2019 Destination Mountain Biking Forum

The Destination Mountain Biking Forum is a gathering of world-class speakers and delegates from across the Australian and international mountain bike industry, hosted at one of Australia’s most high-profile mountain bike destinations, Maydena Bike Park.


A group of industry-leading speakers will present keynote performances and a variety of workshops across a two-day program. The Forum has an extensive social and networking component, including group rides and dining sessions that have been designed to maximise networking opportunities.


The Forum program has been developed to provide valuable insights and discussion for all areas of the mountain bike industry, with a focus on developing world-class mountain bike destinations.


    The Forum is hosted at Australia’s newest major mountain bike destination, Maydena Bike Park in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley. Maydena Bike Park is located in Maydena, approximately 1:30 from Hobart Airport and 1:15 from Hobart CBD. Hobart Airport has direct flights available from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.

    For travel planning assistance please contact us at [email protected]


  • February 13th – 15th, 2019


  • Standard admission $499


  • 2-day conference program

  • 2 days of morning tea and lunches

  • Thursday night Summit dinner

  • Afternoon riding sessions (including uplift)

  • Delegate gift bag

  • 50% discount on additional uplifts pre/post event
Speakers are invited to submit a 200-word abstract or workshop proposal if they would like to be included in the forum program.

Our Keynote Speakers

The MPB story

Simon French

Simon has been involved in the mountain bike industry in a range of roles for over 20 years. He has spent the past 10 years as the founder and Managing Director of both Dirt Art and the Maydena Bike Park, two companies that have helped shape the Australian mountain bike industry in a rage of ways. Simon is a passionate rider, who has ridden and raced many of the words leading mountain bike destinations.


The Maydena Bike Park (MBP) has been a four-year journey of putting square pegs into round holes, and learning through breaking things. The park has blazed an innovative path towards developing the kind of mountain bike facility that mountain bike riders truly want to visit and ride. Along the way, the development and operation team have faced near-endless challenges from unexpected approval challenges, floods, fires, and a rider death. MBP continues to strive to build bigger, and better trails and infrastructure, with a busy pathway ahead towards recognising the goal of establishing the world’s biggest and best commercial bike park.

The emerging media and marketing landscape

Chris Southwood and Mick Ross

Chris and Mick have been involved in the Australian mountain bike media industry for many years, more recently founding the Flow Mountain Bike Company. Flow has gone on to re-shape the Australian media landscape, particularly in the area of destination marketing.


Flow Mountain Bike are at the forefront of modern mountain bike media and destination marketing in Australia, with a well-established web platform and a huge social media audience. As mountain bike destinations continue to develop across the country, marketing is becoming a critically important tool. Chris and Mick will discuss the current and emerging trends in mountain bike destination marketing, exploring the most efficient and cost-effective ways to achieve destination marketing success.

The changing face of bike retail

Robbie McNaughton, Drift Bikes

Robbie started out in the mountain bike industry as a retail assistant in ‘98. He went on to produce and distribute downhill mountain bike films in 2001, and opened a mountain bike store, Drift Bikes, in 2003. The retail store was founded on a get out and ride philosophy with a heavy investment in digital marketing in conjunction with his original business partner, Josh Stephenson. The store has recently undergone a change of ownership, with Robbie partnering with surfing retailer Rhys Smith from Sanbah Surf. This new stage of development as one of the largest retail bike stores in the country has moved its focus to a multi brand platform including Specialized, Trek, Santa Cruz, Yeti and BMC to name a few, with a fashion and lifestyle element previously not on offer from the old business model. A renewed focus on cycling tours, and a goal to introduce a cycling school in the new year, 2019 will be a sweet 16 for Drift Bikes and one that Robbie is very excited about.


Drift Bikes will be delivering on how to value add to your tours, market your business to your followers through the promotion of your tours and talk about the power of followers living vicariously through social media.

The Australian mountain bike market

Simon French, Dirt Art

Simon has been involved in the mountain bike industry in a range of roles for over 20 years. He has spent the past 10 years as the founder and Managing Director of both Dirt Art and the Maydena Bike Park, two companies that have helped shape the Australian mountain bike industry in a rage of ways. Simon is a passionate rider, who has ridden and raced many of the words leading mountain bike destinations.


Every two years, Dirt Art completes a national mountain bike market profile survey, providing valuable data to all areas of the industry. In 2018, the survey is in its third rendition, providing data across a 6-year period. Join Dirt Art’s Simon French for a summary and analysis of the 2018 survey data.

Simon will provide a critical analysis of the data, exploring key market changes and trends, helping attendees understand the key markets in the industry, and how they can be targeted in destination design, development and marketing.

Forget about the bike for a second

Phil Boorman, New Zealand Active Adventures

Phil Boorman is the co-founder of New Zealand Active Adventures, which was recently purchased by private equity firm Blue Sky Alternative Investments partnering with some heavy-hitting individuals such as Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey. Phil has more recently gone on to co-found New Zealand Mountain Biking, a new mountain bike specific tour provider operating in North Island New Zealand.


Most in the travel industry have their own idea of what “customer experience” is. In Phil Boorman’s keynote address, he’ll challenge the conventional wisdom of this notion, and offer a fresh perspective that are especially relevant and important to adventure travel providers and specifically mountain bike tour operators.

The Bike Park Wales story

Rowan Sorrell

Rowan is a veteran of the UK mountain bike industry, as a racer, Director of trail development company, Back on Track, and founding director of Bike Park Wales, the UK’s largest uplift bike park. Bike Park Wales set the world standard for uplift bike parks, and continues to be a market-leader for bike parks on a global level.


