152 – Preserving the Natural Landscape with Bike Glendhu Mountain Bike Park
Photo: Jay French / Freeride NZ – freeridenewzealand
John Wilson – Founder and Director of Bike Glendhu Mountain Bike Park
On episode #152 we are chatting with the Co-Founder and Director of the newest mountain bike park in the south island of New Zealand, Bike Glendhu. Bike Glendhu is situated in Wanaka, an area of natural beauty about one hours drive from Queenstown, and sits on the south end of Glendhu Bay.
I first heard of Bike Glendhu when reading an article in NZ Mountain Biker Magazine (link to story here) by the magazines Creative Director, Cam Baker. I had Cam on the show back in episode #140 (listen here). I still keep up to date with what those guys are up to and what is happening in the scene there. So when I read Cam’s article about Bike Glendhu and checked out their website, I knew I would love to get them on the show and have a chat.
I reached out to Claire Dooney, their Marketing Manager and she was kind enough to set up a chat with John. One of the main things that drew me to their story was their environmental stance and their goal of building a bike park that is self-sufficient in everything, from how they generate power to having a positive impact on the land their park is built upon.
So join me and find out more about how a chance knock on a door lead to the building of a mountain bike park and what John and his team are doing to help more people have fun on two wheels while protecting the surrounding environment and the natural landscape.
Enjoy the show!
- How John left a desk job to open a mountain bike park
- What happens when two John’s have the same vision
- How farm land got turned into a mountain bike park
- Why when designing the park from the early beginnings the environmental footprint played a huge part
- What John and his team have put in place to make Bike Glendhu self-sufficient and 100% off the grid
- Why this was so important from the very beginning
- How they went about planning the trail network
- How John’s persistence paid off in getting the right trail builder
- How flash floods etc.. hindered their opening in 2019
- How this has made them put in extra features and make the trail network better
- What the trails are like
- Why the trails were designed for all levels of rider
- What kind of facilities you can expect
- Future plans for the trails and bike park in general
- How to get in contact and find out more
It never fails to surprise me how certain things happen from the strangest of meetings or run-ins, and Bike Glendhu is no different. John had moved to Wanaka and was riding his bike looking for new spots and places that offered not only good riding, but awesome views and beautiful natural surroundings. During his scouting mission John came across an area that looked perfect for what he was looking for and after knocking on the farmers door to see if he could gain access to their land to ride his bike, one thing lead to another and they decided to build a mountain bike park.
That of course is the short story and John goes into it in more detail on the podcast, but that effectively is it. The two John’s got together, worked on a plan, realised that great minds think alike, spent 4 years planning, designing, applying, re-designing, emailing, rubbing their heads together, building and creating an awesome trail network for all to enjoy and not destroying the landscape while doing it. It goes to show us all that things can be done correctly, with planning, foresight, sticking to your ethics and initial vision in achieving a bike park where people can get out in nature, enjoy their natural surroundings and not destroy the reasons they are there in the first place…to be in a beautiful, clean and inspiring area. Bike Glendhu has achieved this and much much more.
To follow up on these ethics the following is some of the things Bike Glendhu actively do in their park: They have planted 4,500 native trees, with the goal of planting 30,000 total by 2025, they don’t print single-use trail maps, they don’t print throwaway marketing material, they don’t sell single-use bottles (including coffee cups), they generate their electricity via solar panels, they use eco-friendly food packaging and implement recycling initiatives. I could go on, but you get the idea. They are doing things right, making the park as environmentally friendly as possible and showing the way to other new parks on how things can be done. I think it is great and certainly the way forward.
So put your feet up for an hour, tune in and find out why you probably will want to not only put New Zealand on your bucket list, but Bike Glendhu too.
Thanks for tuning in. Enjoy the show.
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Thanks to John for coming on the show and sharing his awesome story about the beginnings of Bike Glendhu!
And thanks to you for being part of the show!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show.