Hills, woods and great views combine to make Sheffield one of the most dramatic cities in the UK to mountain bike in.
These hills and valleys are used by everyone from youngsters finding out about the sport for the first time, to weekend riders, to world champions in waiting.
What’s most exciting, though, is the increasing levels of enthusiasm for mountain biking in this city. This is a sport which is experiencing a surge popularity and support – and the result is a vibrant community, new trails, excellent maintenance and greater access.
Take the new trail at Lady Cannings Plantation, for example. Established following a successful crowd-funding campaign, which was supported by local businesses and organisations, this 1.4km trail links up with the Peak Park Anniversary cycle route and can be reached from the city centre in less than half an hour on bike. The route is blue graded, so ideal for novices, but is equally popular amongst the seasoned mountain bikers who worked so hard to make it a reality.
Parkwood Springs, the UK’s only inner-city mountain bike trail, is even closer to the centre of Sheffield, and the reward for a steep climb up to the site from Kelham Island is stunning views out across the city.
To the north of the city, in Greno Woods near Grenoside, are three trails – including the Steel City track, set up four years ago thanks to a partnership between Ride Sheffield and the Wildlife Trust. The trails are home to a hugely popular annual Steel City Downhill race. Just across the road is Wharncliffe Woods, training ground of former world downhill MTB champion Steve Peat, who is a major supporter of the sport in Sheffield.
Mountain bikers also have a number bridleways to take advantage of, including the popular route along the Mayfield and Porter Valley. This route is just a few minutes on bike from the city centre and has direct, uninterrupted access out into the hills of the Peak District.