AN appetite for self-inflicted punishment appears to have no boundaries when it comes to mountain bike riding.
Steep, winding trails, peppered with rocks and tree roots that quickly turn into slippery, muddy slides are more drawcard than deterrent.
Recent years have seen an ever increasing number of mountain bikers descend (literally) from near the heights of Arthurs Seat State Park to Boundary Road, Dromana along a series of graded trails.
Some riders make their own, slow-paced way up the steep hill while others carry their bikes to the park entrance off Arthurs Seat Road on car racks or aboard a custom-built trailer.
Once at the top, gravity helps speed up the pace down the trails which range from easy to more difficult, very difficult and extremely difficult.
In some cases, the trail name gives a hint of what may lie ahead: Pink Line, Rock Salt, Slippery Gypsy, Wombat, East Link, Pine Climb, High Roller, Pins and Needles, Fall Line and Deadwoods.
A check of Parks Victoria’s trail guide map shows just how many S bends may be involved before arriving at the relatively flat Hillview Community Reserve.
The number of people parking bikes, gathered around or coming in and out of the cafes at the small shopping centre at the bottom of the hill is testament to the sport’s popularity.
Last week trails at the park were visited by Local Government and Suburban Development Minister Shaun Leane and Nepean MP Chris Brayne.
The expansion of the 13-kilometre trail network, which attracts around 120,000 riders a year, was completed by trail builder, Trailscapes.
The new trails cater for all rider levels and meet International Mountain Bicycling Association standards.
Mr Brayne said the trail project “has provided improved accessibility and recreation trails for bike riders”.