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One of the benefits of mountain biking is you get to know a lot of secret back trails that not many that people know about.

I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden on and around the bush lands south of Hobart nearly every day for many years.

I found tracks that few people know and I’ve even made a few tracks that even fewer people know about.  And this mountain biker knowledge allows you to ride some great routes by connecting some of the main routes with some of the lesser know tracks.  I always get a bit of a thrill taking friends riding in areas of Hobart they think they know and showing them one or two trails they didn’t know about and turning the usual ride into something quite different. However a good knowledge of the back trails can sometimes get you into a bit of trouble…

Hobart has a history of bush fires and the council and local fire brigades have a thorough program of burning off to prevent dangerous build up of undergrowth.  Last spring on one of our Saturday group rides we had seen a few fire trucks going up and down the road as we rode the foothills of the Mountain.  We didn’t pay it too much attention as the weather was cool and with little wind it certainly wasn’t a day to worry about bush fires.  We popped out of the bush, crossed a main road, found a narrow entrance to a sweet bit of single track and rode on.  We came around a bend, broke out into a clearing and there was a wall of flame in front of us and a man in hi-vis overalls with a petrol can with a long spout and a wicked flame.  He had lit most of the clearing and was walking backwards towards us.  We stopped aghast, he turned around and  simultaneously shouted “What the hell are you doing?”  We bravely bolted like rabbits and everybody was safe.  After the panic died down we tried to work out what had happened.  Turns out it was scheduled burn off by the local fire brigade.  Before the burn started the fire brigade had closed the area and put warning tape over all the streets, trails,  tracks and driveways leading into this area but they didn’t know about the trail we were on. We all laughed about it … after the firies ran out of words like reckless, hooligans, stupid bike riders, dumbasses, imbeciles and boneheads.  Ha ha ha.