Annual General Meeting

The date has been set for this years AGM. It will be happening on the 28th November at a venue in Mirfield. The venue hasn’t been confirmed yet as we are waiting to get an idea of numbers.

The AGM is a chance for group members to meet up and discuss what we have achieved and what projects we are planning to carry out. It will also give members a chance to put forward their ideas for projects that they want to get involved in – the whole idea behind the group is that it is steered by the members, so we need input from you!!

The agenda for the meeting will cover a number of points that we as a constituted group need to carry out, mainly electing committee members. We will also look at :

  • The be nice say hi campaign.
  • Oakwell Hall – nearly 1 year old!
  • Bridleway maintenance projects.
  • Peak District MTB’s “project 22%”
  • Trash Free Trails.
  •  Project 2026

If you would like to join us for a beer, a chat and a chance to win in our raffle, please let us know via email/facebook/comments bellow so we can confirm the venue.

Wessenden Trail Maintenance

The great news is that we’ve got approval to work on the Wessenden bridleway.  We’re planning two sessions, 9am-11am on the 16th and 30th November, followed by a ride if we’re not knackered.

The works are all reasonably simple.

  1. Reinstate existing drainage.
  2. Improve drainage from the trail onto the moor.
  3. Cut back vegetation

No heavy equipment will be needed, just shovels and mattocks that Ride Kirklees will provide.

Proposed area of maintenance


The area we’re going to work on starts just above the Wessenden deer farm. We’ll meet at Binn Lane/Binn Road junction, have a quick safety briefing, then we’ll make our way up to the deer farm to start.

  • Reinstate existing drainage.

There are several existing cross drains on the trail however they have all silted up through lack of maintenance. These will be reinstated to improve the drainage using the existing features. 

Photo 2.1 Existing cross drains

There’s also a side drain that runs down the west side of the majority of the trail. Although it takes water from the moor, there’s no drainage channels from the main trail into it hence small side cuts could drain the surface water from the trail into the existing side drain. We’ll clear the side drain where needed. Any materials cleared from the drain need to be placed neatly in a row about 3-4 feet on the opposite side of the trail. This ensures the waste material looks like it’s been treated professionally and will soon be enveloped by the ferns.


Photo 2.1 Existing side drains (to the left of the trail in the picture)

  • Improve drainage from the trail onto the moor.

Although the original drainage will be reinstated, it’s not sufficient for the narrow trail. Climate change has introduced much heavier, short bursts of significant rainfall. These have a far greater impact on trail erosion than users as it sluices down the existing trails, creating the deep channels. One solution is to create 10cm channels from the trail onto the moor to the right. This drains the main flow of water off the trail onto the moor, reducing the water erosion. 

Photo 2.2. Additional drainage channels to the right.

These channels silt up (much like the existing drainage) however encouraging riders to “Kick A Drain” will help keep these drainage channels clear.

  • Cut back vegetation.

This could be academic by the time we do the work however currently there’s several points on the trail that are being impinged by ferns, and they need cutting back.


          Photo 2.3 Overgrowing vegetation

There is a fair bit of work to be done in order to get this bridleway into a state where it’s easy to maintain and provides a year round fun ride. The aim is to carry out the work on this bridleway so that it’s character is kept and further erosion can be limited. As mountain bikers, we have a responsibility to help protect and conserve the trails we ride and the surrounding landscape.

This is the first of many bridleways we want to work on, with the hope that by doing so we can improve our access rights across Kirklees. The more bodies we can get on site, the more work we can get done. This helps show other trail users that we are not just about bombing downhills as fast as possible to catch Strava times, but we are considerate trail users putting something back, and improving access for all.

If your free from 9am-11am on the 16th and 30th November, bring some snacks and a flask of tea and join us for a bit of digging and lots of craic to improve this great bridleway.

Setting the bar high.

Oakwell Hall mountain bike trail ‘official opening’



As you all know the mountain bike trail at Oakwell Hall has been open for a while now. There was an impromptu ‘unofficial’ trail opening when Bike Track signed off the trail as finished and rideable however we always planned a proper event to officially open the trail. Ride Kirklees have put in a huge amount of work, from the germ of an idea through to the completion of the mountain bike trail, so it was only correct to have a celebratory opening day.

Wow, what a day it turned out to be…. The official opening of the Oakwell trail was amazing. It was hectic and stressful but worth every second of it. In Field of Dreams they said ” If you build it, they will come”…and they did. They came, they rode, they chatted, they smiled, they made new friends, they made it a special day, beyond my wildest dreams.

