Setting the bar high.

Oakwell Hall mountain bike trail ‘official opening’

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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 😉

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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

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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

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…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

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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.

https://www.racespace.com/holme-valley-mrt/holme-valley-mrt-rescue-ride-2019?fbclid=IwAR1rZrgoVsRpbc6K5ZCvdVyOqWfqwjZ50A39dJNi0Q1Y-Tt_E9OpEdeXFLQ

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 www.rideholme.co.uk for more details and get yourself a guided half/full days riding in the Holme Valley.

 

 

 

Oakwell’s a go

As most of you will know by now, the Oakwell Hall MTB trail is open and ready to ride!!

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And boy is it good – fun, fast and flowing and full of berms, berms and more berms. It is a blue graded trail, but it is definitely at the top end of what a blue trail should be – meaning its great for beginners and shredders alike!!

So how did it all come about?

The trail has been in development for the past 13 months, but has been an idea for over 2 years. The initial plan was for a hand built trail, designed and created by local riders, with the consent of Oakwell. Obviously, with it being on council property, those responsible for Oakwell needed to be informed….and then the bombshell was dropped –  they said that if it’s going to be done, it should be done properly and  that there was potentially some funding available!! All that was needed was a funding bid to be written and presented to cabinet.

Easy, no problem!!  I had no experience of trail building or writing bids, but thought, what have I got to loose. So with the help of Amanda from Oakwell, the initial bid was written with construction costs pulled out of thin air – more guestimates than anything else!! With the bid written and submitted, it was a waiting game to see if we could get the funding, and low and behold, it was offered through the better homes funding scheme. Brilliant, onto the next stage – finding someone to build it.

I got in touch with a number of trail construction companies, looking to get them to take a look at the site and provide a quote for it…Bombshell number 2 then hit – the funding we had wasn’t going to get anything other than a path!!

What to do….

It appeared that the plan had fallen flat on it a*&e straight away. I started looking into funding streams and where I could get enough money to make something worthwhile. It was through a chance meeting that I was told about the Community Access Fund from Sport England and the Awards for All through the Big lottery fund.  Great, however you can’t apply as an individual, so that wasn’t going to work…Unless

The birth of Ride Kirklees.

The idea came like a lightning bolt of inspiration – Ride Sheffield and Lady Cannings, a community group, raising funds, building trails and promoting mountain biking for everyone. I’d met John Horscroft at Lady Cannings, and decided to get in touch and pick his brains about setting up a group in Kirklees to mirror the work of Ride Sheffield.

Setting up the group was easy enough – the benefits of social media!! The group started growing in numbers and support, and there was now a community group that could apply for funding and begin to make a positive contribution to mountain biking in Kirklees. So it was back to the computer, writing funding applications, submitting them and waiting for what seemed like ages!!

After a few telephone conversations and several emails, I got word from the Big lottery – success!! 1 step closer to getting the cash….A bit more waiting, more phone calls, quite a few more emails, and BINGO, Sport England were on board. We had the money!!!

Who to choose…

With the project being done through the council, there were a number of things that had to be done a certain way. They had the money (there was no way I was taking control of the cash!!) The construction had to be put to tender. I did some research on trail building companies and provided a list of the ones I thought would be suitable. A few companies submitted tender to build the trail, and it was then time to decide who would get the contract. A meeting was held with Oakwell staff, Kirklees council staff and group members from Ride Kirklees. The applications were scrutinized and discussed at length, with points awarded to each company for the way they were going to build the trail, maintain it, and how much it was going to cost.

It was a close call, but Bike Track got it. Not the cheapest, but definitely the most thorough, offering a really good service in designing, building and maintaining the trail.

And their off…

With bike track selected to build the trail, it was then down to them to carry out site surveys and design the trail. This is quite a lengthy process, and can’t be rushed (unless you just want a path through the woods!!) and it was a few months before some designs were seen, and approved. The scheme of works was drawn up, all we needed was for LUBP red trail to be finished, and bike track were going to get on with Oakwell.

And get on with it they did!! Trees were marked up for felling, fences were flagged for removal, and it was over to Oakwell staff and volunteers and Ride Kirklees to get the trail clear ready for the machines and Jordan with his gang to get on site.

In no time at all, the majority of the trail was cleared, and bike tracks compound set up. The stone was delivered and ferried around the fields ready to be laid out. Within a couple of weeks, there was a definite trail forming, and it was time to have a meeting a sign it off so the build could progress.

As soon as the initial digging out of the trail had been signed off, the stone started going in. It was an impressive sight to see. A group of 5 guys, with a digger, dumper, rakes and shovels shifted countless tonnes of stone into the woods and sculpted the trail pretty much by hand.dsc_0012 They worked tirelessly, and pretty soon, I was asked to go and sign off the next phase of the build. When I arrived, I felt like a kid at Christmas – it was more than I could have imagined. There was a trail, a perfect ribbon of sculpted mountain bike heaven just waiting to be ridden.

A couple more weeks, and the build was complete, but unfortunately mother nature was against us, and decided to rain in vast amounts and saturate the trail, meaning no amount of wacker plateing was going to make it ready to ride….and so, back to the waiting game!!!

Bike track had said they would be complete by mid December – and true to their word they were, but with the heavy rainfall, it was decided that it would be after Christmas and probably new year until it had firmed up and was ready to ride. No bother, there was still plenty of work that needed to be done.

One of the main jobs to get on with was ensuring that the dog walkers, who had previously walked where the trail now ran needed another route, and so Ride Kirklees group members grabbed some mattocks and shovels, donned their work boots and made good a footpath to the side of the trail – which was much appreciated by the walkers!!

