The Advocacy Way Day 3

Bank holiday Monday, it was all supposed to be over by now and today was the day for kicking back and relaxing with my wife. But I had unfinished business to attend to.

A hot meal, warm bath and a good nights sleep I woke refreshed, although my ankle was playing up after all the pedalling and pushing but I was determined to get to Hope.

I left home around 10am to cycle the 6 miles back to where I left the route.

It was during these six miles I seriously thought of quitting. My ankle was agony, my Achilles’ tendon had really tightened up. I was in pain. All sorts of thoughts were running through my head. The most disturbing one being what if it snaps as I’m approaching the top of Cutgate.

I finally found a pedalling position that eased the pain by lowering my saddle by half an inch. It was game on.

Arriving at Langsett I started to meet other bikers out riding the trails, chatting and telling them about my ride. Walkers were also taking advantage of the better weather, they were also greeted with a smile and a cheery hi.

I was soon on my own again as I started the long technical climb along Mickleden Edge and the onward to the summit. The bogs that this whole quest is about were practically none existent but the erosion caused by those avoiding them at their worst was evident to see.

Up at the cairn I stopped and chatted to more bikers before the long descent to Cranberry Clough.

With no bikepacking kit on I could enjoy this descent to the full and soon enough I was pedalling along the shore of a very empty Derwent reservoir.

My route then took me on some of the classic trails including the fantastic Hagg Farm Zig Zags. Thanks to the gentleman from Hull out on his Santa Cruz for getting the gates on this great descent.

Along the edge of Ladybower to the final climb of the day aptly named locally as Shit Bastard. On the ridge below Win Hill I could almost see the finish line.

One last blast along the roman road and down to the gate at the end of the off road section only to be greeted by Jacquie who had been following my progress all day on Strava Beacon. Smiles all around we shared the final road section to Cafe Adventure where my Sister and Brother in law were there with my nieces to welcome me across the finish line.

So that was it I’d done it. Not quite in the style I would have liked, but I had laid down a route to follow.

Overall it was a excellent challenge in the fact that it really pushed me, and not just because of Sunday’s weather. Some sections were an absolute joy to ride, while others gave me that real “what the hell am I doing here” feeling.

The weather on Sunday certainly was a test of character, but once you’re out in it, it’s not that bad really. I was lucky in that I had the right clothing for the job and spent the day relatively comfortable.

I also find it quite easy to lose myself in my own thoughts and so the hours out on my own just turning the pedals we’re almost meditative.

Can’t Quit being my mantra…..

Would I do things differently next time?

I would take some lights to allow me to carry on into the night, but I reckon 10-12hrs of riding is enough for anyone. If I’d had lights, it would have meant that I could have taken more breaks instead of just ploughing on. Other than that, oh and a lighter for the stove, I think I got things pretty spot on.

So there you have it ……….

The Advocacy Way

153 miles. 246 km.

16,300 ft of ascent. 4,970 m of ascent.

If you fancy taking on the challenge and would like the Gpx file of the route, get in touch and for a small donation to Mend Our Mountains I will send you the file.

Any questions just ask… 👍

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The Advocacy Way Day 2

I tossed and turned, finally sleeping soundly between 01:00 and 05:30. Wanting to be on the road before daybreak, I reluctantly got out of my warm sleeping bag and packed everything away.

The first pedal turned as the clock struck 6am.

With bad weather forecast, I wanted to give myself the best start and planned to get to Hebden Bridge before I stopped for a real breakfast, (caffeine gel and snickers does not a breakfast make).

Back on the trail again I met Paul Kirkham, who was out for an early morning blast before the rain came in. Although our destinations were very different we shared the same route for a good while. It was nice to have a bit of company. We chatted and let the miles float by.

As we descended to Widdop Reservoir the weather began to close in. We met a couple of bikers coming the other way, on their own mission of riding the Pennine Bridleway having set off from Sheffield the day before. They too were concerned what the weather had in store for us later.

We wished them well and carried on, saying our goodbyes. I headed down through Hardcastle Crags as Paul headed home.

By now the rain was coming down hard. Soaking wet and in need of a good feed. The good people at Blazing Saddles bike shop let me store my bike inside while I went for breakfast. In Hebden for me there’s only one place to go and so I headed to Mooch Cafe and luckily got the last seat in the house.

