Before going to Maydena, I wanted to explore more of the island first. I was convinced to visit Derby after a handful of suggestions (it wasn’t even on my radar originally), and boy- am I ever glad I visited! When I first rolled up to town I had zero plan, other than wanting to stay there for a few days. I dropped by a shop called Vertigo MTB and they welcomed me to town with open arms. Vertigo also does shuttles up the local trail network in town, so I hopped on a shuttle later that day and was grinning ear-to-ear after the first lap. Vertigo owner, Buck Gibson, was also my driver. His fun-loving attitude kept the vibes high all afternoon. After that first day I quickly fell in love with the town.
The riding in Derby is incredible, I can easily see why this is such an exciting Enduro World Series stop. Not only that, but the riding community blew me away. This place is the perfect example of taking a ghost town and transforming it into a little mountain bike oasis. Riders are everywhere and the amount of trail development that’s happened in the last few years is extremely impressive. In just a few years mountain biking has saved this community. The Blue Derby Mountain Bike Project was backed by a $2.5 million Federal Government grant. The government’s goal was to develop a new industry and help the region recover from the collapse of the forestry industry. It’s safe to say this was a huge success.
Much like Tasmania, we are so blessed with amazing natural terrain on Vancouver Island, but we don’t have communities quite like Derby. Our local governments could learn a valuable lesson from the way they do things in Derby. The visit to this little town was eye-opening to see how much impact mountain biking can have on a community.
Feel the flow on one of Derby’s popular trails “Air Ya Garn”