What do you think the best attributes of the club are?

RHR’s credo is “It’s no ordinary mountain bike club” and that’s not just lip-service. It’s something we really try to live up to. The club was born out of a need for mountain bikers on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula to have a unified voice when it came to trail development, especially communicating with Parks Victoria and the local council.

But at a more basic level, it was about a bunch of people just wanting to get together and celebrate a sport they love and the place where they love riding. The club has a very broad base: men, women, old, young, cross-country, downhill, freeride…you name it, you’ll find it at RHR.

Nowadays our logo, the mutant MTBer, is well known outside the Mornington Peninsula as Red Hill Riders travel far and wide to ride and race. We also have strong communications tools through our recently revamped website and our Facebook presence.

We are really proud of the way kids have come through at RHR, including Australian representatives Luke Fetch, Liam Jeffries, Michael Crosbie and Ellie Wale. RHR is also involved in the Dromana Secondary College MTB program, which has produced Ellie Wale and fellow national titleholder Jess Wiggin, as well as Gravity Enduro junior star Jared Murphy. We also help manage and maintain the Hillview Trail that circumnavigates the College and is home annually to our round of the Victorian Secondary School MTB Championships.

What can new members expect?

Because the trail network on the Mornington Peninsula is quite informal and diverse local knowledge is a must, membership at our club gives you access to that knowledge and is a fundamental reason why many join our club. All up, there is about 250km of trails in the region, some roadside, some in the forest, but virtually all of it unmarked (for now, at least). Not only do new members learn where to ride, they learn where NOT to ride. And that’s really important in a region on the semi-urban fringe where a variety of recreational pursuits have to be accommodated.

The club caters to riders of all skill and experience levels. We understand those first few outings can mean the difference between a life-long addiction and the bike gathering dust in the corner of the garage, so our regular rides are structured to provide novices with a taste and not a torture session.

RHR also has a strong and unified presence at many mountain bike races and race series around the country, whatever the discipline. It means if you are interested in some form of competition, then someone in the club will have been there and done that and will be happy to share their experience.

Getting started in racing is made easier by our events co-ordinator, who looks after sourcing cheap entries, accommodation, communal catering and encouraging people of similar attitude and abilities to form teams. At races we set up a base out of our own marquee and there’s always support on offer for the inevitable tech troubles.

Away from the pedalling, we’re a social crew with regular get togethers. Pretty soon, we’ll be celebrating our first marriage – literally two members who met through riding with the club!   

Where do you want to see the club in five years’ time?

RHR is entering an exciting period where our network of informal trails in the Arthurs Seat State Park could soon become a world-class mountain bike park. The proposal has been going through the formal discussion process this year and work could begin soon after this magazine goes on sale.

That means five years from now RHR will be the custodians of a trail network suitable for riders of all ability and experience levels and the home of a variety of racing events.

It’s a spectacular venue, with views back up Port Philip Bay all the way to the city, which is just an hour away by freeway (which goes straight past our trailhead). In tandem with the establishment of the park we’d anticipate our membership would continue to grow. We will continue to emphasise youth development and – of course – we will always have fun.

Boys racingWhat’s on for the rest of the year?

The commencement of our Arthur’s Seat trail network is our highest priority, but with our annual VSSC round looming on July 27 we’re also heavily into organising that as well.

Our weekly social rides are always on at the weekend – check the website for start time and locations.

And as always, you can expect to see RHRers and the mutant MTBer at a heap of events including the Gravity 12 hour, Alpine Gravity Enduro Series, Victorian Downhill Series, You Yangs Yowie, Bright 24 Hour, Forrest Festival, Victorian Enduro Series and National MTB Series rounds. – ENDuromag