The past 4 weeks have been a crazy time – no riding, just typing – emails, texts, facebook, phone calls and planning!! Pulling together riders, stall holders, caterers, volunteers, paperwork, advertising and everything else that needs to be done to hold a public event. Soooo much planning, and for what? An absolutely amazing, sunny day hanging out with a great bunch of people who share a passion for mountain biking.  After everything I’d put in, I really wanted this event to be a success, and to show off all the work that a group of mountain bikers can achieve. Judging by the feedback that is exactly what it was.


The event was held on the 30th June 2019. After what felt like weeks of crap weather, the forecast had improved. The day before turned out to be the hottest day in June for 40 years – it was looking good for the opening day. I was due to meet some RK volunteers and Oakwell Hall staff at 8:30am to get set up. Having not run an event like this before, I was nervous as hell…’Did we have everything organized’,’ would people show up’ were the kind of things on my mind.

I arrived to see Amanda from Oakwell and her husband Ben pulling out all the kit that had been stored earlier in the week – event tents, a mtb skill course, tables and a PA system. RK volunteers began to show up and so did Jules from Mobile Kuppa Coffee (to supply refreshments for us all). We loaded up the pick up and headed over to the field to set up the ‘village’ and I then realized the first issue – I had no idea where to set the tents up, and who was going to be in each tent. A quick group discussion with the team and we had a rough idea – DJ at the top next to the bar (cheers Magic Rock), tents down either side and stall holders wherever we can fit them.


The field soon became a hive of activity, with everyone getting the job done and we were on track for the opening at 11 am. One of my earlier worries was would people show up? Yes they did!! Long before the event officially started, people started to appear. They arrived with bikes, grabbing a coffee, ice cream, riding the trail and getting the day off to the right start.DSC_3177

The sound of music began to play. The smell of burgers, sausages and coffee wafted through the air. There was a buzz of chatter. All the planning and stress had been worth it. More and more people were coming in to the village – solo riders, groups of riders, mums, dads, kids of all ages buzzing around chatting about bikes and how good it is to have such a sweet trail right on our doorstep. Kids were building their skills and confidence on the skills course that was set out and riders were getting in some practise laps before the race.


The main event of the day was the time trial, and entries were filling up. Bob Hedley and Mark Jowett stepped up to take control of the start gate and organise all the riders. With the time trial not being a high tech race using timing chips, they made sure everyone had a stop watch, and set off with enough space between the riders. The whistles of course marshalls could be heard (in true enduro style) and the race was on. It was juniors first (under 11’s)


Followed by 12-16 year olds and then the adults. There was a buzz of excitement around the event with the race on, people submitting and comparing times, and a friendly air of competition. It was just a fun race…that everyone gave the full beans!

The time trials were finished by around 2pm, with 40 riders having entered, Bob and Mark started working out the results. It was now time for the ceremony…

My nerves kicked in again-time for public speaking over the PA!!! A few words of thanks and a speech by councillor Rob Walker and then time for me to relax with a beer.

…before the race results announcement and prize giving…(results are at the bottom)

The day was a huge success, so much so that we plan to run another one next year – hopefully bigger and better. A huge thank you to everyone who helped out on the day: Ride Kirklees group members for the marshalling, running around, just generally sorting stuff (Nigel, Liam, Mal, Bob, Mark, Chris, Greg and Mikey). The staff and volunteers from Oakwell Hall (Amanda, Ben and Les). Our sponsor, Yorkshire raw feeds,  and all the stall holders:

And of course everyone who came along to ride bikes, hang out on our trail, and make the day into a very special one. Thank You all!

Race Results.

(Apologies if there are any mistakes, I’ve done the best I can with the information received.)

Under 11 results (male).

  1. Leo McMillan.         5.18
  2. Taylor Green           5.55
  3. Charlie P.                 5.56
  4. Rhory Casson.         6.10
  5. Noah De Wit.           6.12
  6. Seth B.                       6.13
  7. Oswald Trent.          6.49
  8. Archie Sykes.          No time recorded.
  9. Harry Haworth.      No time recorded.

Under 11 results (female).

  1. Florence Trent.        8.57
  2. Kayleigh Harrison.  No time recorded.

12-16 year olds (male).

  1. Archie Casson.          4.28
  2. Matthew Dalton.      4.50
  3. Taylor Muffit.           5.16
  4. Harrison Walker.     5.20
  5. Sam Davis.                 5.27

12-16 year olds (female).

  1. Grace Austwick.     6.13
  2. Brodie Kilbury.      No time recorded.

Adults (female)

  1. Claire Trent.            4.41
  2. Paula Beaumont.    6.15
  3. Liz Austwick.          No time recorded.

Adults (male).

