The history of the group is always a work in progress, but to work out where we are going, it’s worth looking at where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved. This document is the history of Ride Sheffield as well as major landmarks in mountain biking across the city and beyond.
This is a brief summary of events and does not include all the volunteers who have contributed to dig days and other events; without whom we would not be who we are today. All entries highlighted in blue link to relevant websites.
We are also grateful for the continued support of Cotic Bikes, GoOutdoors, Vulcan Engineering, Avanti Conveyors, Norton Mayfield Architects, Vertebrate Publishing, Eastern Moors Partnership, J E James and Bike Track.
- After several requests, Henry Norman is invited on to the city’s Local Access Forum (a statutory body overseeing decisions made to the rights of way network) as the only MTB/cycling representative!
- With several enquiries related to Bridleway changes on Fox Hagg, MTB’s are on the agenda, with the need to cater for them obvious, but largely ignored. Business as usual seems to consist of more 2m wide, smooth trails, anathema to the mountain biking community. Having an active mountain biker on the Local Access Forum is the perfect response to the oft repeated question from other user groups and land managers, “How can we interact with mountain bikers in Sheffield, they are a disparate group and we have no way of communicating with them?”
- MTB Sheffield Facebook page is launched aiming to be a communication point for mountain bikers in the Sheffield area; it gets a slow trickle of members joining it.
- The Facebook group continues to see a steady flow of members but lacks a profile among mountain bikers or other groups. More needs to be done! A meeting is planned and promoted in the local bike shops and on Facebook…
- … and so on the 5th February almost 50 mountain bikers come along to the backroom of the Lescar to hear Henry’s ideas (with help from SCC parks and woodland champ Jon Dallow) and his plea for help to make this happen. http://bikemagic.com/mountain-bike-events/ride-features/sheffield-riders-get-together.html
- A week or so later Henry meets with existing MB advocacy group, Ride the Peak, and decides that it makes sense to join forces. Ride Sheffield is born!
- A week later Henry, John Horscroft, Si Bowns, Martin Baker, Paul Testa, Steven Hardcastle, Duncan Wiggins, Adam Wiles, Matt Hunt and Sue Duke (in spirit) meet in the Porter Cottage, to form the core group and to set out a few aims and objectives for the group.
- Ride Sheffield are invited to be part of the Eastern Moors Partnership stakeholder group. It is the start of a great working relationship with Danny Udall from EMP and continues to be led by John H and Sue D.
- Ride Sheffield is asked to be part of stakeholder discussions with Sheffield Wildlife Trust over their purchase of Greno Woods.
- Ride Sheffield attends the official handover of Greno Woods to SWT and launch of the Greno Woods Appeal. It’s suggested to RS and Steve Peat that they could run a race to raise money for the appeal!
- Henry attends a SHAFF planning meeting to increase the appeal of the festival to mountain bikers, he suggests a Sprung/Earthed chronology and goes about trying to find Alex Rankin to see if this would be possible.
- RS members attend the Blacka Moor Advisory Group meeting.
- First Ride Sheffield Social and Quiz at the Lescar. Danny Udall from Eastern Moors Partnership comes to talk with riders and, along with local rider Jon Cort, comes up with the voluntary agreement for Sheep Skull trails.
- Alex Rankin agrees to do the film for the festival, seems like a good opportunity to hold a race at the same time! Henry chats to This Is Sheffield to bring in their expertise as well as Steve H and Peaty.
- Henry chats to SWT about the possibility of running a race and begins to work with the TiS boys, Peaty and Steven H. Steel City Series is born. Even better SWT agree to the race!
- Sheffield City Council Rights of Way (RoW) team begin work on Houndkirk, burying bed rock and old cobblestones under tons of crushed gritstone and installing boulders that restrict the width of the byway. Mountain bikers are not alone in taking exception to the work with members of various user groups deploring the affect on the landscape.
- Ride Sheffield members begin inundate the RoW team with critical emails.
