Merry Christmas

Just a quick one to say merry Christmas to everyone, and thanks for being part of this group..

This year has really seen the group take off with projects taking shape, new members joining and plans for more great work.

Between now and the beginning of the new year, there will be some trail days at Oakwell to get it all ready to ride, so keep eeye out on social media and here for details.

Enjoy Christmas, be merry and ride bikes… .

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Christmas come early?

It’s that time of year, the weather has certainly changed since our glorious summer, decorations are going up and people are out buying presents. Well this year the presents for Ride Kirklees members are as follows:

  • A new blue graded trail at Oakwell Hall.
  • Some funding for ‘be nice say Hi’ signs.
  • Flyers to advertise the group and the work we are doing.
  • Trail maintenance days a plenty…

The big, main present – Oakwell Hall!! Bike Track said the trail would be finished mid December and….IT IS!! It has been signed off today and the Bike Track gang are packed up and shipping out. However, due to the recent weather and potential weather in the future, the trail won’t open yet… BOO, I hear you say. The reason for this is that we want the trail to be in its best condition for as long as possible (before we need to carry out any maintenance) and the recent deluge has meant that no amount of whacking will make it rideable yet.

Parts of the trail are still really soft, and the only thing to do is let nature take its course to let the trail bed down. The time this takes, no one knows. If we have a really dry spell maybe a couple of weeks, if we get rain (or snow) then its going to take longer. After discussions with Bike Track, the thinking is – let it be for this year at least. The good news is that this will mean we can get a date organized for next year, and go ride a trail that is ready for riding!! The logs and brash that is currently covering the trail will stay on until then – so please don’t be tempted to go have a cheeky ride – it will cause more harm than good.

Be nice say Hi.

The national campaign that was started by our fellow advocacy group Ride Sheffield is soon to be a common sight around Kirklees. Funding has just been confirmed for us to get 250 signs printed up. The iconic black and white squares will soon start appearing on bridleways across the area. Kirklees sports and physical activity development  project ‘Try it, Like it, Do it’ have awarded us the cash to get the signs, so when they arrive we will need some volunteers to screw them onto posts.

Flyers, flyers, flyers.

After the AGM in October, it was suggested that getting some advertising for local bike shops needed to be done. So a few months later and with some help from Adam Simmonite from Trail Advantage some flyers have been done designed. The next thing was to look at how to get them printed, and thanks to Amanda Walker, we now have a box of flyers to distribute around. Some have already been delivered to Earnshaws two wheel centre on Manchester road in Huddersfield, Albion Cycling in Thongsbridge and The handmade Bakery in Slaithwaite. I am aiming to get leaflets out to all the local bike shops and bike friendly eating and drinking establishments – so if anyone can help, please let me know and I’ll get you some flyers.

Trail maintenance days.

An application has recently gone into Natural Kirklees so that we can be insured to carry out trail maintenance in the area. If this comes through then we will need members to update the group on trails that need some TLC – from drainage to overhanging branches. Winter is a great time to get out and do the work, as it’s the right time to fell trees, clear drains and look after the trails so they are ready to ride come spring. All potential work needs to be cleared by Kirklees council, so please let the group know if there are areas that need attention.

One area that is going to see some work is around Oakwell. There are loads of bits to get stuck into to finish of the areas surrounding the trail. Jobs like fencing, tree felling and pruning and the installation of gates to help protect the trail from motorbikes. The first task is on Saturday the 8th of December, with some footpath work, and further dates will be organized to carry out other tasks. Any help would be greatly appreciated, so keep an eye on the Facebook page and if you can spare some time, please do.

Hope you all enjoy your Ride Kirklees presents when they are ready – it will definitely be worth the wait.

Have a great Christmas, and hopefully see you on the trails…..

 

Meeting up…

The back end of last week was pretty busy with meetings and trail maintenance (and probably loads of riding for most people).

The “know your tracks” meeting was held on Thursday the 4th. Organised by the Kirklees Bridleways group and the Colne Valley Saddle Club, this meeting (with pie and peas) looked at providing evidence to support the 2026 project by identifying routes/trails that should be accessible for horse riders and cyclists.

If you don’t know about 2026, check out the Bridleways group or the British Horse Society websites., but the basic thing is that user groups need to identify and record historic bridleways and trails before the 2026 cut off date. The Kirklees Bridleways group are doing loads of work to link up the current trails and reinstate old trails that may have been recorded as footpaths previously . If we can identify trails that we ride that should be bridleways we need to highlight them with the bridleway group and provide evidence forms (which can be downloaded from their website) and then help create a decent network of trails that are accessible. Kirklees currently has around 5% of bridleways compared to the national average of 16% – pretty shocking to say the least.!! So by completing evidence forms, we have a chance to extend the network. The forms take about 10 minutes to complete and will be collated by the bridleway group and submitted to the powers that be..