A bucket of coffee and a full English was the order of the day. Make that two buckets of coffee. I left with a full belly and a warm rosy glow. Heading back to the bike shop, I chatted shop before stocking up on Happy Bottom Butter (is there really a better name for chamois cream) to keep the chaffing at bay and set off.

Anyone who has visited Hebden Bridge will know it’s nestled a steep sided valley, so the climb was as tough as I thought it would be. Pouring rain making even the cobbled roads a slippery challenge.

I pressed on, once again finding myself on the Pennine Bridleway and the old packhorse trails that criss cross the moors around these parts. Descending to the canal at Summit I received a text from Jacquie saying she had just missed me at Mankinholes and was waiting just ahead of me at the Summit Inn. Her beaming smile cheered me up no end as I rolled on the towpath in the pouring rain.

We headed for the pub and I stood outside under the smokers’ shelter while Jacquie went in for drinks. A few minutes later she came out saying that the landlady, on hearing of my quest, insisted that I came inside out of the weather. So, bike stored safely in the beer garden, I went inside to a very warm welcome. Several cokes and a bowl of chips later, I left with a small donation. Thank you!

My journey now took me once again over the moors and across a very busy M62, my life a million miles away from those thundering past below.

This section proved quite tiresome and nondescript as the weather closed in even more. I rode on through thick mist and heavy drizzle. Up and down past several reservoirs, I was starting to flag. My enthusiasm was waning through a culmination of the weather and the homogeneous reservoir access tracks I was now riding. Then I heard a shout up ahead. Jacquie had again followed my progress and was waiting for me by the Rams Head pub on the A672. She passed on some messages of support which I’d been receiving through her takeover of my social media accounts, giving me a much needed boost.

Crossing the A640 I was heading for home territory and a trail I’d wanted to ride for a long time. The descent into Marsden must be one of the best in the area, a real mix of flagged sections, boardwalks and fast singletrack, proving what can be done with properly planned and managed trail repairs and maintenance.

My arrival into Marsden coincided with a group heading for the train station all dressed up for a night on the town. I didn’t envy them one bit and I’m pretty sure the feeling would be mutual.

It was here that I met Jacquie again. She asked me how I was and if I was going to continue on from here or call it a day, but with several hours of day light left and being on home soil as it were I said I would press on, and so I did.

The only thoughts going through my head now were of the hills I had left to climb, and the slight disappointment I felt at not staying out another night to complete the challenge in the style I had planned. A message from my sister saying I’d earned the right to a hot bath and warm bed after being out all day helped with my decision to head for home.

The hills proved easier than I expected and I was soon on the final stretch of tarmac before the point at which I had chosen to end the day. This short stretch of road was the hardest part of the day. I really needed to dig deeper than ever I really had given it my all today, and it was starting to show.

Garmin turned off, a short message recorded for social media, and I headed for a warm bath, a hot meal and my bed. Luckily I had tailwind to take me the last six miles home.

I finally stepped through the door at 9pm a full 15 hours after leaving the field just outside Earby. I was tired, broken and my hands and feet were like prunes.

I thought that was it, my Challenge was over I couldn’t carry on, until I heard more messages of support saying I deserved a night at home having endured the worst weather of the entire summer. Others were urging me to finish what I’d started and so I went to bed satisfied I’d done my best and I would see in the morning if I had the energy to finish the job off.

The Advocacy Way (Day 1)

Having been involved in 2 fundraising events for the Mend Our Mountains campaign, Mtb Dolly’s Mixer, riding from Hayfield to Lady Cannings just outside Sheffield, and the Steel Valley Ride, a circular route starting and finishing at Fox Valley Stocksbridge, I thought it was time for me to organise my own.

Wracking my brains as to what I could do, I literally had that Eureka moment while soaking in the bath.

I thought why not link my two favourite biking destinations, Dales Bike Centre in Reeth, North Yorkshire to Cafe Adventure in Hope, Derbyshire. As a bonus it would also mean linking the various advocacy group areas along the way. Hence the Advocacy Way.

Not long after coming up with the idea I made my plans known to Cut Gate campaigner, and member of Peak District Mtb, Keeper Of The Peak. That was it – no going back, although I still had to create the route and pick a suitable date in which to do the ride.

Now everyone loves a good map and lucky for us we have an account with Ordnance Survey so we have the whole of the UK at the click of a mouse.

After a few hours staring at the screen, I had a line on a map.