- 1st Peaty’s Steel City DH is run on a damp and cold March 6th, with over 600 people in attendance. This was followed in the evening by the Alex Rankin Chronology.
- The pressure exerted by Ride Sheffield and others regarding the Houndkirk resurfacing begins to pay off as a line of communication is established between Henry and the Row team.
- Discussions continue about Houndkirk and, eventually, it is agreed that only minimalist work involving one side of the byway will be carried out in the future. Furthermore, yearly meetings between Ride Sheffield and the RoW team become a regular fixture, ensuring a better line of communication and the chance to be forewarned of future RoW improvements.
- With the help of Conor Boyd, the first Ride Sheffield website is launched, as well as our first logo, designed by Paul Testa.
- RS and TiS meet in Greno to map the existing routes used by Mountain Bikers and to look at the potential for developing these routes further.
- Jon Dallow invites TiS, RS, Peaty and a few other willing volunteers to head up to the Ski Village to try out the possibility of using bikes on the T-bar lift. It proves a success with a few modifications and a few wild runs down the Dendex! After the success of this, Bike Track start to construct a DH track down an abandoned piste.
- RS stop the digger in its tracks before contractors can widen and straighten the track from Stony Ridge Car park to Piper House Gate. Thanks to a good working relationship with SWT and some timely phone calls by John H, the contractors are pulled off the site. The track remains a concessionary bridleway and RS volunteers help to maintain it.
- SWT explains that the track used for the first Steel City race is to be fenced off for grazing, so will no longer be an option for riding or racing. He does, however, show us the potential space in which we can build a new track, which will eventually become the Steel City DH.
- Volunteer building work starts at the Ski Village, with volunteers digging in the tighter wood sections by hand. Led by Nick Hamilton, this becomes a weekly event, with a few solid hours of digging and a free pint afterwards, there was always a solid crew of diggers, especially Ruari Hallam who turned up every week! This continued throughout the summer.
- In order to stop the downgrading of bridleway on Fox Hagg, Ride Sheffield instigates a Public Enquiry. This work is led by Steve H in concert with Friends of the Peak District and the CTC to produce a case against any changes.
- Ride Sheffield becomes a Constitutionalised group, formalising the group further as well as making the group more accountable for its actions from its members and supporters. With Henry N becoming President, Martin B becoming Treasurer and Sue D becoming Secretary.
- Working alongside SWT, Ride Sheffield volunteers help to improve the bottom section of Devil’s Elbow bridleway on Blackamoor. With SWT putting down some surfacing and RS finishing the work by improving drainage, as well as adding flow for riders and safe passing spots too. RS volunteers continue to support SWT trail days as well as leading their own on Blacka.
- Under the guidance of Nick Howarth, trail building starts up at Rother Valley Country Park, with the aim to complete an XC loop as well as some DH trails too.
- Social and Quiz sees almost 100 people crammed into the back room of the Lescar to hear what is going on with new trails and ROW issues. Sam Beaton from SCC’s ROW team bravely attends the meeting and gets to see the passion and the strength in depth of Sheffield’s MTB community.
- The website re-emerges thanks to Phil Reed.
- RS, John Jones (Aline Coaching), Bike Track and Steve Peat along with Roy Mosley from SWT head up to Greno on a cold foggy morning, to mark out the Steel City DH track.
- The year starts well with the announcement that we have won the public enquiry, meaning that all three Bridleways on Fox Hagg will remain open. It also means that a couple of footpaths that connect to the bridleways on Fox Hagg are redesignated as bridleways.
- The Steel City DH track is constructed by Bike Track along with a huge day of volunteer trail work, before the final result is finished off by Bike Track ready in time for race day.
- The second Peaty’s Steel City DH goes off with a bang on a rare dry day in a monsoon spring with over 1000 people attending!
- Sheffield Ski Village burns down, taking with it the bridge that was the final missing link for the trail as well as the hopes for a lift accessed trail in the city (for now!)
