Big effort cleans up popular bike track
It took nearly two months and dozens of tractors and chainsaws to clear the wreckage, but Geraldine's 30km mountainbike track is open to the public for summer.
Lions club member Allan Kelly said the high winds in September and October, which toppled hundreds of trees and cut power to hundreds of homes, had caused havoc with the bike track.
"We thought we had got rid of the worst of it, but then they struck again a few weeks later.
"It's hard getting the volunteers out to help. Many Geraldine people had to deal with mess around their own place before cleaning up after others," he said.
The October winds were the worst the town had experienced in decades.
The Lions group had a big work-rate over recent weeks after strong winds knocked down 100 trees, blocking many parts of the track.
Mr Kelly said locals provided up to a dozen tractors, and just as many chainsaws for the clearing job which took several weeks to complete.
"It was done at no cost. This shows the spirit of the community, and what the track means to them," he said.
"It was done in pretty quick order, considering it was all volunteer work."
Mr Kelly said since the 30km bike track was established about seven years ago, it had become increasingly popular in the summer.
In March, more than 400 riders competed in the annual Geraldine Mountainbike Challenge. Mr Kelly said it was expected to attract similarly large numbers next year.
"It grows every year, that's why we needed to get it cleared in time. It was a worry, but we managed to get it done."
The Geraldine Mountain Bike Challenge takes place on March 16.
The Timaru Herald