Most mountain bikers hurtling down Canterbury’s Burwood forest probably have no idea who maintains the tracks.
In fact, it’s a team of people supported by IDEA Services.
Every day between seven and 14 service users – and two staff members – tend to the gravel and prune the vegetation that make up the Christchurch tracks.
They’re a regular sight pretty much rain or shine, unless it’s pouring down, when they hunker down in a hut. Otherwise, they’re out at ten, and apart from a few breaks, work a solid day.
“They’re expected to be on time and do their job. It gives everyone a sense of purpose,” Christchurch/North Canterbury Area Manager Michelle Hickey says.
It’s a volunteer service, with any costs, such as protective equipment, covered by the rangers and council.
Although there’s a limit to new tracks, they’ll probably never run out of existing ones to maintain.
“Staff really enjoy it too, they get to watch people learn and grow,” Michelle says.