Bikers’ labour of love


I detect more than a tinge of resentment in Nathan Green­wood’s voice at the mention of funding for the Gorge Road Jump Park. 

It is not surprising really. Queenstown Mountain Bike Club members have built a world-class facility as a labour of love with little recognition from the wider community and no council money. 

They’ve done such a good job that when they posted an image of the park on Facebook last week, riders who had never been there claimed it had been photo-shopped. And the park, which on Sat­urday hosted the Red Bull Roast It, is only a fraction of what club volunteers have achieved. 

Members, working in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and the council, have provided free labour to build the majority of the trails around the resort – and the work continues every Wednesday evening. 

Being English, volunteering – for me at least – conjures images of being trapped inside a stale-aired village hall on a sunny afternoon at some Christ­­ian jumble sale as a well-meaning but batty granny in a floral dress forces another helping of Victoria sponge down your throat. 

That’s not to say those people don’t do much-needed work, lifeblood of the community and all that (please don’t send me letters), but it’s not very rock ‘n’ roll. 

But on Saturday, the volunteers who stride out after each session to repair the jumps and bumps – and who rush to the aid of every fallen rider – show that giving your time for free doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. 

They also look quite rock ‘n’ roll, with mostly long hair, tattoos and beers in hand, but then to be fair even the St John ambulance paramedic is sporting a Frank Zappa moustache. 

Check out the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club website and you’ll see that, while it’s not The Salvation Army, the club is becoming a strong force in the Queenstown community and an even stronger community in itself. 

Along with weekly trail building, its members organise race days, jump park jams, ladies nights, family days and BBQs, all while pushing for more funding and recognition for cycling in general. 

You can help the club by simply joining and getting involved.