Although the route would be going through areas I knew well, over fifty percent of the route would be unknown ground. I had no idea what to expect all I knew is that I had to stick to bridleways and byways, no cheeky footpaths (except in emergencies).

Over the summer my better half, Jacquie Budd (Outdoor-Girl.com), and I honed our bikepacking skills with a few local trips, plus a 10 day trip to the Outer Hebrides.

To give me the best chance of completing the route it was decided that the August Bank Holiday would be a good time and with the weather we’ve enjoyed all summer I was hoping for good conditions.

With our accommodation booked for the Friday night, I set up a Just Giving page and watched as the donations came in.

In the weeks leading up to the start I had a few anxious moments as to the enormity of the challenge I had set myself, but on the whole I was excited at the thought of the adventure ahead.

Friday the 24th August came around soon enough and with the van loaded we headed north on the A1.

We were soon clear of all the traffic heading to the Leeds Festival and with the A1 upgrade complete we made good time getting to the Dales Bike Centre.

A good meal and a few pints in The Bridge Inn at Grinton and it was back to the DBC for a final kit check and sort out the maps I would be needing for the trip.

If you’ve only ever visited Dales Bike Centre on Ard Rock weekend, you will not have experienced the peace and quiet the place has to offer – and the fact it has dark sky status means you’re pretty much guaranteed a good nights sleep.

The Plan was to rise early load up the bike and head off straight after my coffee and obligatory Bacon Butty. But this went out of the window as other guests readied them selves for the day ahead we all got chatting about our plans for the day.

In the end I left DBC a little later than planned. At just after 10am, I rolled out of the car park and made my way south. The first hill of the day was a real wake up call as I pedalled up past the YHA and out onto the moors.

The weather could not have been better, beautiful blue skies with just a scattering of fluffy clouds. A perfect day for a bike ride.

As my legs warmed up I settled into a steady rhythm. Dropping down past Castle Bolton I headed for the river, with Stu’s [Dales Bike Centre] words ringing in my ears. Having seen the route I had planned, he remarked that he wasn’t too sure about the stepping stones over the river. I took his comment in jest.

The Bridleway to the river was stunning, an old sunken Lane with clapper bridge over a small beck. My mind wandered until I rounded a corner and there they were – or there they should have been, had the river not been high enough to completely cover every single stepping stone.

I stood and weighed up my chances, until finally common sense prevailed. I got out the map and looked for a detour.

Taking a diversion through the tourist hotspot of Aysgarth, I was soon back on track. After a fair stretch of road work I was soon climbing up onto Walden Moor. Indistinct bridleways made route finding tricky and slow going…but it was never meant to be easy.

The descent into Starbottom was a treat, made all the more exciting with a fully loaded bike.

Out onto the road I was now heading into familiar territory.

I rolled into Kettlewell much later than I anticipated and had a very late lunch at the cafe.

I also took this opportunity to check in with Jacquie who was a little concerned it had taken so long to cover the first 25 miles. I reassured her that now I was on familiar ground the miles would soon fly by.

Leaving Kettlewell I cycled past Kilnsey crag, with climbers hanging around on my right and the show field getting prepared for the upcoming Kilnsey Show on my left, I was soon back climbing again, this time up Mastiles Lane – or the wall as I like to call it as it stretches out in front of you, with your neck craning to see the top.

Under normal circumstances I relish these types of climbs, but with a loaded bike and many more miles still to go I knew I had to pace myself, so I pushed the final steep section before rolling over the crest and descending the other side. Onto Gargrave, I had a pit stop at the Coop before heading for the canal. By now I was eating up the miles and my thoughts were turning to finding a spot to bivvy for the night. I reasoned that as I hadn’t planned to cycle through the night I would pedal until it was dark and find a spot in a suitable field and so I pressed on.

I knew a large section of this part of the route would be on the Pennine Bridleway and found it to be well signposted although its reputation for having lots of gates was proving to be true.

With darkness falling, I found a corner of a field suitably tucked away and settled down for the night.

Super Noodles and a hot chocolate were to be my treat of a supper but sadly my stove decided otherwise and failed to light. I had plenty of gas, it was the ignition system that failed. I even had a back up piezo, but even that wouldn’t light the thing. So it was no hot meal for me, just a half eaten pasty, a snickers and a slurp of water.

I lay there thinking of the days events, and what was to come. An almost full Moon rose over the horizon with Mars for company as I slowly drifted off to sleep, waking occasionally to the sound of owls screeching and foxes yapping.

you can still donate by heading to…….

