These are exciting times to be a mountain biker in Sheffield. We have some of the best natural trails in the country and a buzzing scene too, not that I’m biased or anything. Add to that lovingly hand-crafted trails at Grenoside Woods and Parkwood Springs, a superb new pump-track in Totley, the upcoming Steel City Downhill, venerable venues like Bolehills and Wharncliffe and it’s difficult to come up with another British city that can hold a candle to Sheffield’s all round mountain biking brilliance.
Imagine however, if this was just the beginning. Thanks to the generosity of Ride Sheffield members and local businesses, we’re well on our way to starting work on the Lady Canning trail project. Crowd sourcing the funds has proved an enormous incentive to Ride Sheffield’s key volunteers because it has thrown up the obvious challenge – if we can do it once, can we do it again?
Sheffield is the leafiest city in the UK. Green spaces and woodland abound, perfect for mountain bike tracks. With our growing experience of community funding and maturing abilities as a lobbying organisation we should be aiming to build a new trail every year or two. Sheffield is the Rome of the North, built on seven hills but with better beer and friendlier locals. So why not seven trails? We’ve already have Greno and Parkwood in the bag with a third in the planning stage at Lady Canning so why not aim high? Seven trails dotted around the city would be a magnet for riders from the surrounding area, a tremendous resource for young people discovering cycling for the first time and cement Sheffield’s reputation as outdoor pursuits capital of the UK.
All we need is ambition, determination and bloody minded northern grit and we can transform Sheffield into a mountain biking mecca. Who’s up for it?