Bike the Trail is a 25km cycle ride on the Hutt River Trail, from Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt to Hikoikoi Reserve, at the Hutt River mouth, Petone. This is a non-competitive family cycling event promoting cycling as a fun, healthy, safe means of recreation. The event is run by Activation, the recreation event organizer for Hutt Council.
Wellington VHF Group was again contracted to Activation to provide the radio safety marshal function, to assure public safety during this event. As part of the Health & Safety / Risk Management policy, Activation have identified a number of hazards on the river trail that may pose risks to cyclists. Our radio marshals attend each of these hazard sites for the duration of the event, to provide trail guidance, administer first aid to any casualties, and co-ordinate medical aid, or ambulance, via amateur radio. Our radio net used the 710 VHF radio repeater.
This year the event was run on Sunday 17th March. The trail was generally in good condition. However, in the weeks leading up to the event, Wellington experienced a lengthy dry spell. This caused the trail surface to become loose and dangerous in parts. As observed by the Hutt River Trail Ranger, “the dry weather meant that the trail surface lost it’s bonding, and produced loose gravel, which was particularly dangerous on bends and corners”.
Wellington VHF Group organized a total of eighteen marshals, volunteers who were drawn from four local NZART Branches, including Wellington VHF Group, Wellington branch, Titahi branch, and Lower Hutt branch.
A net was established using our 710 repeater, which enabled marshals to keep in touch with the organizers through the head marshal, and with each other. Before the event could start Marshal Rick ZL2TVY conducted a roll call of marshals via radio, the result was then communicated to head marshal Dick ZL2TGQ who advised the start organizer, who then released riders onto the trail.
The event was considered to be a great success, with over 1000 riders participating. Notwithstanding the loose gravel on some parts of the trail there were no serious incidents this year. Our first aid duties were limited to attending to quite a number of grazes and bruised egos, the results of spills on the loose gravel.
Thanks are due to the eighteen amateurs who volunteered their time to be radio marshals for this event. Including; Rob ZL2WAL, Peter ZL2TD, John ZL2AST, Ross ZL2UAC, Gavin ZL2TVM, Ted ZL2TED, Andy ZL2ADR, Frank ZL2TTS, David ZL2SX, Dejan ZL3AU, Courtney ZL2CRW, Randall ZL2RJP, Peter ZL2TJ, John ZL2JDB, Robin ZL4TRS, Rick ZL2TVY, Tom ZL2TDD, and head marshal Dick ZL2TGQ. The Bike The Trail event provides an opportunity for radio amateurs to give back to their community, to exercise their radio skills, and to enjoy working in a team.