BikePark Wales was born from a passion to create the best mountain bike facility in the UK, the UK’s first full scale bike park to rival the best in the World.  The BikePark Wales team have slaved day and night for 5 years to create this incredible facility.  BikePark Wales is built for riders, by riders. BPW blazed the way for a new era of uplift bike parks, setting a standard to which bike parks around the world now strive. Rowan will tell the BPW story, including the challenges and successes the park has seen across the past five years of operation.

Strength of community in a commercial scene

Ronnie Baker, Queenstown MTB Club


The mountain biking community in Queenstown is strong, it’s been fundamental in the the development of mountain biking in the region. Before commercial operators, before trail networks the community was coming together to get stuff done. As the biking reputation and the trail networks have grown, the community has grown with it. This has brought along it’s own growing pains. The town is expanding, businesses have grown, population is growing at an alarming rate. What does this mean for the mountain biking community and the town as a mtb destination? How does this affect the strength of that community and how it influences the town? The Queenstown Mountain Bike Club is at the core of this community and we want to share our experiences, challenges and successes.

Developing Warburton – Australia’s next major mountain bike destination

Matt Harrington, Yarra Ranges Council


The Warburton Mountain Bike Project is one of the most ambitious mountain bike destination projects undertaken in Australia. The project involves the development of an eventual 160+km of trails in the township of Warburton, North East of Melbourne. Yarra Ranges Council have undertaken a unique and comprehensive planning approach for the project; hear from Project Manager,
Matt Harrington as he describes the Warburton story.

Our Workshops

Workshop 1

A: Developing successful businesses in MTB towns

Presenters: Buck Gibson – Vertigo MTB Blue Derby

Summary: Ask any Australian mountain bike rider if they’ve heard of Blue Derby, and you will get a resounding, yes! Buck’s business has boomed along with the popularity of the Blue Derby trails, with Vertigo playing no small part in the broader success of the destination. Buck now operates uplift, bike retail, rental, repairs and bike skills coaching, along with a café in the town, and has a number of valuable insights into establishing successful businesses in a rapidly growing mountain bike town.

B: Developing world-class bike school programs

Presenters: Rhys Ellis – MBP

Summary: Maydena Bike Park has placed a strong focus on developing a best-of type bike school, a program that has been led by Park Manager, Rhys Ellis. Learn how to set up a successful bike school that promotes safe skill progression, while delivering strong financial performance in a commercial bike park setting.

C: Trail Design 101

Presenters: Dirt Art trail design team

Summary: Join the Dirt Art trail design team for an in-field practical walk through some of the Maydena Bike Park trails. The session will involve discussion and rationale around trail design decisions and methodology in a practical setting. Learn the fundamentals from some of the best trail designers in the industry, in one of the most challenging landscape settings for trail development.

Workshop 2

A: Successful MTB events from organiser and rider side

Presenters: Duncan Giblin- Stormboy Events & South East MTB Association, Maydena Bike Park Events Team, professional race (rider TBC)

Summary: The mountain bike events landscape is changing; no longer can any organiser of a 100km cross country event expect a minimum of several hundred riders. Rider expectation is changing, and there is an increased focus on value beyond just the trails and racing. Join two leading event organisers and a professional rider (rider TBC) for a wide-ranging discussion on what makes a great mountain bike event, and how events are more than just a one-time benefit for regional economies.

B: Incident and crisis management – what to do in a worst-case scenario

Presenters: Romany Brodribb – Timmins Ray PR, Simon French – Maydena Bike Park/Dirt Art

Summary: In even the most well planned, safe and approachable trail network, there is always the potential for a catastrophic rider injury. Simon brings valuable insight into managing incidents on the ground, while Romany brings a significant understanding of successfully managing the publicity fall out from serious injuries in a mountain bike setting. The session will provide an interactive discussion into how to manage worst case scenarios.

C: Bike School mock lessons

Presenters: Rhys Ellis – Maydena Bike Park

Summary: Join Maydena Bike Park Manager, Rhys Ellis for a ride through the park hosting a mock lesson/guiding session. The session will show how a ride guide/lesson works in a practical setting

Workshop 3

A: Trail master planning for success

Presenters: Simon French- Maydena Bike Park, David Willcox- Common Ground, Robert Potter- Dirt Art

Summary: As mountain bike destinations continue to be developed across Australia, is there a risk of over saturating the market? How do new players establish their unique strengths and point-of-difference? Explore these questions and more with a panel of Australia’s most experienced trail planners.

B: Managing land manager relationships

Presenters: Chris Colley – Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, Liam Hooper – Maydena Bike Park

Summary: The vast majority of destination mountain bike trail development in Australia occurs on land managed by state Parks and Wildlife Services, yet the majority of these agencies are not the primary driver of this development. With this in mind, building long term, sustainable relationships with park’s agencies is fundamental to the future success of mountain bike development in Australia. Parks Tasmania Regional Manager, Chris Colley and Maydena Bike Park COO, Liam Hooper will lead an interactive discussion on land manager relationship management in a real-world context.

C: Developing effective signage systems (outdoor workshop)

Presenters: Rhys Ellis – Maydena Bike Park, Jason Lam – Dirt Art

Summary: Effective signage allows trail networks to function effectively and safely trail users rely on effective signage. A comprehensive signage system is fundamentally important to a trail destinations success. Join Maydena Bike Park’s Rhys Ellis, for a practical overview of the MBP signage system in practice.