John Horscroft has been riding bikes and climbing in and around Sheffield for thirty years. John says, “Sheffield’s mountain bike community is a thing of beauty. I arrived in Sheffield as a climber, fully immersed in the climbing scene. As I became drawn to mountain biking, I quickly realised there was another tribe in town, a tribe that welcomes newcomers with open arms regardless of age or ability.”

But how does a visitor to Sheffield connect with that tribe?

Well, you can resort to the wonders of social media. Ride Sheffield is the largest mountain bike group in the city, busy creating new trails for everyone and pulling the community together in many ways. Visit their page and you may be able to hook up with a local rider and discover the wealth of riding in and around The Outdoor City.

Better still, check out some of the riding hotspots in town.

Whatever flavour of biking you like, there’s somewhere for you to meet fellow riders. Whether it’s BMX at Bolehills, pump track fun at Charnock or the country’s first ever urban bike park at Parkwood Springs, you’re bound to bump into some friendly locals.

If you’re looking to go further afield, aim for Lady Canning’s.

The first crowd-funded trail in the country, it’s always a hive of activity, and getting to it from the city centre is a joy. Starting from Hunters Bar roundabout, ride up through Endcliffe Park traffic-free for the next 5 ½ Km. On the way you’ll pass Endcliffe Park cafe (maybe too early for a coffee break!) and a shrine to an American bomber crew who crash landed in the park during World War 2 in order to avoid hitting populated areas. In spite of being in the midst of a major city, you’ll be serenaded by birdsong as you follow the path of one of Sheffield’s five rivers, the Porter Brook.

Moving on up through Bingham Park, you’ll notice a subtle change. The roar of the city becomes a distant memory as the surroundings become ever more rural. Towards the end of Bingham Park you’ll notice the Shepherd Water Wheel Museum, open at weekends and well worth a look. Shortly after you’ll find yourself close to the Forge Dam Café, perfectly placed for a refuelling stop - essential for the first real challenge of the day!

The climb up Clough Lane is a brute. Take it easy initially or you’ll be cursing by the time you reach the summit. Thankfully, things soon ease off and a left turn will take you back over the Porter Brook to Mayfield Alpacas. If you’ve neglected to boost your energy reserves before now, the excellent café at the alpaca farm is the place to stop.

All of which will have been a perfect warm-up for Lady Canning’s. A left and a right will lead you to an obvious parking area on the right (nearly always full), with the entrance to Lady Canning’s plantation, again on your right.

A gentle spin to the top of the woods will, at weekends, be in the company of numerous other riders. At the top of the woods there are two fun blue trails and an opportunity to chat to those waiting to ride. It’s always incredibly sociable and, with luck, you’ll be able to hook up with someone who is using Cannings as their warm-up prior to heading out into the surrounding Peak District.

Nearby are the delights of Blackamoor, Longshaw and the Eastern Moors, which all have excellent riding and spectacular wildlife.

If Lady Cannings is enough for you, then head to the Norfolk Arms for a refreshing drink or a bite to eat prior to freewheeling back into Sheffield the way you came out. What a great way to finish a great day!

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