This just in from Gordon McMinn who’s been introducing a bunch of youngsters to the delights of mountain biking with the help of Sheffield trails – The Kirklees Adventurous Activity Team have recently completed a second 6 week mountain biking project with young people from around Huddersfield, where they have utilised the bridleways and trails of Sheffield.
The young people on the project have very little experience of ‘real riding’. Their experience came from riding their bike around the local estate and the rides that they had done during the first project. The idea of the projects was to develop the skills of the young people and open their eyes to the joys of being out in the countryside and riding a bike.
Kitted out with Specialized Hardrocks, the project took the group on a few local rides to give them a taste of mountain biking on bridleways and local trails. As the groups skills and confidence grew, the terrain become more challenging for the group, and resulted in trips to Wharncliffe woods to ride some parts of the cross country route and the fire roads, Parkwood Springs and Lady Cannings and Lee Quarry in Baccup to play on the trails and a loop around Langsett.
At the end of the first 6 weeks the group were taken to Parkwood Springs on a cold and damp winter morning. Their eyes lit up at the sight of the first berms and rollers and the freedom that they were given to ride each section at their own pace. The wind, rain and cold took its toll and only the hardiest of the group managed to put in a second lap before the call for coffee and hot chocolate.
In the second 6 week project, Wharncliffe introduced the group to distance riding along with some technical riding on the cross country single track sections. However the ups and downs of the fire tracks (and the weather) took its toll on the group and their spirits diminished. In order to put smiles back on their faces, the group was bussed over to Lady Cannings the following week. We took the long route to the top via Houndkirk road, and it wasn’t until we entered the plantation that the group realised what we had instore for them. A slow ride down the trail let them know what to expect, and then they were off doing lap after lap of the trail until they couldn’t pedal any more.
The final weeks riding was done over a two day residential. The first day was a trip to the playground that is Lee Quarry to ride trail features and hone their skills that had been developed throughout the project. The last ride took us along the Trans Pennine Trail from Dunford Bridge and then into Langsett to ride the natural trails around the reservoir.
After the project the feedback was positive and requests were made to head back to all the trails that had been ridden and do it all again. Lady Cannings came out on top for places to ride, and the idea of riding the dual track at Parkwood Springs has ignited the competitive streak in the group.
The trail development and natural riding that Sheffield offers has helped to inspire a group of young lads and has opened their eyes to the joys of mountain biking – I’m sure that the Kirklees Adventurous Activity Team will be bringing more groups out to ‘play’ in the near future.
Thank you Ride Sheffield. Gordon McMinn (Kirklees Adventurous Activity Team)