Friday the 5th of October was the date of Ride Kirklees first AGM. The main thing that was discussed was the constitution and creating the management committee. The constitution was signed, which means we are one step closer to being insured to carry out official trail maintenance .

With that sorted we were able to turn our attention to projects that we as a group can be involved in.

Full details of the meeting will be posted soon and will include plans to create a waymarked route around the area, as well as an update on Oakwell Hall and the Yorkshire mtb alliance.

The final meet up from last week was a more practical meeting, where a small group of people got together on Saturday morning to get started on the Oakwell trail. 6 of us from the group got together and joined Jason the ranger and a few of the friends of Oakwell Hall to get on with clearing the way for bike track to start building the trail. The regular Thursday volunteers had already made a start and within a few hours the 11 of us felled a number of small trees and stands of Hazel coppice. There has been about 200 meters cleared in about 2 days and there is now a definite trail corridor starting to evolve. There is still loads to go, so more days will be organised soon. I’ll get another date sorted for a weekend, but anyone wanting to go along to the Thursday volunteer day can work alongside the rangers to do some more.

Bike track have now arrived on site and it looks like they have started shifting some materials around the site to prepare for the build. The most important thing now is too let them get the job done, so please don’t be tempted to ride any of the trail until its finished and we get the go ahead. If its ridden before, it could set the whole project back and cost more (which we don’t have) It should be ready to ride in mid December, and we will look to have a small opening event then, with a bigger event in spring…

 

Oakwell Hall Dig Day

With Bike track due to arrive on site at Oakwell Hall on the 8th October, a dig day has been organized for Saturday 6th October.

The plan is to meet around 10.30am in the court yard. We will grab some tools and head into the woods to begin some clearance work. This will include the felling of small trees that have been marked up for us. All the necessary training and equipment will be provided on the day, all you need to do is show up ready to work in some sturdy footwear.

You don’t need to commit to the full day – an hour or two will be brilliant. Its going to be some hard work, but good fun…Just remember to bring some lunch, a brew and some good banter….

Annual General Meeting 2018

The AGM is set for the 5th of October 2018. The agenda for the meeting can be seen below.

 

Ride Kirklees Annual General Meeting 2018 Agenda.

 

This is the first AGM for Ride Kirklees and has been set in order to enable the group to become a constituted group and discuss a number of projects that the group are involved in.

 

 

  • The constitution. The constitution needs to be agreed by the group members, with any adjustments made. It must be signed and dated by elected management committee members, who are also to be elected during the meeting.
  • Update  on Oakwell Hall.  Bike track are planning on establishing their compound on the 8th October. Clearance work on the trail is due to start by Ride Kirklees on the 6th October, with further dig days to be organized.
  • Be nice, Say Hi.  The be nice say hi campaign has gone national and Ride Kirklees is aiming to champion the campaign. Suggestions on how we can fund/promote and advertise the campaign. E.G: T-shirts for sale, trail markers, stickers etc
  • Meeting with Kirklees ROW. Potential projects backed by Kirklees include developing Bluebell woods in Mirfield and creating a way marked off road route around Kirklees taking in the ‘best’ climbs/descents in the area. Discussion about turning the Deerhill/Wessenden trail to become a permissive BW (discussion to be held with the NT)
  • Funding from Sport England.  Bikebiz.com post for bike parks etc. Potential to fund waymarked trail/pump track.
  • Restoring the Record – 2026. How can RK help identify and record lost trails etc. Help from Kirklees Bridleways Group.
  • Wilkally Clough update.  National Trust have been contacted so that RK can be involved with any work carried out on the trail. No information about how the trail will be maintained yet. It has been suggested that the area to be looked at is the approach to the packhorse bridge, not the trail itself (this has not been confirmed)
  • Yorkshire MTB Alliance.  A new group is being set up with members of Ride Kirklees, Ride Sheffield, Ride Calderdale, Wakefield District and PDMTB to ensure we are all working to the same goal – Good MTB Advocacy.
  • Any other business.

 

 

It’s been a while…

What a summer it has been, so apologies for not updating the site, but I’ve been out on my bike!! Now that Autumn is here and winter is on it’s way, I thought it best to write an update on what’s been happening..

The first thing (and possibly the most important at the moment) is The Oakwell Hall trail. The trail is really the whole reason that Ride Kirklees was set up – to show that there is a huge mtb community that doesn’t have any purpose built facility. Well that is soon to change!! The construction of the trail is due to begin in the near future. Bike track have completed their macro design for the trail, (Oakwell Hall Macro Design – 27 7 18[2260] )and are getting ready to get onto the site and begin shifting dirt. The complete build should take around 12 weeks, but there will need to be some ground work done before they can get the machines in.