- Emma Peasland runs the country’s first women’s only MTB race, Stilettos on Wheels at Birchall.
- Cy Turner steps in with Cotic to fund the refurbishment of the Totley Pump track, getting more heavily involved with RS in the process!
- RS are consulted by SCC ROW team on construction techniques for the work to be done on Piper House Gate, resulting in a trail that while surfaced in places remains singletrack and retains much of its character.
- Another phase of track work by Bike Track starts in Greno, with the roller coaster berm section being added to the bottom of the Steel City track as well as improvement work to the Pub Run and DH3. With all work funded by Steel City DH.
- While Ride Sheffield have very little to do with its conception or construction, the completion of Parkwood Springs MTB trail is a significant moment in Sheffield MTB life.
- Henry is appointed Vice Chair of the Local Access Forum for Sheffield.
- Another Winter social, this time with Speakers from Peak District National Park, SCC, SWT and Eastern Moors Partnership.
- John H leads the first in a series of trail days alongside EMP to repair the bridleway on Wimble Holme Hill, converting what was a summer-only trail to one that can be used sustainably all year round.
- John H forms the Peak Adventure Sports Alliance (PASA) aiming to use the collective powers of adventure sports in the Peak District to campaign for better access and recognition of what a fundamental part of the National Park outdoor pursuits are. Ride Sheffield is a founder member of the group.
- Kicked into being by Cy T, Ride Sheffield launches its crowd funding scheme to raise money to build trails in Lady Canning’s Plantation (plans for trails in the woods have been around for as long as the group has!). The first scheme of its kind in the UK, the response is fantastic, with donations from pocket money, through to larger corporate donations.
- The newly refurbished Totley Pump Track opens.
- Pre Steel City DH RS runs a series of dig days to get the track in shape for race day.
- Derbyshire County Council starts work on Stanage Causeway. This is the next in a long line of issues with trail work that they have completed and sees the start of ongoing campaigning to try to improve communication and the nature of the work they are doing.
- Peaty’s Steel City DH continues to grow, with over 2000 people at this year’s event, not only that, it was dry, dusty and even sunny at times!
- Ride Sheffield gets a shiny new logo thanks to the kind donation of work from designer Rich Norgate. It’s quickly out in the public on t-shirts too!
- 2nd Stilettos on Wheels race at Rother Valley.
- Nutcracker MTB runs a very successful XC race at Parkwood Springs
- This year’s AGM sees no change to treasurer, secretary and president.
- The bridleway through Barbrook Valley is opened by the Eastern Moors Partnership.
- Extensive work is completed in Greno by Bike Track. Adding the bus stop section to Pub Run and completing extensive work on DH3 including a climb up from the bottom. All work is again funded by Steel City DH.
- This year’s winter social gives the voice back to the riders, who choose three main areas to debate and decide what Ride Sheffield’s main areas of focus will be for the coming year.
- After a lot of hard work from John H along with the Eastern Moors Partnership and Vertebrate Publishing, The Peak Bike Code is published and distributed around bike shops and outdoor hubs in the area.
- After a few years of steady work in partnership with SWT and with big help from Bike Track, a loop in Greno is signed up, taking in all the DH tracks that have had work on them and linking them up with other rights of way in the woods. Creating an 3 mile red/black XC loop.
- John H and Sue D strike up dialogue with Peak Horse Power in order to improve communication and understanding between the two groups.
- Will Blomfield gets involved with the group and develops the Peak rider survey. Looking at usage and spending power of MTB’ers in the Peak District. The survey has responses’ from over 3000 riders.
- Peaty’s Steel City DH finally get a hot sunny day pulling in over 4000 people to the event.
- The footpaths along the top of Curbar and Frogatt edges become concessionary Bridleways, opening up a large part of the Peak that was previously out of bounds to Mountain Bikers, thanks to hard work by the Eastern Moors Partnership.
- John H Starts up the Northern MTB Alliance. Using the collective power of Ride Sheffield, Peak District MTB, PMBA and the Lakeland MTB group to lobby, British Cycling and CTC for better representation.