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-budd2

Cut Gate Project

Think of high mountain passes in the UK and your thoughts may automatically bring up images of the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands or Snowdonia in Wales.

Photo ‘overlooking Cranberry Clough’

But to me Cut Gate is the Peak District’s very own mountain pass. Linking Howden Reservoir in the Derwent Valley to Langsett Reservoir via isolated valleys and open Moorland.

Leaving the very end of Howden Reservoir by the picnic and wild swimming spot of Slippery Stones, the trail steepens as you begin the climb out of the valley.

Your effort doesn’t go unrewarded, as the trail relents the views behind open up and that feeling of being in true wilderness takes hold. The only reminder of human contact being the flagstones that line the climb up to Margery Hill. Reaching the top of the climb there is a large stone cairn and the views all around are magnificent, proper edge of the world stuff.

The descent off the other side down towards Langsett reservoir is a mix of bed rock, crushed stone and flagged paths all of which blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, with only a few exceptions.

The BOGS OF DOOM, two short areas on what is a classic trail for all user groups, be that walkers, fell runners, horse riders and mountain bikers. These two sections of deep bog make it difficult to pass in all but the driest of summers or coldest of winters when the ground is either baked hard, a rare occurrence, or frozen solid.

Photo, one of the ‘Bogs of Doom!’

Well plans are afoot to bring an end to having to negotiate these areas.

Two of the country’s leading Mountain Bike advocacy groups, Ride Sheffield and Peak District Mtb along with @KeeperofthePeak have got together and working with the Peak National Park and Moors For The Future have come up with a plan. This has since been picked up by the British Mountaineering Council and seeing it as a very worthwhile cause have included it into the national ‘Mend our Mountains‘ campaign.

When the work is done not only will it mean a better experience for all users but more importantly it will protect what is a fragile landscape. By creating a distinct and lasting single path line to help the surrounding vegetation to recover.

See the recent regeneration work at the Cutthroat Bridge carried out by Moors For The Future here.

This is where we come in, due to the isolated nature it is going to cost an estimated £75,000 to carry out the work. By clicking on the this link you can donate directly to the campaign or why not set up a fundraiser to help towards this worthwhile cause.

Although this campaign was the original brainchild of mountain bikers it really is intended to bring all user groups together in a project that will benefit everyone. So whether you’re a walker, fell runner, horse rider or mountain biker, show you care for the landscape we call our playground and get on board and in the near future you can be the ones who are at the top of Cut Gate with a sense of pride knowing you’ve done your bit to protect this fragile planet.

Photo, Mickleden Edge above Langsett Reservoir

Long, Low and Slack…. The progression of bike design.

For those of us who passed our driving test in the 80’s can you remember your first car? If it was anything like mine, a Mk1 Fiesta with meagre 1.1ltr engine, no power steering and terrible brakes, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It was ok just pottering about town, but get it on the motorway and anything above sixty and you were taking your life in your hands.

Similarly, when I first started Mountain Biking back in the late eighties I doubt much thought went into how geometry affected the bike’s handling, it was more a case of making the bike strong enough to cope with off road riding. Rim brakes were pitiful in anything but dry conditions, and suspension (if you could afford it) was just bits of elastomer wedges giving about 50mm travel at best.

Riding these bikes with their narrow bars, long stems and steep head angles taught you how to handle the bike over the rough stuff. Picking your lines carefully so as not to smash yourself or your bike to bits.

Moving onto the present day and most people’s first cars are much more powerful even though the engine size hasn’t changed much. They have power steering, anti lock brakes, and most now have traction control too. Today’s cars are much more stable at motorway speeds with the ability to brake under greater control.

Put that into biking terms. I hazard a guess that most people’s first bike is an all singing all dancing enduro/all mountain beast, with powerful brakes and suspension that can be finely tuned. Riders can now simply plough through rough terrain letting the bike do most of the work to keep them rubber side down. Ok head angles have slackened somewhat since those early days, and the emphasis seems to be on keeping chain stays as short as possible, resulting in a short wheel base.

So where does “Long, Low and Slack” come into all of this? Quite simply put, handling at speed is greatly increased by putting you in the centre of the bike and not biased towards the front wheel as a bike with steep head angles does (think twitchy XC bike demanding a high degree of bike handling skills) or sat over the back wheel as you would be on a full on downhill rig with a slack head angle and short chain stays (great for the downs but not so good on the ups.).

