THE Bendigo Mountain Bike Club is gearing up for a big year.
The club, which has about 100 members, is aiming to grow even bigger in 2014.
Two major events are set to take place this year, the Golden Triangle Epic and the Bendigo Three/Six Hour, with several social and club races also organised.
However for club president David Macauley this year isn’t just about racing it is about encouraging the community to get involved with mountain bike riding.
“Cycling in Bendigo is pretty popular with more and more people getting on their mountain bike,” he said.
“A focus for the club this year is about enabling beginners and juniors to participate.
“There is no better way than getting out and enjoying nature on your bike.”
Macauley said there would be bigger and better things planned this year.
“The Golden Triangle Epic is on March 16,” he said.
“People can either ride a 15km, 50km, 100km or the 150km course.
“We had over 200 riders for that event last year and we are hoping to have closer to 300 this year.
“Riders will come from all over Victoria and other parts of Australia.”
Macauley said the Bendigo Three/Six Hour event also continued to grow in popularity.
“It started off as a six hour event and now we have a three hour category as well,” he said.
“People can ride that as either an individual or as a team.
“The last couple of years we have also introduced a new category for least experience riders.”
Last year, the Bendigo Mountain Bike Club produced four national titleholders.
Peta Mullins, Jack Haig, Chris Hamilton and Isaac Bucknell were all crowned champions in their respective fields.
Macauley said one of the club’s major plans for 2014 was to build on the existing Bendigo Trail Network.
“The club is putting a lot of time and effort into creating a network,” he said.
“The idea is for people to come to a trail head and it will be a map of where all the trails are and there degree of difficulty.
“We see it as a long term project.
“Eventually we hope to have a series of trails from Spring Gully to Big Hill and back.
“It will be an asset for the whole of Bendigo.”
Macauley said all the club was working in conjunction with the City of Greater Bendigo and Parks Victoria to create the network.
“We are working with Parks Victoria to see if old tracks should be closed down either because they have eroded or have been badly designed,” he said.
“We want to build sustainable trails that would look after themselves."