Sheffield may be built on and between seven hills, but that doesn’t seem to put cyclists off from tackling it on two wheels. In fact, quite the opposite. Out at the hilliest edges of the city, on any day of the week, you’ll catch cyclists gritting their teeth as they face a tough climb, before gleefully freewheeling down the other side. While this terrain naturally provides for the thrill seeker, the denser urban areas of the city haven’t always been so cycle-friendly. That’s started to change in recent years, though.
More and more people have begun taking to the bike simply to get about the city. With a spike in cycling activity, and thanks to the efforts of campaign groups like Cycle Sheffield, better facilities have gradually followed. Today, public bike pumps dot the city centre, cycle lanes are on the up, and parking stands and lockers are fully mapped. Alongside all this, a bunch of new and independent businesses have cropped up and are thriving – repairing an inner tube here, replacing a helmet there, and hiring out bikes to visitors straight off the train.
So now that Sheffield and cycling are closer companions, here are our top tips for navigating the city’s urban streets on bike:
1. Hire a bike. Based at Sheffield Station, Russell’s Bicycle Shed is in the perfect location for daytrippers. As well as hiring out bikes (from just £1 an hour), Russell’s also offers access to the Cycle Hub: a secure storage space for hundreds of bikes, plus changing rooms.
If you have a bike, get it checked over. Make use of Bike Rehab’s weekly maintenance checklist or visit its workshop, just behind Devonshire Green, for a service (and for its lockers). Also keep an eye out for the nomadic Dr Bike Clinic.
3. Plan your way from A to B with a hand from CycleStreets.
4. Pump your tires. Look out for one of the city’s free bicycle pumps.
5. Watch out for the tram tracks.
Now, get out there and explore the city.