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Remembering Oxford Falls - Video

Aug 1, 2016
by Sam Stockwell  



Views: 3,463    Faves: 44    Comments: 10


For over 20 years, the Oxford Falls Freeride Trails have been one of Australia's most iconic Freeride spots. Located in the Northern Bushland of the Beaches, Oxy was a perfect strip of land riddled with 4wd tracks right next to a perfect shuttle road - with an elevation difference of 90 meters. Though not huge, this made for one of the best places for anyone to enjoy the whole hill, even without a car.

This small bit of bushland has become home to thousands of mountain bikers; downhillers, freeriders and dirt jumpers. With a wide variety of amazing trails and features all packed into a tight package, Oxy was the place to be.



Another shot from this morning featuring young talent Tim Huges


Sydney is essentially all sandstone rock slabs, which gave birth to the area's iconic style of feature; utilising the dramatic rock formations the hill had to offer. Rock shelves made for great senders, as well as landers for even larger jumps. In between, there was a huge selection of lines to choose from; steep, dark trails with mossy rock rolls - to fast, loose singletrack corners into senders.

For more info on the history of the site: History of riding at Oxy.

The early days of Freeride on the Northern Beaches.
The early days of Freeride on the Northern Beaches.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
The Trail Map that once stood on the board at the top, but was repeatedly stolen...

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Jay showing his downhill prowess - you build it, you ride it.

bigquotesOxy wasn't just a place to ride. It was a place you could go and connect; with both nature and people - Peter.

David Maggs - So much style
Ladder Drop back in 2011.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
One of the incredibly sturdy landers built to outlast civilisation itself. The Big Green lander was kindly donated by one of the longstanding crew, who decided his house would be fine without some of its steel supports.

From the very beginning, Oxy has been about going big. Features all over the hill grew exponentially over time; peaking with the construction of one of the most serious hand-made lines of the era; 747 and A380.

Llew launching a380.

bigquotesOver 3 years on the scene at Oxy, I've seen 2 people hit A380. The commitment needed is ridiculous and to land it is extremely prestigious in the local gravity community. - Angus.


Views: 2,152    Faves: 9    Comments: 2



Road Track
The centre of so much activity at Oxy was our slopestyle trail; Road Track. Spanning half of the hill, the trail was feature-riddled from the time you entered the trees at the top, to rolled out on the road at the halfway shuttle turnaround. With Dee Man in the van and trailer at the bottom, many weekends were spent just doing full laps - overtaking on Whale tail, or rubbing wheels on Foreplay. With 22 completely different jumps and features, no run was ever boring.

Harry Alford Shreds
Harry Alford down for a day after a 2hr drive.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Tim Hughes, one of the gnarliest around.
Jack Baker coming off the wallride during a sunset session at Oxford Falls on Sydney s Northern Beaches.
The Wallride when it was shiny and new. One of the features that made Road Track so diverse.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Early photos of the newly installed Whale Tail, 2012
Starting out as a downhill trail in its early years, Road Track went through years of growing and gradual upgrades - to become a totally unique trail that was literally ridden by anything from Downhill rigs, to Trail bikes, Dirt Jumpers and even BMX bikes.
One of the defining moments of any rider you will meet will be the time they first completed a full run of Road Track - often the result of a 'sandwich train' thanks to the lads.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca

Claims to Fame

Oxy has had its share of pro riders grace its dirt back in the early to mid 00's. People still speak of the skills day they attended back in 2001 run by Cedric Gracia, and how much it inspired their passion. Before the 2009 World Champs, the crew had an unexpected visit from Fabien Barel and Gee Atherton.

bigquotesWe were out shuttling on a Saturday, when Gee and Fabien just turn up ready to ride. We trained it all the way down the hill following the rainbow striped jersey. At one point, we got to a hipped drop we still hadn't done and stopped for a look. Gee just comes in behind us at walking pace, checks it out, throws two pedal strokes down and just hucks it blind. We had to bloody hit it after that. -Tbig






There were all manner of beings to be found at Oxy on any given day; almost every time you pulled up there was someone you had never met, or had never been before. Demographics were ever changing and expanding all the time; kids any age could be found dropped off by their parents on a Sunday - looked after local riders as old as 60.

