First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve, North Rockhampton
Note June 2017: I first wrote this article in 2016 however I've recently begun a cycling-specific site called CQ Off-Road Cycling, and also taken on the role of webmaster for Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club. The club looks after the First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve, so to avoid replication, I won't add any further updates to this page. There's still some really handy info and photos below but the new Rocky MTB website will have tons of detailed information that this 'general page' isn't designed to provide.
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 20 kilometres of trails comprise First Turkey, threading through native bushland, and in the wet season, past picturesque creeks and falls.
There are dozens of trails catering for all classes from beginner to expert. 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? Sure, but it depends how long you're riding for.
Biscuits and energy bars are a bit of a pro thing for people who are going to be out riding for the whole day, as they take up very little space in the back pack. If you're like me though, biscuits can give you reflux when exercising which is the last thing you want while you're riding.
Personally, I eat a banana or apple 20 minutes before riding, then another every hour or so. 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? Definitely. A helmet of course and I definitely recommend knee pads. If you're riding aggressively, consider a full face helmet and body armour as well. I'm strongly considering the latter since landing heavily on my rib cage in my last two big crashes.
The one piece of additional kit that I would recommend is closed fingered gloves. Gloves 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
If you enjoy exploring, you can find additional places and towns to check out on the Central Queensland Places page.
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Have a brilliant day,