No disrespect to the B13, but it's not the sort of thoroughfare you'd give up a day off to experience.
However, the newly-opened mountain bike trail that seeks to serve the same purpose of linking Railton with Latrobe does offer such an incentive.
The Latrobe and Kentish councils are the latest to dip their toes into the muddy but lucrative waters of the mountain bike tourism market.
The Wild Mersey network aims to complement Tasmania's numerous existing mountain bike destinations plus new trails at Queenstown and Zeehan as well as between Derby and St Helens.
Fabulous, sorry “awesome” 3 days exploring @WildMersey mountain bike trails around Latrobe, Railton and Sheffield.— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) June 21, 2019
Long way from being finished but it’s a terrific start.
5km loop off Goliath Park in Railton as much fun as anything in Tassie #bigcall@MTBAust@launcestonmtbpic.twitter.com/BgUV6GgzEY
The Warrawee Forest Reserve 15-kilometre network south of Latrobe opened in December and, while impressive, remains a work in progress.
Then, on Saturday, June 15, amid much fanfare and free sausages, the second stage of the $4.1 million system traversing 16 surprisingly hilly kilometres between Warrawee and Railton was opened.
Having already enjoyed sampling Warrawee and exploring the old rail trail between Railton and Sheffield, the prospect of more virgin track was too much to resist.
And so it was that on one of those crisp, frosty Tasmanian mornings when the idea of fingerless gloves is just the product of an evil mind, we arrived in Railton with clean bikes, backpacks full of choccy bars and a desire to explore.
About 40 horizontal (and one vertical) kilometres later, we had experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of a network that is to Tasmanian mountain biking what Ash Barty is to Australian tennis - full of promise, capable of topping the tree but still well short of realising maximum potential.
All the ingredients are there, they just don't quite make a cake yet.
Where currently are muddy creek crossings, bridges are promised.
While an impressive bridge spans the Mersey at Warrawee, latest reports indicate it has already been swamped by floodwater and another is desperately needed to cross a similarly fast-flowing creek just a stone's throw away.
And where trails are still under construction, logging roads are being used to complete the link.
It may be a bit premature and unfair to judge the trails before they're finished, but no more so to open them before they're completed.
But onto the positives, and there's plenty to like.
Built by South Australian company TrailScapes, the link includes plenty of fun easy-gradient flowing lines and achievable hairpins passing through a variety of environments including lush forests, river banks and plantations.
The undoubted highlight of many impressive features is the staircase featuring 22 switchbacks (even Alpe d'Huez only has 21) just off Great Bend Road. Obviously fun going down, it was surprisingly enjoyable going back up due to the builders' efforts to avoid gut-busting sudden escalations in gradient.
And on the subject of tolerable climbs complementing exhilarating descents, the 5km Teleport/Green Hornet loop above Railton that will ultimately form part of a 100km network also taking in Sheffield and the Badgers Range is worthy of mention in the same sentence as the North-South Track and Big Chook. Praise doesn't come any higher.
I've embedded the Strava details in the online version of this story so, for those of you reading the newspaper, get with the 21st Century and have a look at our website. I suggest doing so while pretending to work or being told important information by family members who will later complain that you did not take it in before helpfully adding: "I knew you weren't listening".
What had already been an enlightening day was capped off by a chance meeting with Kentish Mayor Tim Wilson who was testing out the state's largest pump track for himself with some more cyclo-adept offspring.
Noticing our mud-splattered appearance, he requested a full report of our adventures and observations, with a genuine desire for feedback, positive or negative.
Railton is unashamedly seeking to follow the Derby blueprint.
Working on the "If you build it, he will come" philosophy of Kevin Costner in the cheesy 1989 flick Field of Dreams, it hopes some of the popularity of Sheffield and Latrobe will rub off on the oft-forgotten town between them. Apparently the whole topiary thing isn't quite cutting it.
Having shops with names like "Railton Burgers and Bikes" suggest it is ready to cater for the healthy appetites of mountain bikers, although I'd heartily recommend the combination of refreshments and Wild Mersey knowledge available at the Limestone Cafe Bakery.
Despite the grand - if premature - opening, the word isn't exactly out yet.
We passed a grand total of six other riders and one of them had a Latrobe Basketball Association sweatshirt on, so I'm fairly certain they were mostly local.
But spending four hours almost exclusively restricted to the sound of black cockatoos and the trickling River Mersey has a lot going for it.
Wild Mersey should not be down-valued because we've been so spoilt by Blue Derby.
It's getting there. Toilet, shower and bike wash facilities (might need to attach some hoses) aim to complement the trails and the finished product should be well worth a visit.
And word will get around because sharing information is one thing the mountain bike fraternity does well.
And drinking coffee. And exchanging crash stories. And lying to spouses about how much they paid for their bikes.
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