  1. Chris Kilburn.            4.04
  2. Dan Trent.                  4.10
  3. James Smith/Antony De Heveningham.  4.19
  4. Neil Walker.               4.30
  5. Damon Sandison.      4.43
  6. Paul Bentley.              4.51
  7. S. Bonham.                 4.54
  8. Don Willey.                 4.56
  9. M. Parry.                      4.57
  10. Jon Reeves.                  5.08
  11. Gavin Richardson.     5.18
  12. P. Johnson.                  5.58
  13. S. Hayes.                      6.10
  14. M. Tomlinson.            6.11
  15. Darren Nickerson.    6.36
  16. Rob Austwick.           No time recorded.
  17. Daniel Vokes.            No time recorded.
  18. Michael Gray.            No time recorded.
  19. Andrew Sykes.          No time recorded.
  20. Kevin Wyman.          No time recorded.
  21. Ben Coops.                 No time recorded.

Thanks again to everyone who came to join in with a superb day. See you next year 😉

A training exercise with Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team (HVMRT)

If any mountain bike rider takes a bad fall in Kirklees, it’ll be HVMRT who help them out. In an effort to return a bit of this favour, Ride Kirklees offered to provide some “casualties” for a training exercise. HVMRT wanted a scenario with multiple injured mountain bikers so Gordon, Steven and myself volunteered. In many years riding we’ve amassed numerous injuries… ahem… so we were well placed to pretend to be injured. The other Ride Kirklees member there was Don, more importantly he’s also in Mountain Rescue so he was the go between for the exercise.

The training site was the top of Magdelen Road near Meltham. Well we knew that, the Mountain Rescue team had no idea, they were all at the base in Marsden.  For anyone that doesn’t know it, Magdelen Road is far from being a road. It’s a fantastic bridleway downhill that has about 5 different surfaces – grass then muddy ruts then loose rocks, then hard pack then it turns into a farm track road by Ash Royd – well worth a visit if you‘ve not been.

At 8.15am we met at the Meltham End of Royd Road and made our way up to the “crash” site. Don gave us all our instructions for the exercise: Steven had taken a fall and injured his leg; Gordon had had a big smash, broken his collarbone and was dazed and confused (some would say no change from normal there); I was unconscious with a suspected broken pelvis. I felt that unconscious was achievable with my acting skills. The sneaky bit to the exercise is that the other two had no idea where I was. They’d crashed and hit the deck but weren’t sure whether I’d been ahead and was unaware anything had happened.  In “reality” I’d come smashing around the corner to find them both on the deck, blocking the path, and veered off the trail to miss them….unfortunately down a steep slope and mostly out of sight.

Photo 1: Some of the 30 or so team members that rescued us


So we all got in position then Steven made the call to Mountain Rescue to inform them of the incident.  I made my way down the slope and settled down for a long wait. Due to the weather forecast I’d put my full wets on, and also had a full face helmet so I was warm and toasty. As I was going to be found last it’s over to Gordon for what happened at the top of the trail….

It wasn’t long after the call went in (about 20 minutes-half an hour) before Steve and I heard the voices of the first team members at the rescue site. Steve gave some sharp blasts on his whistle to give them our position-a handy bit of kit in case you do get into trouble!! Straight away the team swung into action, carrying out triage to assess our injuries and gather as much details about the incident as possible. With me being ‘dazed and confused’ after an OTB with suspected head injuries, they put me as the priority casualty. Some of the team patched up Steve and gathered as much info as possible about our ride, plans, group members and what happened, whilst the others gave their full attention to me and my injuries.

Lee was my primary carer, and did an amazing job at working out my injuries, keeping me calm and reassuring me. He carefully carried out a primary survey to ensure there were no other unseen injuries. It was then a case of working out what pain relief I could be given and why. With a suspected C spine/head injury, morphine was out of the question and good old paracetamol and ibuprofen were the best bet. With the type of injuries I had sustained, another team member (sorry can’t remember his name) supported my head in case of any spinal injuries and helped to make me as comfortable as possible. With the typical wind up on exposed moors, a bothy bag was soon pulled out and put over all off us to help keep me warm.

With the bothy bag over us, it became a bit surreal. I could hear loads of things happening around me -snippets of conversation; “there could be a third rider…”, “carry out a sweep of the area”, “get the stretcher” and various radio messages, but couldn’t really fathom what was happening. Throughout all this Lee kept a check on me, making sure I was still conscious, heart rate was good and really important that I was warm and comfortable. It wasn’t till the bothy bag came off that I realised the scale of the operation – 30+ professional mountain rescue volunteers sorting out a ride gone wrong with a calm and efficient manner.