You could find anything from Mechanics and Lawyers, to Designers, Artists, Tradesmen, Students, Doctors, and Businessmen at Oxford Falls, pushing their passion and making lifelong friends. It wasn't uncommon to see blokes bringing their partners out to teach them how to ride and get them in on the fun.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
A huge crew of grommies watching Llew go big on the Veggie-747-A380 line.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
All the crew throwing down trains for Halloween/Christmas jam?
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Standard tom-foolery
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Tom Wrigley has to have been the rider that went the biggest at Oxy - trains with this lad are crazy!
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
A little twelvie Tom loving his time in the dirt.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Clean Up Australia Day in the Rain.

bigquotesOxford Falls has been an all time favourite place to be, having made friends with people from many parts of the globe, met at the same unique trails. Almost every weekend I would make the 2 hour drive down just to ride. Not only has it enabled huge rider skill progression for me, but it's brought together a community. Will never forget the great times had there - Sacha

Views: 1,908    Faves: 8    Comments: 3


bigquotesI found myself at Oxy for the first time by accident after a build day for a local club. When finishing up the day, I was offered to go ride Oxy. Not really knowing what to expect, I followed them into the first set - I'll never forget how stoked I was after my first run of Oxy! Subsequently, I started riding there more regularly and met everyone who made Oxy a reality. I couldn't help but notice this infectious stoke this family of riders had for building and riding. Oxy was my gateway to a whole other meaning of mtb where mates get together for a laugh, a dig and a ride and I'll always be thankful to the legends who made Oxy happen. - Jono

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Wardy, unfortunately, did swing towards the odd nudie run.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca

Between us, we could cover any two-wheeled category; from Wriggles throwing down choice backflips every run, to Hughesey who always managed to find a way to make a gap or drop even bigger than necessary, on anything from dirt jumpers to downhills. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince our local law enforcement Kel to hit the Slopestyle on his cyclocross - it will have to wait until we have a Bike Park.

Despite conflicts and changing crews over the years, the passion and excitement stemming from the features and trails of Oxy transcended any barrier. We only hope we can continue this legacy and tradition in other trails, bike parks and jump spots.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Road Gap was a nice big Downhill jump on Berm Track, that was the subject of so many push runs.

bigquotesAs a foreign rider freshly arrived in Sydney, the Oxy crew made me feel at home and showed me around. Never had more fun than ripping around with those guys I did not even know a few hours ago. Shame to loose such a legendary spot where so many young and old guys were riding together and having fun. - Charlie

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
The weird days of Freeride - the "Dirty Shirt" tradition.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Where cross-dressing and jumps collided every Christmas Eve.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca

High five one hander at Oxford Falls Freeride Park
Skelly was the centre of many shenanigans.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Veggie was known as the biggest drop for anyone to progress.

Lay of the Land - Riding Sydney s Northern Beaches
Nimdawg enjoying the ANZAC III hip.

bigquotesI was a complete hubbard. I'm still a complete hubbard, but I met many of my close friends riding Oxy, and the trails were the tits. - Will.

Berm
Dee Man's Berms on Berm Track made the whole line feel like a bike park right here at home.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
I was one of the first and only girls to even attempt the dirt jumps - such a track allowed for progression for absolutely anyone who wanted to ride jumps! This is me learning to jump the jump that became the Whale Tail - Jaclyn.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Josh loved Snakes - Oxy's most raw, natural and insanely fun downhill trail.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Two mates having a laugh

bigquotesOxy was the place where I felt my riding was really improving, always wanting to find new gaps and new lines. I also wanted to flip Skelly, as it was the perfect just for trying those kinds of tricks. I just had (and still do) heap of creative lines and big gaps I wanted/want to try. - Tim Hughes

Views: 8,740    Faves: 108    Comments: 16


bigquotesIt was 2009, I had just turned 45 and my wife gave me a "Learning to Fly" course at Oxy. Dirt Back was none existent, the road track was rough and looking back most of the stuff was not very big. As Oxy was refined and grew, so did my riding. I can really say at age 53, that there has been no turning back. Oxy has been a fantastic place to play, learn, grow and feel alive. Thanks to all the great guys that built not only a sweet ride but a thriving community. - Gary.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca





The real tragedy of the situation began to unfold as the week went on; as there was no contact or communication made by the land owner, the community was confused and upset as to what had happened. People started running into members of MLALC in person at Oxy, which was more contact than what had been achieved in over 2 years. Despite very positive conversations, the damage had already been done - they had already put up signs and fences, and Road Track was totally flattened.

Unfortunately, the day came when a contractor discreetly turned up one quiet Wednesday after school holidays ended. The weeks leading into this destruction, there was increased activity and trail destruction from even the CEO of Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council himself. Carpets were ripped off all the jumps, lips were damaged or torn down, drainage destroyed and wooden structures' supports cut. As many riders worldwide can attest, losing your favourite trail is one of the most heart-wrenching things to ever happen to you. I came across a few riders brave enough to have a look in the next few days, fighting back tears and gritting their teeth.

It's never a pleasant feeling to see a community almost in mourning; upset and confused about where we could all possibly ride now. With a bike park over the hill in the fairly distant future - we are wary but hope is not lost.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
MLALC have totally locked us out of every trail. The closure is largely due to the Aboriginal Carvings on Junction Rock halfway down the hill.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
"MOUNTAIN BIKING IS NOT A CRIME" - An empowering slogan covered up by more Keep Out signs.

