of bikes available including dual suspension, 27.5, 29 and 6Fattie wheel sizes, considered among the best handling, most efficient and comfortable trail bikes on the market.
Departures run every three days on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays, with return transfers between Launceston and Blue Derby included in the price.
For more information on the Blue Derby Pods Ride visit www.bluederbypodsride.com.au
Impression & Feelings: Energetic