Just five years old, Ethan Stack sets off on another ride at the Heathcote Valley Mountain Bike Park, and with each circuit his confidence grows. "This is exactly what this mountain bike park is all about" said Grant Brokenshire, the local resident who came up with the idea. "It's about getting people out on their mountain bikes, building up skills and confidence, regardless of their age and ability".
Go back two years, and New Zealand was in its first level four lockdown. Brokenshire and his teenage boys, all keen mountain bikers, needed a project. The idea of a mountain bike park gained traction with the Christchurch City Council who ok'd the use of the land, and then the work really began. "Two years later, and some 2000+ hours of my time, we now have a mountain bike park with jumps, rollers and a pump track" explained Brokenshire. We have a small band of hard workers who have created the track, and other organisations like Trees for Canterbury and the Tui Corridor have donated native plants. Conservation is one of our three pillars, as is community (creating a fun safe recreational area for local community) and progression (improving mountain biking skills).
The next phase is to build more all-weather features including a 1.8m timber mulch jump, and to continue surfacing the trails and jumps. The Sumner Ferrymead Foundation heard about the project and decided to make a contribution. "Grant's three pillars resonated with the goals of the Foundation" said Daniel O'Carroll, secretary of the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation, "and we are very keen to support community initiatives like this. We are all about 'locals helping locals', and Grant epitomises this as he has made a significant investment in both time and money. If there are other community organisations raising funds, they should go to our website to see if they meet the criteria for a Sumner Ferrymead Foundation grant. And of course, we are always pleased to receive donations from locals wanting to support community initiatives; the donations can be linked to a specific project such as the bike park, or left to the Foundation's discretion."
Brokenshire has a track record of making things happen, so when he says he regards this bike park as a pilot, you know that he has already turned his mind to another exciting mountain biking concept. As they say, watch this space. Better still, go down to the Heathcote Valley Mountain Bike Park, and watch the mountain bikers, and maybe have a go yourself.
Help Grant and the Heathcote Valley Mountain Bike Park
Make a donation to the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation, specifying the money is to be given to the HVMB Park. All donations are tax deductible. Go to www.sumnerferrymeadfoundation.co.nz