Riding High

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By Ellen Hill

A crushing accident that ended a dream turned into a sliding door moment for Sam Carr, one which led him to fully commit to the region and natural world he has long loved.

In 2016, he was trying to restart his BMX racing career after a 30-year hiatus. He aimed to finish in the top eight in Australia for his age group.

Unbeknownst to his wife, Sam had secretly bought a bike and started training at a local BMX track and racing.

He had unfinished business – this was the goal he had pursued years before that was interrupted when he went to boarding school.

“I was making amazing headway and was certainly on track for conquering my goal,” he says.

A massive crash shattered that dream.

Off work for 18 months with a broken shoulder, he had a lot of time to think.

He realised his corporate career in customer service had made good money, but didn’t generate happiness.

In 2017, Sam bought a bike business in the Blue Mountains and set about transforming it into an experience he expected himself.

“Given my history with biking, my standards and expectations, of course, are higher than most,” he says.

With more than 40 mountain bikes and 25 electric e-mountain bikes, Blue Mountains Biking Adventures is geared to provide fully guided mountain e-bike tours, self-guided bike hire tours, corporate team building days and general bike hire. E-bikes have become the most popular vehicle in recent times.

“I don’t call myself a bike hire place,” Sam says. “I’m a concierge self-guided style of service but I take all the logistics out of it for you and provide you with important bike education. We meet near the start of the trail you select and close by to train stations. It doesn’t get any easier.”

Bikes, helmets, maps, pumps and puncture repair kits are provided as well as bike fit, safety, skill and bike operation briefing,  as well as tips to help get the most out of the trails, bikes, the day, and yourself.

“Anyone who can ride a bike and feel safe doing so, will enjoy using my service,” Sam says.

Visitors need only wear comfortable, appropriate clothing such as shorts, sleeved t-shirt, and socks and sneakers.

“It’s all about plunging into nature, looking for that serenity, tapping out and using the bike as a vessel to unplug and enjoy what we have up here.”

Raised in the country, Sam has ridden bikes since he was a toddler.

He raced BMX bikes at state level from age four to 13, then took on road bike riding, training hundreds of kilometres a week to enter the country’s biggest classic rides.

He found his true passion when he took up cross country mountain biking racing in 2004, but is now a casual (if serious) rider.

“It’s the simplicity of riding a bike, combining it with the great outdoors and then wrapping it all up into a way of life or lifestyle, that will see me pedal pedal pedal until I can pedal no longer.

“Most of us rode bikes as kids, so when you get on a bike you're tapping into these incredible childhood memories where there’s no responsibilities, only freedom - you can nick off from home and Mum.”

While you’re spoilt for choice for tracks in the Blue Mountains, here are several standouts for Sam.

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Hanging Rock Trail, Blackheath

“This is our most popular trail experience and is beginner friendly. Set in the Grose Wilderness, it’s such a raw piece of nature with the best views the mountains has to offer. The Grose is where conservation really kicked off for the Blue Mountains. I've ridden it over 200 times at least, and I'm never sick of it.”

The Oaks trail, Woodford to Glenbrook

“This is an absolute classic.”

It’s 78 per cent downhill and 22 per cent challenging, 28km one-way and not to be underestimated. It has nearly 7km of single track towards the end making it a well-rounded mountain bike experience. This one can be done by a very confident and fit beginner.

 Narrowneck Plateau, Katoomba

For intermediate level riders with some good fitness, this plateau trail constantly features on social media channels due to its beauty.

“It’s a bit of a struggle, but it’s really majestic and amazing, and worth the effort. I highly recommend this one on one of our mountain e-bikes.”

 Anvil Rock trail

Beginning in the beautiful little hamlet of Blackheath, the trail continues along Hat Hill Road before turning into a pressed gravel dirt road with views to Sydney, as you make your way down to the end of this plateau.

“When you get to Anvil Rock, there’s nearly 360-degree views and the city in your face, the Grose wilderness and the eroded cave. Anyone who feels safe on a bike on a footpath can ride this trail, as is considered our easiest offering.”

T: 0432 699 212
E: 
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W: bluemountainsbikes.com.au

 

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