- John H attends a meeting at Derbyshire County Council. While not as positive as hoped, it is a step in the right direction.
- At this year’s AGM Steve H replaces Martin B as the treasurer of the group. The other posts remain with Henry N as president and Sue D as Secretary.
- Longshaw Estate opens up bridleways across the estate, linking up the Froggatt bridleway with Houndkirk.
- Ride Sheffield announces that not only has it raised over £15,000 in donations from member and local businesses, enough for the Lady Canning’s Project to go ahead, It has also developed a partnership with Sheffield company Go Outdoors, who are going to sponsor the whole development of the trail over the next 5 years. Meaning that the £60,000 target is met!
- Derbyshire Council begin their resurfacing work on Chapel Gate (Rushup Edge), the work is immediately challenged by Peak District MTB and Ride Sheffield. The work was stopped (and is currently yet to resume). Ride Sheffield continue to support Peak District MTB with their work on this
- The refurbishment of Bolehills BMX track starts
- Ride Sheffield attend the inaugural meeting of Open MTB, a group aimed at providing a national voice to mountain bikers and superseding the Northern MB Alliance.
- Greno Woods receives a comprehensive reworking and surfacing on all of the MTB trails, as well as the construction of a new Black Grade section on Steel City. All work is completed by Bike track and funded by Peaty’s Steel City Downhill
- The first phase of the rejuvenation of Bolehills is complete, with a couple of new features added to the track as well as a complete resurfacing too. Massive amounts of work done by Sheffield Dirt Society and particularly Dave Camus and Richard Baybutt.
- The fifth Peaty’s Steel City Downhill goes down in Greno woods with record crowds coming out to support the event regardless of the weather
- Bike Track start work on the Lady Cannings Trail
- Over 6 years in the making, the first leg of the Lady Cannings trails project is opened by Steve Peat and Annie Last. Huge thanks to all those who contributed to the crowd funding and to Go Outdoors for making it all possible
- In a very short time, Lady Canning’s becomes phenomenally popular.
- Ride Sheffield continues to play an active part in building a national voice for mountain biking by supporting OpenMTB. However, it’s going to be along haul in spite of CTC becoming a partnership organisation.
- After a public vote on the website, Lady Canning’s trail becomes the Blue Steel Trail.
- Shorelines announce that they will be supporting all Ride Sheffield trail days.
- Another year and another successful Winter Social and AGM celebrating five years of Ride Sheffield. All the usual fun and games culminating in the announcement of the next trail project, RADmires in the Redmires plantation above Stanage Edge. Again, the plan is to crowd-fund as much as possible and hope that we can once again persuade a local firm to contribute.
- Shorelines introduce the Trail Day incentive scheme, rewarding those who consistently turn up to trail maintenance sessions.
- A long wet December takes its toll on the Blue Steel Trail and we’re forced to close it until things dry out.
- A new initiative to raise money for RADmires is Ride With Peaty. £200 buys you the chance to ride the new trail with the big man himself and enjoy a pint and some food afterwards!
- After a welcome dry spell, excellent work by BikeTrack and some hard graft from volunteers, The Blue Steel Trail reopens complete with new, radder, start.
- Following discussions with SWT and the Eastern Moors Partnership, Ride Sheffield encourages everyone to keep Singletrack Single during the spring in order to protect ground nesting birds.
- J E James offer to donate a bike to the RADmires fund. It’s decided that anyone who donates £20 or more in the next 6 months will be entered into a raffle.
- Thanks in large part to Dave Camus and Richard Baybutt, Bolehills BMX track has undergone a renaissance. May’s trail day lends a hand.
- The RADmires appeal receives a massive boost when local engineering firm, Vulcan, donates £22500!
- The Blue Steel trail is one year old and with 14000 runs recorded on Strava alone, is probably one of the most popular trails in the country.
