The 2022/2023 Winter Social
It’s been a while, 2019 in fact, since we held our Winter Social – our chance to catch up with everyone, explain what we’ve been doing, what we have planned and to get some feedback on everything.
On Tuesday 7th February, we booked out the back room of the Greystones and invited everyone along for a chat, some drinks and of course, some prizes!
For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a quick update on the main points you missed.
Henry kicked things off with a big warm Ride Sheffield welcome and outlined things for the evening. He reinforced our need for some extra help, so please do get in touch if you think you can help us with anything – we’re open to all ideas, not just people who can help with a spade!
Ride Sheffield is currently taking advice on our governance – namely that we’re looking at becoming a Charity or CIC and there’s likely to be significant progress on that in 2023. For that reason, we didn’t hold our usual AGM and everyone continues in their previous roles. Henry Norman as President, Steve Hardcastle as Treasurer and Simon Bowns as Secretary.
Henry then explained our approach for the Social, with brief updates from us on a range of topics followed by the chance to break out and discuss different areas directly, plus the raffle and quiz of course!
Elaine Barber and Jon Edwards were up next, with details on the Trail Crew. We now have a first batch of Trail Crew basically trained up, with First Aid and equipment training and plenty of experience on Trail Days. We’ve aimed for a variety of works, including both purpose built MTB trails and other rights of way, to give the Trail Crew as much experience as possible.
That’s not to say that you can’t help out at a Trail Day if you’re not a member of the Trail Crew – more that they’re the ones to help guide people on the day, explain safe methods of working and keep everything running smoothly. We’re still very much keen for extra help, so please email if you’re interested in joining the ever-growing Trail Crew, or join in on our dig days if you’re not sure you can quite commit that much!
Elaine also runs Women only Trail days in association with Cotic Women of Steel. These are going from strength to strength, so it’s definitely something that there’ll be more of in the future too! The next one is on March 11th at Blacka Moor – more details here!
Back to Henry for this, explaining the work that we’ve started on Inclusion and Diversity. This is an important topic to us as a group and one that we’re glad to be making some significant steps with. We love mountain biking and the local area and would love to share that with more people, from a variety of backgrounds.
In 2022, we co-hosted a Ride with the MTB Colour Collective who are a group encouraging people of colour to try mountain biking. This ride was one of the SHAFF outreach events and was followed by a panel talk and discussion.
We also helped to host a meeting called Reframing Mountain Biking, where we invited various riders, user groups and trail associations along with cycling industry and press to the Woodland Discovery centre. Once again, things kicked off with a couple of options for a ride, followed by food and discussions around where Mountain Biking is and where it could be. This ranged from topics of Inclusion, rider behaviour, group co-operation, media responsibilities, access and much much more!
Support this time has come from Rapha, who’ve helped out with funding which has been used to book venues and food for meetings. They’ve also helped with kit for the Trail Crew as well as funding for us looking into the Charity/CIC and overall governance mentioned above.
Rad Tax and Trail Fund
Next up came Si, with an update on Rad Tax – or should that be Trail Fund?!
In late 2017, we launched Rad Tax as a way for riders to pay back into the trails and support the work Ride Sheffield does. This has gradually grown over the years, bringing in £650 a month.
It’s a great start and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who chips in, but frankly it needs to be a good chunk more to get where we can achieve more of our hopes and dreams. We’d love to be in a position where we don’t have to shake the hat every time a trail needs resurfacing, but can rely on the funds we raise each month. Perhaps we could even get to the point where we can employ someone part time to help with all things Ride Sheffield?!
Following discussions with locals, it seems that the Rad Tax name wasn’t helping – the Tax word doesn’t necessarily sit well with people. It’s also not all that clear what it means, so we’ve rebranded as Trail Fund.
Everything else remains the same, with the option to pay annually or monthly – £5, £10, £20 or £50 a month, with a variety of different goodies by way of a thank you. For more details and to sign up – please click here!
(side note – since the meeting, we’re up another £60 a month, big thanks, keep it coming everyone!)
Si then explained the excellent work being done by Peak District MTB, who have now launched Trail Pot. Along similar lines to Trail Fund, but at a national scale, the idea is that large companies and employers can kick into a pot, choosing where they want their funds to be spent. Trail associations like Ride Sheffield can then apply for funding within each region. Very exciting, but it’s early days and there’s plenty of leg work to be done. Keep an eye over on the Peak District MTB website for more details in the future.
Not one that Ride Sheffield is directly involved in, but we love the work the Bolehills crew do and asked Dave Camus to explain everything they’ve been up to.
Busy for sure, with more material deliveries and countless days on site revamping the track. Bolehills is a prime example of co-operation, both within the riding community, but also the wider local community and working alongside a landowner to build a truly great facility.
The Bolehills team has been revamping almost every feature, giving options to roll or jump, pick a line and progress each time you visit. Their plan is for a big opening jam around May Bank Holiday, so watch this space for that.
Check out the Bolehills site over here, give them a follow over on Instagram and send a few pennies and buy some merch to support the work they do. A recent Local Area Committee Grant means they have some money to spend on tools, but that’s no reason to not help them to top the coffers up for the future!
Back to Si for some updates on a few of the sites we manage;
Lady Cannings has had a very successful volunteer repair to Blue Steel, which has given almost the entire trail a repair and resurface as required. It’s been a proving ground for the Trail Crew, with many other volunteers joining us at a variety of trail days – big thanks to everyone involved!
Cooking on Gas is a slightly different story, looking a little worse for wear and in need of a more professional repair job. We’ll be launching a Crowdfunder for that at some point this Spring, watch this space.
Over at Greno, it’s no doubt that Steel City’s revamp has been a real success, getting finished and open just in time for the Steel City DH race. It’s also in need of some TLC, so watch this space for a trail day there soon. With enough volunteers and time, we’ll look to give Pub Run a fettle then too.
DH3 sadly hasn’t opened yet, with the weather working against us. We’re keen to avoid the trail just getting ripped to shreds once it opens – there’s just not the funds to be able to fix any serious damage. Plans are in place for another whacker session before we get the track de-logged and open to ride. Please be patient, we’ll shout loudly once this is open!
After the various talks, we then moved on to the more social side of things.
Folks were able to grab another drink, buy some raffle tickets, enter the quiz then mingle and chat about the various points raised. We had tees and other merch for sale, along with the chance to sign on to Trail Fund.
We were keen to get feedback from as many people as possible, so left feedback sheets and marker pens for people to note on a few topics – What are we doing well? What are we doing badly? What more could/should we be doing?
We received plenty of feedback via this, which we’re going through and will be including in our plans wherever possible. If you didn’t get a chance to speak to us or leave a note, or have thought of anything extra – email email@example.com and we’ll take any points on board!
It looks set to be another big exciting year for the Sheffield scene, something we’re hugely proud to be involved in – but we’d love more of you to help us out if you can. Any offers of help – firstname.lastname@example.org – otherwise, get signed up to Trail Fund if you can spare a few £ for the trails of Sheffield!