WHAT'S ON

Pilliga bike ride, Tour de Gorge will take place in September

The annual Tour de Gorge will run on September 5, and start at Pilliga Pottery. Photo: Supplied.
The annual Tour de Gorge will run on September 5, and start at Pilliga Pottery. Photo: Supplied.

A COVID safe family friendly bike ride through the Pilliga National Park will have participants pedalling as far as 50 kilometres to see many untouched and unseen beauty.

The annual Tour de Gorge will run on September 5, and start at Pilliga Pottery and then take participants on a ride through the Pilliga Nature Reserve on some scenic trails which are not usually open for cycling.

National Parks and Wildlife Service Area Manager John Whittall said the event came about after thinking about ways to get more people through the park to see its wonder and beauty.

"It's a special place, the Pilliga, and this time of year (September) there's some magic willdflowers flowering... so we thought of this bike ride," he explained.

The initial event had about 20 riders travel from Baradine to the Dandry Gorge, but over the years it has grown in popularity with as much as 100 participants taking part and new trails included.

"The great thing about it is it (the event) does bring different people, who may not usually experience the Pilliga, and we get people forom quite a wide area to come out," Mr Whittal said.

The event also now includes a family friendly trail of 12 kms, and for the 50km trek, participants are encouraged to have good experience and knowledge of mountain biking.

Previously participants have been from Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Tamworth, Gunedah and Wee Waa, plus the central coast areas.

Despite COVID-19, Mr Whittall said interest for the 2020 Tour de Gorge was going really well and he thinks it will be a "pretty big one."

"Last year we had almost 100 riders and this year I think we'll get that, or a few more," he added.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service Area Manager believes what makes the event an every growing popular attraction was its family friendly atmosphere.

"It's not competitive, people just take their time and it's well organised... and I think people just really enjoy being out in the bush, knowing they're safe," Mr Whittall said.

It gives people the opportunity to do something different in the Pilliga....

John Whittall, National Parks and Wildlife Service Area Manager

As this event will be COVID safe, riders are urged not to participate if they are feeling unwell, use sanitiser, social distance and follow instructions of staff.

"They really should come, it's a fantastic family event. The weather will be fantastic, the flowers beautiful and they will have a great time," Mr Whittall said.

"It gives people the opportunity to do something different in the Pilliga... the trails used are ones not driven on, which means they see country not normally seen."

The briefing starts at 8.30am and all riders should be finished by 1pm. As the ride is being hosted at Pilliga Pottery, there will be local stall holders, refreshments and meals from Blue Wren Café on offer throughout the day.

The event is cash only and $25 per person, which includes a registration pack.

For more information and to register call Pilliga Forests Discovery Centre (02) 68 434 011 or visit www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au