- The Rushup Edge debacle rumbles on with DCC issuing a new scheme of work. In spite of some improvements, it is met with considerable scepticism by the mountain biking community.
- Ride Sheffield and PDMTB members Si Bowns and Chris Mahoney co-operate to produce a proposal to join forces with land managers and other users to make improvements to Cut Gate.
- Forestry work necessary to allow the next phase of the Lady Canning’s project to begin forces the closure of the Blue Steel trail.
- The Ride Sheffield Winter Social coincides with the worst the weather can throw at us. In spite of the floods, over a hundred hardy folk make it to new venue, The Holt. Cracking night updating everyone on all the plans and turning their brains to mush with the Fiendish Quiz.
- The forestry work in Lady Canning’s not only takes longer than expected but creates a hell of a lot more mess than anticipated. Major work is required to return Blue Steel to the required standard.
- After the success of the 2016 J E James Radmires Bike Raffle, the long established bike shop offers another bike for 2017.
- Collaboration between Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB bears fruit in the form of a booklet examining the erosion issues that constantly beset Cutgate. In the form of a call to action, the well researched booklet by Simon Bowns and Chris Maloney outlines the problem, suggests possible solutions and reaches out to other user groups. It is exceedingly well received by the Peak District National Park, in particular by Rights of Way Manager Mike Rhodes, who promotes it with gusto. Thanks to MB representation on both Sheffield and Peak Local Access Forums, horse riders and ramblers are quickly drawn into the conversation.
- The ‘Be Nice, Say Hi’ initiative takes off when graphic designer Mark Etherington comes up with a superb sign to promote good behaviour on the trail –
Supported by long-time Ride Sheffield ally, Danny Udall, the signs begin to appear in the Peak District.
- The February trail day deals with some boggy sections of bridleway on Fox Hagg. A good turn out ensures that a great deal of work gets done.
- OpenMTB has a very positive meeting in Sheffield. CyclingUK are now heavily involved and it is hoped that, with their help, OpenMTB can go from strength to strength. An OpenMTB congress in Sheffield is proposed.
- After extensive work and a partial redesign, the Blue Steel trail reopens. Riders return to Lady Canning’s plantation in droves.
- A trail day is held on Blackamoor and the permissive bridleway that runs down from the Stoney Ridge car park to Piper House Gate receives some much needed attention.
- Numerous meetings take place during March. The Sheffield Moors Partnership meets and the Be Nice Say Hi initiative is welcomed, Mark Slater of CyclingUK meets with Ride Sheffield reps and the PDNPA and Ride Sheffield continues its long association with the Blackamoor Stakeholders Group.
- To the consternation of the Sheffield mountain biking community, Ride Sheffield announce the opening of the Cooking On Gas trail in Lady Cannings! Built while the Blue Steel trail was closed in the depths of winter, the new trail is kept secret for a month and a half allowing it to bed in perfectly prior to opening. It is fair to say it causes something of a sensation. Announced at 9am on April 8th, thanks to social media and the mountain biking grapevine, by 2pm it is full of happy bikers.
- April trail day makes good some of the wear and tear that has already occurred on the Blue Steel trail. Open only a month it has seen a phenomenal amount of use. The usual good turn out ensures that the worst damage is quickly repaired.
- May 6th sees GoOutdoors celebrating the opening of Cooking On Gas in the best possible way with free food and drink, vouchers and a full fleet of their mountain bikes on display.
- A joint effort between Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB sees The Advocacy Files published. Detailing many of the successes enjoyed by both groups, it is pulled together by Chris Maloney from work by numerous members of both groups.
- The May trail day is spent in Greno Woods preparing for….
- The Biggest Little Race, Steve Peat’s Steel City DH. Yet another superb race day with enormous crowds enjoying the sight of both newbies and World Champions riding flat out.
- Rad Tax. Owing to the sheer diversity of the work carried out by RS and the trails we now have to maintain, it is decided to encourage riders to contribute on a regular basis to the Ride Sheffield coffers. Different levels of tax will be rewarded with specially produced RS tees, stickers and prints.
