Off Quarry road, in the heart of Old Hornsby, lies a network of some of the most flowing, technical MTB riding in Sydney called Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail.
Often-times confusing to follow, the signs and tracks that regularly lead back on themselves and reconnect to points already past, riding up and down the side of Old Man’s Valley is a great day out or morning ride for intermediate to more experienced riders.
The network of ‘flow-tracks’ accommodate new cyclists in a small cyclical section at the bottom of the hill, known as “Greener Pastures”. From there, to access the rest of the tracks is a matter of growing as a cyclist until you are able to ride the rest of the tracks offered. And there are plenty.
If you choose to start your ride from Quarry Road, you begin a fairly quick descent into the quarry, winding your way around tight berms and over a few natural and man-made obstacles. The sections known as “Blue Metal” and “Rocky Road” are in heavily built up forest landscapes and the tracks pop in and out of dense bush land and provide largely smooth, flowing trails.
Once you have passed through “Turkey Run” and ascend on “Greener Pastures”, you can choose to cycle the continuous, beginners’ section of circular track, or try your luck up the other side of the valley and through “Back Paddock”, “Outer Rim” and “Lava Flow”. These sections become a bit trickier for newer riders as they provide the same natural and man-made obstacles whilst climbing the side of a hill.
However, if you complete these sections and cross the fire trail into the “Tech Track” zone, you are met with a winding passage of bridge-riding that runs right behind the Hornsby Tafe and Leisure centre.
The areas “Deep End” and “South Side” are optional beyond this point and run on the opposite side of Quarry road to where you started. These areas are for advanced riders and amalgamate man-made and natural obstacles such as gaps, roller jumps and minor drop-offs.
On Saturday the 13th of December, this destination will teem with life, as the inaugural Old Mans Valley Bike Festival will draw crowds.
Sydney North Off Road Cyclists (SNORC) are holding the event, including a range of events for various skill levels. Proceeds from the day will be divided between SNORC and the Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Women’s Shelter.
Another great location accommodating for outdoor lifestyles, the Hornsby Quarry provides a great destination for Mountain Bike Riders. It is also a hot spot for bushwalkers and people who want to admire the view.