GAP CREEK RESERVE, BRISBANE
Gap Creek Reserve, just west of Brisbane’s CBD, is one of this bike-friendly city’s most popular MTB parks. Council have recently expanded the car park to accommodate the hordes of shredders of all ages and abilities who flock here each sunny Queensland weekend. Gap Creek Reserve is where many Brisbanites did their first ride. It was the first park in Southeast Queensland to gain legal recognition of its ‘mountain bike only’ trails, and remains a favourite for its easy access and proximity to the city (just seven kilometres if you drop in from the top of Mt Coot-tha).
Gap Creek is kept alive and in beautiful condition by the Gap Creek Trails Alliance, who have worked closely with the City Council to maintain trail access and expand the mountain bike facilities. There’s a small skills park near the main car park on Gap Creek Road, a massive amount of fire road, and about 30 kilometres of mountain bike-only singletrack, all of which is bi-directional. All trails are signposted and rated in the IMBA system. Gap Creek isn’t only popular with mountain bikers. On any given morning of the week, the reserve is filled with hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, and even horse-riders. There is little tension between mountain bikers and other trail users, but this is one location where bikers should be mindful of giving way on fire roads, particularly to horses, as there are often lots of people about. It’s impossible to talk about Gap Creek without mentioning the Great Brisbane Lump. Mt Coottha dominates Brisbane’s western skyline, as well as discussion among cyclists over coffee. It’s an immensely popular tourism and recreation spot, and is a part of every aspect of Brisbane’s biking scene. The Gap Creek trails lie on the western side of the mountain, but Coot-tha dictates their character, and the hills don’t end there. It’s possible to ride off-road from Gap Creek’s Mt Coot-tha entrance all the way to Mt Nebo, about 25 kilometres away. All but the easiest tracks at Gap Creek Reserve are hilly by standards dictated by normal sanity.
Brisbane has a great bike path network heading west out of the city, and it’s possible to ride to the dirt from virtually anywhere. The best way to get to the trails by bike from the CBD is via the Western Freeway Bikeway, then over the bridge to Coot-tha, and pedal to the top (about two kilometres with fire road options, and not really easy!). Drop in down ‘Three Sisters’ trail,