First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve, North Rockhampton
First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve is Rockhampton's home of mountain biking, both recreational and competitive.
Cradled between Moore's Creek and Mount Archer National Park, approximately 12 kilometres of trails comprise First Turkey, threading through native bushland, and in the wet season, past picturesque creeks and falls.
First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve is managed by Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club, with support from Rockhampton Regional Council.
There are several trails catering for all classes from beginner to expert. The tracks are well marked.
At time of writing (April 2016), a flow down trail is also being constructed to enable intermediate riders to improve their mountain biking skills. Both the club and Council actively promote First Turkey with a view to establishing Rockhampton as a major mountain biking destination.
Accessing First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve
First Turkey has three trail heads, at Guthrie Street in Frenchville, and German Street and Sunset Drive in Norman Gardens.
The latter two are generally the more popular and off street parking is usually no problem.
You will see the tracks leading away from the car parks. I don't think they're signed from memory as it's council land, but they're easy to spot.
They do branch and fork in different directions, but follow any one of them - They all end up at the Moore's Creek crossing, which is at the base of Finley's trail.
Finley's is the easiest way to ascend to Turkey's Nest. From there, you can choose one of several trails to go down.
Preparing to ride at First Turkey
There are no shops or amenities on site, so you will need to bring whatever you need with you. Riders are also expected to take their rubbish with them. Leaving busted inner tubes and empty water bottles lying around the bush looks terrible and is just plain rude, so don't.
If you need refreshments before or after riding, the nearest shops are about two kilometres from the German Street trail head on Dean Street. If you need bike parts or accessories, there are three bike shops in North Rockhampton; Bikes on High, Tuckers Cycles, and Giant Rockhampton. All are within a five minute drive of the trails.
Tips for beginners
If you do a fair bit of mountain biking, you know the drill and what you're likely to need.
For beginners, the minimum kit you should take with you is a helmet (obviously), a spare tube, tyre levers, tools, and drinking water. I allow about 500-750ml of water an hour, but that's just me.
Some advice about water, I have noticed that novice riders tend to drink a lot more than experienced riders, and this is probably due to not preparing properly. The trick to staying hydrated is to drink a couple of glasses of water before you go, then sip throughout the ride. Don't wait until you're thirsty and gulp down heaps - it's too late then - you're already dehydrated. That is not fun, can make you feel sick or disoriented or even vomit, and that will put you off the sport forever. So prepare properly.
Should you take food/energy bars etc? If you're only going out for an hour or so, I wouldn't bother. If you think you'll be gone longer, take a banana. Energy bars are a bit of a pro thing for people who are going to be out riding for the whole day, as energy bars take up very little space in the back pack.
Personally, I eat a banana an hour before riding, then another every two hours. I've never run out of energy yet. BTW go for slightly green bananas rather than yellow ones - a) they won't squish as easily while you're riding, and b) they release energy slowly instead of a sugar hit.
Protective gear? Yeah, that's a personal choice in the end. My friend wears knee pads, while I don't. I find them cumbersome but he finds them comforting. That 50-50 split is pretty typical amongst cross-country and single-trail riders, so the jury is still out. If you're riding enduro or down hill, that's a different story, but since you're a beginner, you won't be doing that just yet :)
The one piece of additional kit that I would recommend is open fingered gloves; the type with gel padding on the outer edge of the palm. The open fingers still give you tactile contact on your levers, while the cushioning protects your palm. Gloves will also offer a lot of protection if you have to reach out and lean on a rock for support or smack your handlebar into a tree. If you don't wear gloves, after riding around trails for an hour with clenched hands wrestling with your handle grips, you'll have red raw palms and sore wrists. They are definitely worth the expense.
Photos, Videos & Maps .:. First Turkey Mountain Bike Park, North Rockhampton
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Have a brilliant day,