A step closer to a new trail.

The Oakwell hall trail has taken another step forward, and construction of the trail is due to begin in the next few weeks (all being well) Two companies returned proposals in reply to the tender that was put out, and a meeting was held with council staff and Ride Kirklees members on the 19th of March to go through the proposals and work out which company will provide the best trail for the money available.

It was quite a hard process, as both companies put together some very strong proposals, which meant it came down to “nit-picking” over the small details. The scores that were awarded to the companies for the quality of the build will now be weighted against the cost of the construction and the contract will be awarded to whoever comes out on top.

However….Both companies submitted their bids with only a top end price, which is fine, as long as we are successful in getting extra money from Sport England. If we don’t get that funding, we won’t be able to afford either of the companies at their top end price. We have gone back to them to see if they would be able to build the trail in a 2 phase way, allowing more time to raise any extra funds. Hopefully it won’t come to that as we are pretty confident that Sport England will come through.

The construction is set to begin over the next couple of months (all being well) I’ll post any developments as soon as I find them out. In the meantime fingers crossed!!!!!

A chat over a couple of pints…

 

Thursday the 15th was the very 1st official Ride Kirklees meeting to discuss the aims of the group and have a chat about where we are at the moment with the development of trails and access. Although the meeting only saw 3 members able to attend, a lot was discussed – mainly an update on the blue trail at Oakwell Hall, and the meetings I’ve had with One of the Kirklees PROW officers.

Oakwell Hall blue trail.

The contract for the construction of the trail has gone out to tender. 6 companies have been invited to bid, and an expression of interest has been made by a 7th. The companies invited are:

The expression of interest has come from:

The construction companies have 4 weeks to submit their thoughts and plans, and then a panel will select most suitable design. Oakwell hall have asked if there could be some representatives from Ride Kirklees to sit on the panel -so if anyone is interested, please let me know. The panel will be meeting on Monday the 19th of March (more details will follow when I know them.)

PROW

With over 700 miles of public rights of way (only 8% bridleways I’ve been told) across Kirklees, it is a big issue for Ride Kirklees. We as mountain bikers use the trail, and inevitably cause damage. One of the ideas for the group is to put something back, and help carry out some needed maintenance on the trails we use. I called a meeting with one of the Kirklees Public Rights of Way officers to discuss how Ride Kirklees could assist with improving access. The upshot of it is that if we, as a group can get some insurance, we would be able to become a volunteer workforce, and carry out some much needed tlc on some trails.

I will be looking into how we can be insured without having to pay! The thinking is that if we go through Natural Kirklees, we may be able to get insurance, or by volunteering through the councils schemes. The trail that came up during the discussion were the bridleways around Ladywood in Mirfield (which are rotor deep in mud and sludge) and the Easter gate packhorse trail in Marsden, which is a National Trust trail.image

The pack horse trail is going to have some work done on it in the near future, which some people may argue is not needed – they are planning on using stone flags along the majority of the trail to combat erosion of the moors. Although I personally love the trail as it is, I completely understand why they are wanting to do this – to improve access for all, and to conserve and protect the landscape. I have mentioned to the Trust and the ROW officer that there may be some volunteers from the group willing to lend a hand.

Other matters that have arisen relating to ROW is some of the confusing signage. Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook about the bridleway up to Deerhill, and the Yorkshire Water sign saying no access for horse riders (it doesn’t mention bikes!)

 

Looking on an OS map the bridleway heads up to a gate and stops. It then becomes a footpath and leads onto the Natinal Trusts moors. What is the point of the bridleway if it doesn’t actually go anywhere? In the same general area, there is a permissive bridleway past the pumping station at Meltham Mills, which is marked as a footpath on OS maps. There is a PROW forum happening soon, so I will endeavor to bring these issues up along with anymore that people know off (please let me know)

West Yorkshire Rough Riders.

Oliver Kelly has suggested posting dates and times for the WYRR social ride outs on the Facebook group. I understand they head out every Wednesday night and Saturday and ride at different venues across West Yorkshire. Find them on Facebook, or keep an eye out for posts from Oliver.

Other stuff

In order to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to attend any group meetings, we will look to hold the next one over towards North Kirklees. It was suggested The Flowerpot in Mirfield as they are a bike friendly pub. There’s no date for the next meeting yet, but it will be advertised on the Facebook group in due course.