Long, Low and Slack gives you the best of both worlds, and not only that, with its increased wheel base and lower bb you get a much more stable platform to work with. This goes for hardtail bikes as well as full suspension.

With this progression, does this mean that trails need to get gnarlier? I don’t think so!Riding bikes will always be Fun and anyway in my eyes there will always be two types of rider.

Type 1, Those with a healthy sense of self preservation always riding. Total control, and Type 2, those one step away from a Darwin Award.

With this progression in bike design I see it as a win win situation. Type 1 riders will feel safer and more confident over rough terrain and type 2 riders, while they will still ride on the ragged edge of staying upright, have a greater chance of surviving those heart in the mouth, getting away with it by the skin of your teeth moments.

So there you go my thoughts on the progression of mountain bike design.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo of the 1997 Marin Bobcat courtesy of Jacquie Budd

Photo of the latest generation of the Rocket with longshot geometry, courtesy of Cotic Ltd

What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us

Advocacy groups seem to be a bit of a buzz word in mountain biking at the moment.

But who are they and what have they ever done for us?

You’re maybe new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, riding the trails with absolutely no idea that there are people out there getting together on a regular basis holding meetings and organising maintenance crews to work on your behalf.

So to coin the phrase from Monty Python.

What Have Advocacy Groups Ever Done For Us???

Better Access……….

Did you know? Some of the access we currently enjoy is down to the work of these groups.

While you’re out happily riding the trails, advocacy members are meeting with landowners, land managers and National Park Authorities. These meetings go along way to show the powers that be that we are a responsible group of individuals. This has a knock on effect of opening more trails in the future.

Trail Maintenance……..

Groups regularly organise dig days, to help maintain the trails we ride.

Working closely with the National Park Rangers, Landowners and the associated authorities, maintenance schedules are drawn up and managed correctly.

Only then can an army of volunteers be called upon and work begin.

Work ranges from simply kicking out blocked drainage ditches (something that they encourage us to do if we pass a drain that is blocked) to unearthing and rebuilding drains, and taming boggy sections of track and reaffirming lines that have grown wide due to people (walkers and bikers alike) avoiding the bogs.

Not only do they help maintain the trails but they also act as a voice of reason when trail maintenance is being taken too far by the local authorities.

But there’s a catch…….

All this great work could all be in vain, due in part to the behaviour of a few bad apples.

Riding illegally on footpaths, unsanctioned trail creation and riding trails closed for maintenance doesn’t go unnoticed by the powers that be and user groups who still see mountain bikers as a menace.

It’s this kind of “I’ll ride where I want” attitude that could easily jeopardise the opening up to more trails and could see recently gained access withdrawn in future.

It’s not just mountain bikers

Climbers are coming under the spot light for all the wrong reasons at the moment. This month’s issue of Summit (The BMC’s publication) is full of articles and news on how to behave when outdoors.

Complaints from landowners include….

Walking on top of dry stone walls to avoid mud on the approach paths. Inconsiderate parking, littering, toilet habits, to the over use of chalk, and something new to me nighttime bouldering by lantern light.

Behaving in this way no matter how few are doing it is likely to result in the landowner refusing access. I’m not even talking small out of the way crags, but major well known iconic venues.

Luckily climbers have The British Mountaineering Council on their side. A massive organisation with full time access and conservation staff as well as regional groups of volunteers all working on behalf of climbers and hillwalkers.

As mountain bikers we don’t have anything like The BMC to support our access rights. What we do have are local well organised groups of bikers, all working voluntarily on our behalf.

Advocacy groups Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB have grabbed The BMCs attention with a campaign to restore/repair a section of the iconic Cut Gate.

The BMC have even taken up the baton and added the work to their Mend Our Mountains campaign to raise enough money to help rid Cut Gate of the bog of doom or the Notorious B.O.G. Which will hopefully see this iconic trail become rideable most of the year and not just the few dry weeks we get during a good summer.

So if you’ve read this far and want to know more check out the links below.

Ride Sheffield

Peak District MTB

Mend Our Mountains (Cut Gate)

If you’re reading this and you have a local advocacy group with a website which you would like adding to the list let me know.

Thanks for reading and happy riding.


Five things to do in Sheffield/The Peak District when the trails are under mud

1. Try Sheffield’s 2nd favourite sport, Climbing!

For years Sheffield has been well known to climbers for its easy access to the gritstone edges. You’ve probably seen them topping out on Curbar or Froggatt as you rode the Eastern Edges route, or you’ve seen them huddled around the giant boulders below Stanage Edge as you descend under the crag.