The initial ground work is going to be done by the ranger team at Oakwell, and also a gang of volunteers (as many Ride Kirklees members as possible). This will be felling trees, and clearing the way for the machines to get in. Bike track have also said that to make the trail what we want, they want to meet with the riders to make sure it’s fit for purpose – what better way than to work alongside them!!!

There are no dates set yet, but in order for us to carry out any trail work we need to be insured….

Which leads me onto the next bit of business:

The Constitution!!

In order to get insurance through Natural Kirklees, we need to be a constituted group with a chair, secretary and treasurer. An AGM has been set for the 5th of October 2018 where amongst other things we will finalize the document and appoint members to the required roles (any willing volunteers?). The venue for the meeting has yet to be confirmed, but Magic Rock seems to be the 1st choice at the moment.

Meetings, meetings, meetings…

On the point of meetings, I have recently had a brief, but interesting meeting with a representative from Kirklees Council Rights of Way. Initiated by a member of PDMTB with concerns over the Ramsden Roadramsden rd and the condition of the trail. Some repairs have been carried out to the top section to get rid of a number of “lakes” caused by 4×4’s. The plan now is to put a gate in to stop them, but allow access for riders, walkers and horses.

From this meeting, I was able to also find out about the ‘unofficial’ trails in Bluebell wood, Mirfield. I had heard rumors that the council had gone in and destroyed some trails that had been built there, but that appears to be nothing more than just rumors. In fact after someone destroyed the trails, the council tried to get local riders involved to rebuild the trails (in a suitable way). Unfortunately this never happened, but the offer is still there!! Another trail built in Kirklees by Ride Kirklees??? Lets hope so…..

Bluebells galore….

mirfield.jpg

One of these wooded areas is known as Bluebell wood, and can be accessed by briddleways that crisscross around the area. There have been downhill lines built there, and when we get constituted, there is a great chance that a small trail can be resurrected by us with a bit of hard graft. I still need to get more details, and visit the area, so if there is anyone local to Mirfield who knows the woods, let me know….

 

And finally, remember to “be nice, say Hi”

The “be nice, say Hi’ campaign has been taken up by Cycling UK and the British Horse Society. An idea that started in the States, was then taken up by Ride Sheffield and PDMTB and then by us and other MTB groups has gone National (even featured in this months MBR) Signs have started appearing on trails across the UK – the Pennine Bridleway already has a number of signs out on the trail!! It would be great to see some of the signs appear on the trails around Kirklees, and maybe sometime soon, we can get some cash together to get signs, stickers and tee shirts printed, but for now just remember to

Be nice and say hi…..

 

 

 

Tubes Don’t Grow on Trees

Spring has sprung and summer is well on its way, and that means big days out on the bike, races, sportives and challenges and unfortunately a shed load of trail side litter!!!

I completed the Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge on a roasting hot Sunday in May. The weather was perfect and what a challenge it was, with over 200 riders completing either a 20 or 30 mile tour of the Colne Valley.

Although this is not a race, people are always charged up and ready to overtake the person in front, beat their riding buddies, or complete in under a certain time. I for one wanted sub 4 hrs (which I got!!) So it was on, with everyone jostling for space and trying to get a head of the pack.

As the pack started spreading out and the energy levels started to slide, the litter began to build as gel wrappers were tossed and jelly babies packets finished. This is when I started to get pissed off….

Not because I was hot, sweaty and blowing out my a@*e, but because I was riding in an organized event across stunning countryside with another 200+ riders and there was litter being dropped all over the place. It was as if some people thought that the organizers would be doing a litter pick after the ride, or that a wee man in a road sweeper would be bringing up the rear!!

There is a lot of animosity towards cyclists, especially from ramblers and walkers, and the mindless throwing of energy wrappers is only going to add fuel to the fire. Anyone out walking on that day would have seen all the riders and their litter and quite rightly would have formed a general opinion about mountain bikers.

Enough was enough for me…Strava times could go to hell, I began litter picking (after all it wasn’t a race) The seconds it took me to pick up some wrappers, stuff them in my pocket and set of again was negligible, and I only had to carry it to the feed station. I don’t know how many I picked up, but my pockets were full at each feed station.32235739_10160393320635252_572309189670469632_o

As an advocacy group, we need to promote good riding etiquette, from “being nice and saying Hi” to “leaving no trace”. The message is clear to me….if we want people to see us as a good user group, we need to help protect and preserve our trails, and this means keeping our wild spaces clean. There is a great campaign/group on facebook and Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/tubesdontgrowontrees/ who are pushing hard to #binitdontflingit #pickitupyaprick

So next time your out on a ride and see some #trailsidelitter, pick it up, put it in your pocket and take it home.