TRAIL CENTRE, TO CITY CENTRE
Sheffield gets some inner city singletrack.
As you’re reading this the gates will have opened to the latest addition to Sheffield’s portfolio of trails, Parkwood Springs. Flipping the concept of trail centres on its head it brings brilliant bike–specific trails out of the remote forest and in to the city centre.
DIRT ISSUE 129 – NOVEMBER 2012
Words by Nick Hamilton. Photos by Duncan Philpott
There’s not a straight line in the whole 2km and on the assents the constant turns keep your mind off the altitude accumulation. On the downs, the flowing berms, tables and cheeky doubles keep the grins firmly from ear to ear with enough placed rocks and tightening turns to keep you thinking. Made to be accessible to all, beginners and kids will love it because it’s fun, progressive and perfect for coaching. Push that bit harder and you’ll love the opt–ins, the rewarding pumps and the loose inside lines, whatever bike you’re on.
Such a facility has not come easy or quickly and has been the culmination of a huge amount of work which was started a decade ago by the likes of Dan Cook (now of the CTC). For the past six years ‘Sir’ Jon Dallow of the Sheffield City council has been the driving force which has brought together the community, the political will and the funding to make it possible. A climber and surfer, he initially struggled to get inside the head of riders but was aided along the way by the likes of Peaty who helped him convince South Yorkshire Forest, though Sport England, to unlock the European piggy bank for the £250k needed for the wider project. They’ve been running community sessions with bikes for years, aiming to show the positive impact the project would have and to generate the backing needed for success and acceptance. The patronage of ‘The Friends of Parkwood Springs’ has been instrumental. With the cash BikeTrack.org were selected to build the trails allowing Jordan to ‘think like water’ and Cheggers to wield his mighty digger bucket and spade. Both local riders, they’ve done us proud.
This is not trail centre, it’s city centre, so leave your preconceptions at the gate. There’s bound to be walkers, kids, school groups and dogs somewhere in the way. If you’re nice to them, they’ll learn. Its only 2km so as fun as it is, it’s not worth leaving the Tweed Valley for. However, as a part of a day out it makes sense. Grab a sanga from the Buttie shop on Rutland road (the owners and their kids were some of the first to ride there) before heading out elsewhere. Look out for Ranger Tom on a Wednesday afternoon doing site maintenance, coaching groups honing their skills to maximise fun and races starting up next year. The project has also brought together disparate bodies from the Sheffield scene triggering many people to put something back in and Ride Sheffield will be charged with the long term custodianship.
Ten years ago the site was overrun by crossers and plagued by anti social behaviour, now it is home to 2km of purpose built prime singletrack. Look after it and who knows what else we might get. Just don’t pull skids on the football pitch or “Jim will be after you!”