We paused the exercise a couple of times-after all it was training, so that the crew members could chat about what they were doing and the reasoning behind all the decisions being made – a really good bit of reflective practise that we should all carry out to stay on top of our game.

With all plans and options discussed, Lee and the crew got ready to package me up and get me off the hillside…and then they found Mal in a crumpled heap (fast asleep) at the bottom of the slope, and the priorities changed! However my carers stayed with me to make sure I didn’t get any worse.

The amazing thing about how the team work is the efficiency and smooth way that they dealt with the situation. With all that was going on, Lee didn’t falter from his job, and stuck by me whilst other HVMRT members moved on to the new priority of getting more kit – including ropes and ground anchors to help extract Mal. With the numbers of volunteers and some great direction from the ‘incident commander’ (not sure of the exact title!!) half the team were deployed to help Mal, others were working with Steve to get him off to the vehicles and the rest had a stretcher ready and started manoeuvring me onto the vacuum mattress to get me of to the ambulance….

Photo 2: Gordon being rescued


…So back to me at the bottom of the slope. Errmmmm so I was woken up by someone shouting “rider, if you can hear me raise your arm”. Yep, I’d fallen asleep lying in the heather. I was just about to raise my arm when remembered I was meant to be unconscious. I had my foot at a jaunty angle denoting a broken pelvis, otherwise I was unconscious unless prodded. I think I was a 2 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, although as a non medic I could have remembered that all wrong. My main carer was excellent (as was the whole team to be fair), explaining everything he was going to do to me. As I had the helmet on my field of vision was narrow but anytime anyone did anything they’d warn me. We had a couple of short breaks in the exercise where other team members were able to practice on us. The team medic who was overseeing my part of the exercise prompted the team into some excellent thinking on their feet. There was also a good debate on mtb specific issues such as casualties with a full face helmet. On a non casualty point several people checked out that I was warm enough whilst lying there. I was well prepared, dressed for lying in a field being rained on for some time, however it was a good thing to do.

Photo 3:  Me sleeping at the bottom of the slope


I’ve been to many events in support of Mountain Rescue but thankfully so far have never needed their services so this was the first time I’d been a customer. Most of us have never needed Mountain rescue, and hopefully never will, however if you did, you’d be blown away by the professionalism and skill from a voluntary organisation. To rescue us there was the best part of 30 HVMRT members hence we need to support them as much as we can……so we need as many people as possible to take part in the Rescue Ride on July 14th. It’s a fundraising bike ride (mtb, road and family routes) for HVMRT. That too is a right laugh to be part of. If you’ve not ridden on the west side of Kirklees it’s a great introduction to some fine trails…and you get to ride Magdelen Road.

We’ll be doing more training later in the year, you’re welcome to join in. All details will be posted on the Ride Kirklees Facebook page.

Oakwell Hall Trail Opening

Summer is here (or so I’m told)….

And therefore it’s time to get outside, ride bikes, eat good food, drink beers, listen to music and have fun with friends….

Which is why we are hosting the

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We have teamed up with a number of local businesses to put on a grand opening of the Oakwell Trail. It is looking to be a great day, with fun for all the family. Obviously it’s all going to revolve around mountain biking and riding the trail, but with a few added extras to entertain everyone.

We are planning on running a time trial challenge on the trail, for both adults and kids. A back to basics fun race, where you log your fastest loop (on strava, or using a good old fashioned stopwatch) and submit it for the chance to be King/Queen of the trail.

A mountain bike skills course will be set up set up for  kids to hone their skills, and set their fastest loop time to win a prize!!

Ride Kirklees will be there manning a stall alongside the Kirklees Bridleways Group to chat to everyone about the development of trails and the work we are doing to improve access around the area, being nice and saying Hi and keeping our trails trash free.

Beer is being supplied by the good folks at Magic Rock Brewing, Coffee will be flowing thanks to Mobile Kuppa Coffee and sweet treats are coming from Charlottes Jersey Ice Cream.

Slaithwaite based OTSO clothing are setting up shop for all your ethically produced streetwear. Local bike shop Hargreaves Cycles will be on hand for any bike repairs, advice and possibly a chance to demo some Cannondale bikes.

WhooshMTB are a guiding and coaching company from Hebden Bridge, and will be on hand to offer advice on bike set up and skills development. And if you fancy looking into booking a session or a guided ride in #calderfornia Chris will be able sort you out.

Local photographers Furness Digital are going to be out on the trail capturing the action of the riders, which will be available to purchase direct from them.

Andy’s Man club will be showing the positive effects getting out on your bike can have on your physical and mental well being, and reminding us all that #itsokaytotalk

The day is set to be a cracking event for everyone, and a good chance to come and meet the Ride Kirklees team and play out on bikes.

