October 09th, 2019
A group of young-at-heart Hills locals who dart up and down mountain bike tracks of their own making are showing no signs of slowing down after 25 years.

The Human Projectiles have blazed trails all over the Hills around Fox Creek, opening up the park to mountain bikers of any skill level.

Club vice-president and founding member Paul Lovelady said that the whole idea to make a mountain biking club came from an afternoon or two at the pub.

“We morphed out of an 80s pub darts team called the Duck'n'Farts that played for either the Uraidla Hotel or Scenic Hotel, depending on who supplied the best post-game supper,” Paul said.

“The name for the mountain biking club was coined back in 1994 by James Taylor, the other co-founder along with Donald Norton who runs mountain bike accommodation in the Flinders Ranges now.

The Human Projectiles grew to include like-minded bikers as they made use of the fire-access trails around Fox Creek, which had initially been developed for foresting but abandoned when the terrain became too steep.

“Riding up the hills are an important part of getting your fitness component,” said Paul, who still goes down the slopes every week with six or eight other Projectiles.

“We reach 70kph on the old fire trails, while speeds can get up to 30-40kph on the new flow trails.”

These flow trails, where high speed can be maintained around bends and jumps, were developed by the club after they officially incorporated five years ago to seek funding.

“A few of us discovered the amazing trails around Rotorua, New Zealand around 15 years ago – we loved them so much we decided to make our own,” Paul said.

The club has now established over half a dozen trails for beginners and intermediates in conjunction with Forestry SA's master plan for the area.

“It starts with an idea for a good trail that we discuss as a committee and we the clear it with Forestry SA,” Paul said.

“We then have one of our expert pro trail builders like Nick Bowman from Destination Trails to go out with his inclinometer to find the percentage gradient and design a trail that flows with the natural topography, that requires low maintenance and doesn’t damage the environment.

“Once the final design is approved by Forestry SA we can the apply for funding.”

Club secretary Brad Slade, who joined in 2002, said that contributing to the Fox Creek Mountain Bike Park was as great a feeling as getting out and enjoying the slopes.

“We’ve helped a lot of people get started – our trails are some of the most used out there,” Brad said.

Trails follow the same colour coding as ski courses; green for beginners, blue in the middle and black for experts.

“The green and blue trails are the best to start with,” Brad said.

“There were only black trails made by the Inside Line Club at first, but we worked with Bike SA to create three green trails and 5 blue ones.”

“Our latest finished projects were completed thanks to grant support from the Adelaide Hills Council, Forestry SA and Bike SA; two short trails for young kids to use near the carpark at the top of the hill which we finished in November,” Brad said.

The Human Projectiles is seeking further support from the state sport department to receive certification for trail maintenance.

“It’s something we do all year round,” Brad said.

“Particularly at this time of year when things start to dry out, there’s a lot of slashing to be done.”

If you fancy getting your heart rate up from thrills as well as exercise in the open air this summer, grab your mountain bike and enjoy the trails of Fox Hill, thanks to the Human Projectiles.

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