In February 2021, Christchurch Adventure Park teamed up with the Himalayan Trust and Move 92 to fundraise money for a pump track in the Nepalese village of Phaplu. We raised over $13,000 for the cause.
Nepal, like New Zealand, is heavily dependent on tourism to support the economy. With Covid, border closures and the lack of tourism, the Nepalese communities reliant on trekking struggled. The pump track not only created employment for the un-employed Sherpas in the region, it gave the local children a safe place to play.
The pump track was the brainchild of Nepali, Ang Tshering Lama. Ang is delighted with the success of the initiative.
"It's safe to say in business terms we 100% captured the market. The pump track was so popular that we saw 60-plus kids waiting to use the pump track after school. It became so popular that we needed to schedule sessions for the various age groups during the week.
"Thank you to everyone for believing in us and trusting in this initiative. We have learnt a lot - including how our trails will hold up in the monsoon season."
Since its success, the Nepalese Government has invested in Mountain Biking in the region, funding the development of mountain biking trails which has resulting in over thirty locals now employed in the development.
"You are now seeing mountain bikers coming to the region and staying three or four nights, which has aided the economy and supported the accommodation sector," says Ang.
Moving forward, Mountain Biking is set to become a significant sector of the economy, which fits well with Nepal's outdoor and active brand image.
The Phaplu Mountain Bike Club is now focused on the further development of trails, as well as building a cafe at the pump track to generate a small income, and planning for the 'Everest Enduro' event. While the Everest Enduro has the potential to become a global event on the calendar for riders around the world, for now organisers are keeping it local and using it as a way to encourage more females and young girls into the sport by implementing a 'no registration fee' for female riders.
CAP is proud to support this initiative. "It clearly sits well with our ethos of Active Wellness and Sense of Community", says General Manager, Anne Newman. "Once borders open again we can not wait to see the impact this project has had, ride in the Himalayas and work closely with the Phaplu Mountain Biking Club to develop the sport and learn from each other. How awesome would it be to organise some rider exchanges between the two countries?!"