Thanks to Oliver Kelly and Mal Gibb for joining me for a few beers at Magic rock. Apologies came from Nigel Addy and James Laing.

A ride out in the Colne valley

The 4th of February 2018 was a cold winters morning with snow covering the moors and hills surrounding the Colne valley – a great day for a ride out, showing the local trails to other riders from out of the area.

A 9 am start at a bakery that didn’t open till 9:30, maybe wasn’t the best plan, but it did mean we weren’t delayed in setting off. Starting with a nice warm up blast along the canal towards Marsden, was a great way to blow away the cobwebs and have a chat before the hill climbs and descents of the proper riding began. Taking the canal all the way to the Standedge visitor center, we were able to set a good pace -not slow, but not too fast and continued along the road towards the Easter gate bridge. Refusing the temptation to go off road, we continued Tarmac munching onto Manchester road, skirting around the bottom of Pule hill.

After a some slogging up the road, we finally reached Burn clough reservoir and we’re ready to head off road on a fun, snow covered descent, with drainage channels to hop over and magnificent views of Redbrook reservoir and Pule hill.

image

The next section to ride, was a great bit of  singletrack that Ionly discovered a few weeks earlier. Aptly named “roller coaster” on strava, this little ribbon flows of the back of Pule hill, skirting around old quarries and through muddy puddles, it’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face -even when your front end slips out and your lying in one of the afore mentioned muddy puddles!! It’s not the longest bit of singletrack, but worth it..

The route then took us over to the Wessenden valley, which is a pretty long climb up an access track, and then onto a bit of singletrack that takes you all the way to Wessenden head reservoir. If you’ve never ridden this trail, it’s a must -a lung busting, leg burning up hill, and a great fast downhill (keep an eye out for new routes coming soon that will include an amazing way to access the downhill!!)

A bit more Tarmac downhill got us to the start of the Nether lane descent. This descent starts with a heavily rutted flagged section that is great fun (as long as you pick your line well) then turns on a hairpin bend (with a big hole on the inside line).image

It’s then a fast and fun blast down the track, hopping drainage ditches and dodging loose rocks all the way to Acre lane. Back onto the Tarmac and over to the Harden hill descent towards Meltham. Another fast and fun sprint that has some technical sections towards the bottom

Some more of the black stuff took us through the village and over towards Meltham mills for more single track and a couple of small river crossings. By now the up hills were beginning to hurt, but after a pushing on it’s all downhill back to Slaithwaite and the warmth of the Shoulder of Mutton for a couple of pints then home in time for the rugby!!

A top ride with some cracking winter views, this route rides well anytime of year and in either direction. It has a mix of up’s and down’s, with a fair bit of the black stuff in between. For a more detailed description of the route we followed visit the Colne valley route 1 page.(I’ll get a map on as and when I can)

The Journey Begins

Ride Kirklees is a mountain biking advocacy group that aims to promote mountain biking in the area and improve access to the network of trails that can be found in this corner of West Yorkshire.

The group was initially set up in order to create a place for the mountain biking community to share ideas, routes and generally come together to talk about all things bike related. It started out as a Facebook group, and very quickly saw people joining and to share thoughts and find out what’s going on in the area.

In a fairly short period of time, the group has already begun to help develop trails in the area. Working alongside the ranger team at Oakwell Hall Country Park and members of the Cliffe House Outdoor Education team, some funding has been secured to begin the construction of a blue graded trail through some of the woodland on site. The trail is hopefully set to be started in the next few months, however some more funding is still to be secured to ensure that the trail is built to last and suitable for all members of the local community. Bids have been submitted to try and get the extra cash needed, so fingers crossed!!!

February is now shaping up to be a good month for Ride Kirklees, with it’s first group ride being organised for Sunday the 4thof February. The ride will start from Slaithwaite in the Colne valley and head out into the moors and hills around Meltham and Marsden, before heading to the pub for a pint. The group are also having it’s first meeting to discuss the direction the group is heading and so that members can get a chance to meet each other of a pint or 3. It’s looking like the date for the meeting will be on Thursday 15th of February at the Magic Rock Taphouse in Huddersfield.

Meetings are also being arranged with landowners and the councils Public Rights of Way officer to discuss how Ride Kirklees can help improve access for riders. The hope is that ‘dig days’ can be organised so riders can help to repair the trails to make them better for riding. There is a lot to do, but for now, at least we have made a start..