Well did you know Sheffield boasts a great collection of indoor walls.

For roped climbing try The Foundry, one of the original indoor walls and home to the world famous Wave bouldering wall. Awesome Walls is one of the biggest venues in the country, both have a good selection of both lead and top rope walls with grades from easy to ridiculously hard.

One word about roped climbing is that if you are a complete beginner you will have to enrol on a course before you’re let loose on the big walls. Learn the ropes as it were.

If on the other hand you have no intention of tying onto a rope but still want to give climbing a go then The Climbing Worksis the place for you. A dedicated bouldering only venue. Where some of the best in the world come to train, but don’t worry the route setting is legendary with problems from easy to World Cup standard. With competitions like the CWIF and the BIFF, it’s also a great place to watch the best in the world battle it out.

If however you want to stay outdoors their are plenty of outdoor adventure companies offering instruction/guiding.

Peak Mountaineering based in Castleton offer outdoor climbing introductory courses.

2. Grab your running shoes.

Sheffield has some great parks bordering the edge of the city and the Peak District with way marked running routes.

They’re all colour coded giving you the choice of Easy, Medium, Hard or Challenging. With Thirty routes available across fourteen locations in parks and woodland around the city. Explore Sheffield from a different perspective whether you choose to run or walk.

Details can be found at The Outdoor City Run Route

3. Open air swimming in Hathersage

Some of you may know Hathersage, famed for its collection of Outdoor retailers, but did you know behind the high street and across the road from the main pay and display car park there is an open air pool. Open all year round it is heated, but does also offer sessions of cold water swimming if you feeling brave/daft enough. Details of opening times etc can be found at Hathersage Pool

4. Put your boots on

Did you know the Peak District was the First National Park in the UK. Home of the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout when 100’s of ramblers took to the hills, to highlight the fact walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country. It is thanks to these protesters that we enjoy the freedom of access that we have today, so why not celebrate the fact by seeing the glorious Peak District at a leisurely pace and explore the myriad of footpaths that now crisscross the peak. Check out Vertebrate Publishing’s guidebooks for inspiration

5. Lend A Hand

If none of the above appeal then why not come and meet the locals by coinciding your visit with one of the monthly dig days led by advocacy groups either Ride Sheffield or Peak District Mtb.

Both groups have done great work in keeping the trails running sweet and are working with land owners and land managers to improve relationships between all users and improve access to more trails, with the opening of permissive bridleways along the eastern edges only the start.

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6. And Your Bonus for sticking with me

You come all this way and you simply must ride your bike, well Sheffield might not have the likes of Gisburn or Llandegla in terms of trail centres but what it does have are a series of purpose built trails in various locations around the city.

Lady Cannings

The first trails in the UK to be built with crowdfunding with 2 tracks to chose from both Blue Steel and Cooking On Gas are blue grade trails and were professionally built by BikeTrack. With a red/black grade trail in nearby Redmires plantation planned for the future.

Parkwood Springs

Another blue grade trail this time with red grade options, offering jumps rollers and berms in this 2km long XC style circuit with 65m of ascent and descent it’s a great place to throw in a few laps to get you fit when the rest of the trails are a mud bath.

Greno Woods

Home of the biggest little race, Peaty’s Steel City Downhill. Greno has 2 red routes, Pub Run and Steel City (with black options) and DH3 a black grade trail with several large but rollable jumps which gets steeper towards the end. All trails are connected by bridleways taking you back to the top for another run.Again these tracks were built by BikeTrack with permission from Sheffield Wildlife Trust and funded by Peaty’s Steel City Downhill of which all profits go back into building and maintaining the trails.

Rother Valley Country Park

Situated a short drive off junction 31 of the M1 Rother Valley Country Park, home of the Rother Valley Riders who have built a network of trail to suit all abilities. Details can be found here Rother Valley Trails

Finally if you really must sample the delights of riding in the Peak, up to date trail conditions can be found by following Keeper of the Peak on Twitter @KoftheP Also the good people at Vertebrate Publishing have put together a free download of what is considered an all weather loop, although this too can be impassable after heavy snowfall.

I hope you find this useful, and hopefully see you out on the trails. (Once they dry out a bit that is)

Oh one more thing when you’re out and about please remember to…..