The rebellious heart of mountain biking can occasionally tip over into a kind of juvenile grumpiness, “I don’t care, I’m going to do what I like and the rest of the world can go to hell.” Ride Sheffield loves the fact that individualism and freedom are core parts of our great sport, but we also love it when the sport pulls together to achieve a greater good.
Why are we saying this? Well, over the last ten years, Ride Sheffield has achieved many notable successes through hard work and excellent engagement with local land managers. Much of that success is down to you, our brilliant supporters. New bridleways, managed trails and consistently encouraging riders to act responsibly are just some of the high points.
With Redmires our ambition to build a trail that is not only within a national park but in the midst of a honey-pot location is a real test of the mountain biking community. Redmires could set an exemplary precedent for future trail construction. To be a success it needs to be bulletproof, minutely planned to take account of its position and the landscape around it. Sheffield City Council working with Ride Sheffield are involved in ongoing conversations with the Peak District National Park and other local groups to get this right.
But unfortunately, we’ve heard that large groups have been riding public footpaths in the wider Redmires area on a regular basis regardless of conditions. Some are also straying onto Hill 60, an important archaeological site which served as a military training ground during World War 1 and is highly regarded as a memorial to those who fought and died in the Great War.We even have reports that some of the trenchs are being ridden. Surely it should be treated with the respect it deserves?
We know this is a separate issue to a proposed designated MTB trail within Redmires Plantation. We know most of our supporters do the right thing. We know we’re preaching to the converted. But we need to demonstrate that we’re a community who know how to enjoy this particular landscape without upsetting anyone.
We know this may not sound like the ride you signed up for. You ride to escape, be free, to quit the nine to five. You just do it. Some riders might be more familiar with understanding the minute detail of tyre pressure or sag than about where you ride and the positive and negative perceptions it may cause.
So we need to reach beyond our core support. Please talk to other riders, tell them about the situation, urge them to avoid areas that are rightly considered out of bounds to mountain bikers. Its not complicated. We’re urging riders to be respectful and responsible, not to stop riding.
We have a mountain biking wonderland in the Peak District and Ride Sheffield is trying to prove that we not only care about our sport but about the environment in which we practice it. Please be part of the solution not part of the problem.