The real tragedy of the situation began to unfold as the week went on; as there was no contact or communication made by the land owner, the community was confused and upset as to what had happened. People started running into members of MLALC in person at Oxy, which was more contact than what had been achieved in over 2 years. Despite very positive conversations, the damage had already been done - they had already put up signs and fences, and Road Track was totally flattened.

It's never a pleasant feeling to see a community almost in mourning; upset and confused about where we could all possibly ride now. With a bike park over the hill in the fairly distant future - we are wary but hope is not lost.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Whip Tree Before.

Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
Danielle Beecroft - one of Australia's fastest Women - sneaking in some Speed and Style practice before Crankworx Rotorua.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
After.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
The poor contractor had a few days of solid work to get rid of Road Track.
Remembering Oxford Falls - Sydney s Freeride Mecca
One of the biggest and most iconic jumps around; Skelly is flattened.



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'Lie of the Land' was a short film I put together last year while on a 4 month injury break - I tried to give a bit of a cross-section of the amazing trails and community others may not realise are here in Sydney. So much of my time I spent filming was at Oxford Falls, as that was where so many of my friends and the community went regularly.



Thank you to all that made Oxford Falls one of the best places to ride in Australia - all the builders, photographers, parents and riders that dedicated time and money to building an incredible community. Though the trails are gone, they will certainly never be forgotten. Let us hope this just serves as a lesson to both us and landowners, as well as councils and governments; that destruction and closure of trails causes far more damage than just a few flattened jumps. We hope we can find a suitable outcome that will benefit both parties for a safer and happier future enjoying the bush.






MORE INFORMATION: Trailcare / Friends of Oxy / Matt Staggs Visuals / Belrose Bike Park


MENTIONS: @MattStaggs / @AimMedia / @bikesarehellafun / @RichardMcGibbon / @JarradDuffy




25 Comments

  • 4 0
 RIP Oxy. Its really sad to hear about this. I'm a international student just came Sydney for couple week and I even planned to ride at Oxy when I on plane! I nearly cried when my friend told me that Oxy is gone. I just want say thank you to Oxy, thanks for all the happy moments that you give to all Sydney riders and the happy moments that you give to me, even though I never been there before but I still felt happy every time I watched video on youtube about people ride at there. Is my honored that I've known a wonderful place that ever existed.
  • 2 0
 So both Oxy and Hornsby (for a while anyway) are closed. Where the eff are Sydney people supposed to ride now? Last time I went, Mt Annan was closed because it was "a bit damp" (mountain bikes hate damp). Glad I moved to Italy where trail building is an art form!
  • 2 0
 Hit up greenvalleys its epic
  • 1 0
 Good article Sam. Spent countless Saturday mornings shuttling there with mates. Always had a blast and sometimes come home with my tail between my legs after a scare and/or injury. It will be missed. Hopefully the land owners will come to their senses and see the positive effect that land had on a lot of people of all ages and maybe change their mind. The sceptic in me thinks it will be sold to developers in the end.
  • 1 0
 Shattered Oxy is gone, but feel privileged to have had the chance to ride there. I hadn't ridden there in 6 months and so stoked to have snuck one more ride in a week before it was closed down and that feeling of hitting Road Gap and Fun City will forever be etched in my memory!!
  • 2 0
 Years to build, few days to destroy. Some people will never understand how much hard work and passion goes into creating trails. I feel so bad for everyone who built and rode there.
  • 3 0
 Awesome article! R.I.P Oxy.
  • 3 0
 Well put together Sam! So glad I got to ride there on a few occasions just before it was demolished. Even before I moved to Sydney from Tasmania I knew all about Oxy, it was recognised as an iconic freeride destination to most mountain bikers throughout Australia! Looking at the deep history in this article has me feeling lucky to have experienced Oxy first hand (albeit briefly). Such a shame riders of the future will not be able to say the same thing...
  • 3 0
 Such a shame. Always wanted to visit but never got around to it.
  • 3 0
 Outstanding article, thank you.
  • 1 0
 #RIPoxy suks i live in canberra never been there but was planning to. wish people would see would see the positive impacts mtb has made overseas and learn from it
  • 2 0
 Fuck I wanted to ride there this summer coming up but never got there...this shits me to tears!
  • 3 0
 This is so sad to read, great article though
  • 3 0
 Great work mate!
  • 1 0
 RIP Oxy, I was never really good enough to properly ride you and now never. What a tribute
  • 1 0
 Geez, I raced DH there in the 1990s. The sandstone slabs were carved by God just for mountain bikers.
  • 2 0
 Great article Sam!
  • 1 0
 Loved that place. Build on.
  • 2 0
 Great tribute. So sad.
  • 1 0
 what? I plan to build new down hill bike? f*ck, who did that ? OMG
  • 1 0
 Rode snakes with some garigal gorilla's this morning and it still holds up
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace Oxy!
  • 1 0
 rip
  • 1 0
 RIP Oxy
  • 1 0
 #RIPoxy

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