- Trail day is held on Canning’s and both Blue Steel and Cooking on Gas receive some loving care and attention. Both trails have been phenomenally popular causing some were and tear.
- Si Bowns from RS and Chris Maloney from PDMTB take a trip to the British Mountaineering Council HQ in Manchester to discuss the launch of the Mend our Mountain campaign which includes as one of its projects a scheme first proposed by RS to repair the extensive damage on Cut Gate.
- Ride Sheffield hold a meeting with numerous local businesses in the hope that we can find ways to help each other out. Many great ideas result from the evening spent in the Norfolk Arms.
- In spite of being eaten alive by midges, Ride Sheffield volunteers act as casualties for a Edale Mountain Rescue.
- Back to Ride Sheffield’s spiritual home for the Winter Social and AGM. The Lescar is once again packed to the rafters to see the launch of RadTax, hear about all the work RS have done over the year and suffer the inevitable geeky quiz.
- February’s trail day saw RS volunteers returning to the scene of a long running battle, the lower part of Devil’s Elbow. For the full story, click HERE
- Following the wettest winter since Noah was counting them in two by two, both Canning’s trails have to close for a brief time. Thanks to the usual team getting stuck in, both open in short order ready for the spring rush.
- The Steel Valley Project holds a charity MB challenge which give 20% of its donations to the Cut Gate project. #bogofdoom
- The wet winter finally draws to an end and it’s as though the big tap in the sky has been turned off. Within a couple of weeks, it’s as though every trail in the Peak is in prime condition.
- The never-ending Rushup Edge saga continues! Yet another consultation by DCC fails to excite those who have been urging them to leave well alone. The latest plan involves spending yet more money unnecessarily on a wilderness area.
- PDMTB hold the mighty Cut Gat raffle to raise money for Mend Our Mountains.
- The dry conditions result in numerous fires on the moors and all MBers are asked to keep their eyes peeled for any sign of fire.
- Redmires is still at the planning stage and strenuous efforts continue to win over all the interested parties. With all the money raised, we’re ready to go as soon as planning permission is granted.
- The Be Nice Say Hi initiative goes national with groups and land managers throughout the country utilising the sign.
- Parkwood Springs, amongst other places, suffers the scourge of grass fires.
- Moves are afoot to produce a regular newsletter with Si Bowns of 18Bikes and John Coefield of Vertebrate Publishing doing the donkey work.
- Steve Peat is finally inducted into the mountain bike Hall of Fame – not before time!
- A major dig day is organised by Dave Camus for Bolehills which continues to move into a new era.
- In association with RS, Butterworths Cycles organise a litter pick up at Parkwood Springs.
- Rad Tax is bringing in £500/month!
- The European Outdoor Conservation Association holds a ballot to decide who to donate money to and the Cut Gate project wins to the tune of 30,000 Euros!
- The Ride Sheffield Ambassadors are born! A number of well-known local riders are inducted into the Ride Sheffield Ambassadors with the aim of boosting our ability to man stands at events and generally get the good word out.
- Some of the raddest trails at Wharncliffe are threatened with closure by the Forestry Commission. With help from RS, local rider James Pettitt starts a petition that quickly musters 20,000 signatures. Local media also take a keen interest.
- The various advocacy groups in Yorkshire including RS, District MTB, Ride Kirklees, Ride Calderdale and Singletraction get together at Leeds Bike Park to prove that together we’re stronger.
- El Presidente, Henry Norman is interviewed by Pinkbike. Swoon!
- Much work is done on both Canning’s and Blackamoor to ready the trails for winter.
- The November trail day is attended by 15 volunteers and an enormous amount of drain clearing, leaf blowing and general titivating is carried out on Blackamoor.
- Be Nice Say Hi postcards hit the streets thanks to Vertebrate Publishing.
- In spite of everyone’s best efforts, Wharncouver and other trails are dismantled by the Forestry Commission.