National Trust

National Trust

Urban Polaris


When is the National Trust Urban Polaris?

The Urban Polaris will be held on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Where will the Polaris be held?

The Polaris will be run in and around Canberra, ACT. The event will start and finish at the Former Transport Depot (home of the Old Bus Depot Markets) located off Wentworth Avenue Kingston ACT. The site is centrally located close to the Parliamentary Triangle and can be found here at the Event Centre

How does the event work?

The Urban Polaris is a seven hour navigating and biking event where teams of two must find their way around a series of control points spread throughout Canberra. Each control point is given a point value that the competitors accumulate throughout the day. The team that accumulates the most points by the end of the seven hours is declared the winner. However, time penalties do apply for teams that return late. Successful teams will require good tactics to ensure they visit enough control points while allowing themselves time to return back to base without incurring too many penalties. Smart riders will plan their routes for maximum point accumulation and minimum penalties.

What is supplied for the event?

At registration each team will be supplied with the following:

  • Race bib (x2)
  • 1 full size (fold out) copy of the ACT Governments “The Canberra & Queanbeyan Cycling & Walking map”. You can view the map here
  • Pencils (x2)
  • Metric ruler
  • Cable ties
  • Control card
  • List of control point co-ordinates

Where will the control points be located?

The locations of the control points throughout the event are kept secret until the event actually begins but will include historic/heritage sites (some well-known others not so) throughout Canberra. This ensures competitors plan their route while the event is underway, which is half the fun!

Can our team use GPS devices and/or other navigational aids?

Yes, you are able to use GPS devices, compasses etc. However GPS co-ordinates will not be supplied on your control description sheet and we do not warrant the accuracy of the ACT Governments “The Canberra and Queanbeyan Cycling and walking map”.

How many points will each control point be worth?

Each individual control point is assigned a value however riders are not informed of these values until the event is underway.

What time does the Urban Polaris start? What is the official finish time?

Rough timelines for the day are as follows:

Registration Check In: 6:00am – 7:30am
Competitors check in, sign appropriate waivers, and are assigned a bib number and starting time.

National Trust Urban Polaris Begins: 8:00am – 9:30am
Competitors are released in staggered 10 minute intervals (usually in groups approx. 20 – 30 riders).

Riders Return: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Riders check back in (stiff time penalties apply), relax, tell some tall tales from the day, have a beer and rest while our team frantically feeds the results into the database. (Each entry includes a voucher for a sausage sandwich and a beer or soft drink)

Results Announced: 5:30(ish)pm
The winners and place getters are announced for each category and prizes are handed out.

How do I register?

Registrations are lodged online. Enter HERE. Each rider must register individually but enter the event as part of a team of two. Please indicate the team you will be riding with upon registration.

How much does it cost to enter?

Entry into the National Trust Urban Polaris costs $85 per rider with all proceeds going to support the activities of The National Trust of Australia (ACT).
A discounted flat fee of $10 per child under 16 applies as long as they are accompanied by a full paying parent(s) or guardian(s) – we can cater for teams of greater than two if families would like to ride together

What categories can I register under?

National Trust Urban Polaris 2017 must be entered in teams of two under one of the following categories:

  • Men’s Team
  • Women’s Team
  • Mixed Team
  • Men’s Vets Team (Member Combined Age >80)
  • Women’s Vets Team (Member Combined Age >80)
  • Mixed Vets Team (Member Combined Age >80)
  • Men’s Super-Vets Team (Member Combined Age >100)
  • Women’s Super-Vets Team (Member Combined Age >100)
  • Mixed Super-Vets Team (Member Combined Age >100)

Please note this is a team event so there will be no solo category.

If you would like to participate as a family with younger children please contact us to discuss a discounted entry fee.

What is the age limit for competitors?

The minimum age limit for the Urban Polaris is 16 unless the child is riding in a team of two with a parent or legal guardian and we have been notified upon entry. Please contact us for more information.

What prizes are on offer?

Coming soon

Do I have to be an experienced rider or navigator to take part?

No. Although the Urban Polaris is a competitive event it is open to people of all skill and fitness levels. Due to the open format riders choose what route they are comfortable with taking and at what speed. Whether you’re after a fast paced crash course around Canberra or a leisurely Saturday ride, the Urban can be whatever you make it.

Are you able to ride a normal road bike in this event?

The National Trust Urban Polaris is suitable for bikes of any kind (as long as they are self-propelled!). However not all control points will be accessible from sealed roads (i.e. you may have to walk a road bike a short distance to clip your control card) and of course the shortest route between control points may not always involve sealed roads or paths! So, any advantage a road bike may have on the flowing cycle paths of Canberra could be off-set by a mountain bike “shortcutting” across a nature trail. Ultimately it is up to the rider as to what kind of bicycle they enter in the event but they should be aware that the terrain can vary greatly between control points depending on the route taken.

Where can I stay while in Canberra?

You can find information about accommodation in Canberra at

Will there be access to food and drink during the event?

Participants will need to take care of their own personal food and drink requirements while away from the Event Centre. A number of the control points will have water taps close by and of course the wonderful thing about cycling around Canberra is that you are never far from a suburban shopping centre most of which have cafes, mini-marts or service stations (in the larger centres).