Trail use

There are a number of ways we monitor trail use; some of these are informal and rely on club members reporting on who they talked to while out riding.

However, there is a formal method used:

  • We have installed four MTB counters that work using a magnetometer on a number of the trails (they do pick up carbon bikes!) at Mangamahoe.  We are using these TRAFx trail counters operating in Bike mode.  The trails that were part of the first period of monitoring were: Kiwi Kids, Mandatory Power Play, Lawsons Loop – GDO Link and Kahore Tau.  Subsequently the counter from the Kiwi Kids track was moved to the Highway to Hell trail and the GDO Link one was moved to Lap It Up.
  • Last October the counter that was on Highway To Hell was moved to Sweet Spot and the one that was on Lap It Up was been moved onto Cash Flow Extension.  The one on Sweet Spot was moved June 2020 to the end of Snakes and Ladders after the Forestry Manager informed us that there was going to be thinning operations around Sweet Spot at the end of June/early July.
  • By the end of January 2020, the counters have been in the park for 3 years.  There have been a number of things learnt along the way:
    • The 3 C size alkaline batteries in each counter have to be replaced every 7 months.
    • Don’t place the counters near growing large trees as the strong winds move the ground around the tree via the shallow roots of the tree.  The counter then gets moved through the earth’s magnetic field and counts that as a bike passing – we had some large numbers of bikes/hour on a trail halfway through the night on a couple of occasions until the counter was moved to a more stable location.
    • Daylight Saving is a pain if you want to adjust the timing intervals on all the data recovered to match summer time.  So the counters have been left in NZ Standard Time for the whole year.
  • The NPDC used to have an infra-red counter at Mangamahoe and they would pass the traffic information to us.  The counter had been having some issues and the NPDC seeem to have stopped using it by the pinch gate at the main entrance.

Some of the results provided from the data collected from the TRAFx counters are shown here (last updated 25th June 2020):

What did a daily count look like for the L4 lock-down period that lasted from 26th March to 27th April?  Did we stay at home or not?

Clearly not.  Over the 33 days of Level 4, there was an average of 4 riders/day on 3 of the trails and 6 riders/day on Kahore Tau.  KT had more riders compared to the other trails which is probably explained by those fit folk who rode out to the park and come in over the dam and tailrace; Kahore Tau being the first trail they come to after riding up the shared path from the tailrace.

For the 85  days leading up to the L4 lockdown we can see what the counts/day were:

Cash Flow
Extension
Kahore
Tau
Mandatory
PowerPlay
Sweet
Spot
Max/day 84 114 140 176
Min/day 2 3 1 0
Average/day 26 40 62 49
No. of days
with no riders
0 0 0 1

.

The minimum, maximum and averages per day over the 365 days of 2019 were:

Cash Flow
Extension
Highway
to Hell
Kahore
Tau
Lap It
Up
Mandatory
PowerPlay
Sweet
Spot
Max/day 68 199 190 212 190 134
Min/day 1 0 0 0 0 0
Average/day 25 26 25 45 45 49
No. of days
with no riders
0 11 13 13 5 2

.
We now have 249 complete days data for the two trails Cash Flow Extension and Sweet Spot:

The 19th January is when Sweet Spot took the most riders/day = 176.  161 riders went down that trail 17th May after we were back at Level 3 and were allowed to drive out to the park.  You can see the Level 4 period when there was little use of the park.

The minimum, maximum and averages per day over the 249 days to the 23rd June 2020 were:

Cash Flow
Extension
Sweet
Spot
Max/day 156 176
Min/day 0 0
Average/day 26 44
No. of days
with no riders
6 8

.

We can get monthly averages.  These are the monthly figures for the first 5 months of 2020:

So like elsewhere around NZ most probably, the trails at Mangamahoe were ridden more during the month of May compared to January 2020!  For the 4 counters, 6321 rides were recorded during January 2020 whereas there were 6945 rides recorded; we were glad to be back on our bikes.

You can see the significant drop for April when we were mostly in either L4 or L3 lockdown.

Here are the values per month for 2019:

The monthly averages trended downwards to August and picked up again as spring and daylight saving took effect.

.

What are the trends for the time since the counters have been installed?

Some of the 2020 figures are a bit distorted by their use in some XC racing events and the Level 4 lock down and subsequent Level 3 use of the park.

For 2019 and 2020, each of the sites is seeing  25+ bikes per day on average with three; Lap It Up, Mandatory PowerPlay and Sweet Spot having on average 40+ bikes/day.

There seems to be over well over 16,000 bikes in our park over any 12 month period.