 

There are other jobs that still need to be done to complete the trail – fencing around the cow field and drinking pond, kissing gates to be installed, fences to be repaired, brash to me removed – the list goes on, and it’s going to take a fair few volunteer hours to get it done (any help would be greatly appreciated on trail maintenance days!!) and I had plans to get in  over the Christmas and New Year period to get on with some of these jobs, but sometimes life gets in the way of the things you want to get on with….

Then the call came in…

After New year, I decided to take a trip over to Oakwell with my 3 girls to show them what I had been involved in creating, which just so happened to coincide with Jordan putting up some new Bike track signs. After a brief chat, Jordan said that we should be good to go, it just needed a few more days, and bit of tree work and a tidy up and then go ride.

The wait was over, time to ride…

In order to avoid the masses descending on the trail whilst there was still work to be done, the decision was made for a small work party (the RK committee) to go in and finish of the last few jobs to make the trail safe, do some litter picking so that the trail could start out as a #trashfreetrail and clear the brash before the first rides..

 

A few laps later, and it was time to let all of you good people know the craic..A quick word with riders coming past and a post on Facebook told people what they needed to know – the trail was open. I could feel the excitement in my pocket as my phone started going ping, ping, ping!!! Riders started appearing at the start of the trail – excited kids and adults who happened to be riding past, the faces said it all…

Since that sunny Sunday in January, my phone hasn’t stopped – comments on the trail, people asking for directions, writers and bloggers posting reviews, mums and dads joining the group to find out more information, horse riders with concerns, and of course complaints!!!

The inevitable…

As with all new things there is always some teething problems – it was expected, but I just hoped it wasn’t going to be the mountain bikers who were causing problems, more disgruntled visitors to Oakwell who had “been walking here for 20 odd years”, but unfortunately it was a small minority of riders who believe that getting a Strava KOM/trophy/PR is more important than being polite and courteous that have caused some issues.

So far (from what I’ve been told) and elderly couple and their dog have had a near miss, regular Park runners have had bad encounters and Amanda (one of the rangers) has had some grief from riders. This kind of thing puts mountain bikers in a bad position, and is detrimental to all the work Ride Kirklees is trying to do.

The issue seems to be people tearing down the main track to and from the trail head, and not giving any consideration to other user groups on site, so please keep the Strava KOMS and trophies to the trail and

bnsh

On a positive note..

The comments and feedback are brilliant. Everyone is out enjoying the trail, Dads and their lads, mums and their little uns, shredders and newbies are riding the trail with smiles plastered across their faces. The café has commented on how polite the mountain bikers are (and how it’s great for business). So this little trail can only strengthen the community and encourage people to get out and ride.

It’s been a long and at times stressful journey to get this trail built. A lot of hard work has been put into it and it has paid off. I hope you all enjoy riding it and we can prove to Kirklees Council that mountain bikers are a responsible user group worthy of investment.

Have fun!!!

 

A new year on the horizon….

2018 is nearly over, and it’s been a pretty good year for Ride Kirklees. The group has made loads of progress and is getting bigger (judging by the number of members joining on social media ).

The group is still in its infancy – just over 1 year old, but already we have made a lot of progress and have a number of achievements due to the drive of our members. If the past year is anything to go by, then 2019 will see us growing in numbers and making a huge impact on mountain biking in the area.

Our achievements this year have been:

  1. Becoming a constituted group.
  2. Taking the first steps to getting insurance so we can carry out trail maintenance on our bridleway network.
  3. Having our 1st AGM, and electing our committee members.
  4. Getting the Oakwell hall trail built-it will soon be ready to ride!!received_378946719543987.jpeg
  5. Getting the nod from the council to plan a Waymarked off road route around Kirklees, which will hopefully be a big project for 2019.
  6. 250 be nice say hi signs are being printed and will soon appear on bridleways across the area.downloadfile
  7. Developing links with other user groups and the council to take further steps towards providing better rights of way.
  8. Getting 1000 flyers printed up to promote the group and our vision.ridekirklees flyer-01
  9. Being instrumental in the development of a Yorkshire wide advocacy group that will provide evidence of the positive aspects of mountain biking to help develop more off road routes.

So what’s the plan for 2019?

In a nutshell: to keep it rolling and take things further. The success of the group is all down to the proactive approach to improve mountain biking for seasoned riders and the next generation. We need to prove that it’s not just a popular fad, and that mountain biking is only going to get bigger and better, that way more infrastructure can be developed and people will be encouraged to get out and ride.

To do this, we are going to have to look towards development and encouraging riders to ‘be nice say hi’ and put something back into the community/countryside. This can be a really easy process – being polite and respectful to other user groups is a straightforward thing to do and shows that we (as a user group) are respectful and mindful of others. Putting something back however is a bit trickier and will take a bit more effort. We are planning on carrying out some trail maintenance days – not just on Oakwell Hall trail, but on the bridleway network across Kirklees. This is going to need some serious effort and time from group members, but don’t worry if you don’t have that much time!!

Whilst out riding, there a few ways each and everyone of us can make a difference.

Give a drain a kick!!

So easy and takes less than a minute. This simple act will mean that drains keep water of the trail, and will stop trail users (one group especially) from avoiding getting their feet wet and widening the trail, therefore keeping singletrack single!

Keep a record

of the trails that could do with some TLC. If you are getting rotor deep in mud on a trail that could run well, or having to dodge a load of overhanging branches, make a note, post it to the group and lets get it sorted out. This will mean we can ride great trails, but other users can enjoy them too.

Other than those two things, you can also join us on a trail maintenance day at Oakwell or any other venue that needs it. You can also submit your local routes that could be worthy of being part of the Kirklees wide circular loop. We are looking for day loops, containing the best ascents/descents that are on offer. We would also like to get the routes pages up and running so any GPX files would be great…

All the best for 2019…Enjoy the ride…