Hope to see you all there….


Why should we support Holme Valley Mountain Rescue?

As a Ride Kirklees member, why should you love Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team(HVMRT)? Most of you will think that’s nowhere near me, so what? They may be based in Marsden however their patch covers the whole of Kirklees, and a lot more besides; from Holmfirth to Marsden, via Oakwell, to Garforth and Knottingley.

None of us ride expecting to end up in bother however accidents happen. If you’re riding locally, stack it badly and have to call 999, it’s highly unlikely that an ambulance can get to you. That means it’s over to Mountain Rescue, and for us it’s HVMRT who’ll come and sort us out.

They’re a highly skilled and dedicated Emergency Service, who are all unpaid volunteers. Not a lot of people know that, they assume they’re funded like the Police/Fire Service/Ambulances. Nope, there’s no regular government funding, the whole organisation is predominantly funded by donations from the public.

Hopefully that’s given you an insight into why we love Holme Valley MRT. They’re our guardian angels so as Ride Kirklees, we’d like to try to give something back to them. Here are a couple of ideas:

July 14th Holme Valley MRT Rescue Rides

 This is a biking fundraiser they organise that has 5 different routes – 2 mountain biking, 2 road, and a family route:

Blue mtb: 15 miles, 1700ft of climbing
Red mtb: 32 miles, 2900ft
Blue road: 22 miles, 1600ft
Red road: 40 miles, 2900 ft
Family route 7 miles, 470ft

I can only speak for the mtb rides however they’re well signposted, have the odd refreshment point on the way around, and finish at the HVMRT base (where last year there was free pizza!). If you’ve not ridden in West Kirklees, it’s a cracking introduction to some great trails (and hills) around here. There are already several Ride Kirklees members riding it so if you’re not sure about route and such, we can be “guides”. The 32 mile route is a tough old gig however you can laugh at me crawling up the last hill. A couple of Ride Kirklees members will also be offering to “sweep” the course, so if you fancy lending a hand (or want an excuse for plodding around at the back!) let us know.

Tickets for the ride can be found here.

Providing Training “Casualties”.

Being a casualty doesn’t sound like a bundle of fun however HVMRT hold regular training events and occasionally they need volunteers to “act” as casualties. They look for people they don’t know as that’s more realistic of their rescues. One new aspect they’re looking at is a specific mtb training exercise. There’s more and more of us riding so ….ahem….we’re providing an increasing amount of work for them.

Mal Gibb


Ride Holme Rides out.

Things with Ride Kirklees have been pretty hectic lately, with Oakwell Hall, rights of way meetings, public enquiries and general admin. So when a group member, Jason Budd (Ride Holme) informed me that he was starting up a mountain bike guiding company and was putting on a ride around the Holme valley to launch it, I jumped at the chance to forget everything else and go ride.

The ride was planned for the morning of Saturday the 26th, and we met in the Co-op carpark in Holmfirth. Spirits were high, and it was a great chance to meet people who I had seen through social media, but never met. And so it was that a group of us set of around 10 am to be led through the trails of Holmfirth on tour of some great trails, led by a local lad with a passion for mountain biking, advocacy and quality pork pies!!dsc_0221

The route took us out of Holmfirth, with a steady road climb before heading down a bridleway and up to Holmfirth Cliff towards Hade edge using some quiet country roads and bridleways.  When we arrived at Hade Edge it was time for a quick stop, and some pies from Addy’s butchers. A great butchers selling quality food and local produce – especially the pies, which every rider devoured!!




It was then onward to Snittle road (which now has a cracking ‘be nice say hi’ sign on it) and up towards the Snittlegate Quarry for some great single track (and more signs!!).



From the quarry it was over to Ramsden road (for more signs) and of course one of the best technical descents in the area. It was great to see people who didn’t know the trail riding down with grins plastered across their faces. We followed the road down past Brownhill reservoir into Holmebridge and then up onto Cartworth moor for another cracking descent back down into Holmfirth.

Although it wasn’t an all day epic, it was a brilliant social ride out with a great group of mountain bikers enjoying local trails, chatting and pie, followed by a cheeky pint (or two) at the Nook Brew house.

If you’ve never ridden the Holme Valley, it’s a graet area, with beautiful countryside and amazing trails. It’s a great place to explore, but if you don’t have the time to plan rides in the area, or you want to seek out the hidden gems that are known by the locals, then get in touch with Jason through and book yourself a guided ride. He offers riding for all abilities, and can tailor rides to suit everyone.

Head over to for more details and get yourself a guided half/full days riding in the Holme Valley.