Ride Guide – Lady Cannings
The first day of the Easter weekend was so lovely and sunny that staying at home would have been a huge mistake (also I was hoping to escape house spring cleaning duties!). Both my partner (aka Mr Betty) and I decided to visit Lady Cannings Bike Trail in Sheffield for the second time.
The Lady Cannings Bike Trail has been opened since last summer, it was the first crowdfunded trail that has been opened in UK. During the recent floods over winter this lovely track has been in a sorry state and was closed for preservation purposes. after winter and a trail dig day – the “Blue Steel” trail reopened at the beginning of March. [NB – if you’re looking to keep up with the trail then you can’t go wrong following the Lady Cannings twitter feed]
Lady Cannings Wood is located just outside Sheffield (south east from the center of the city). The trail is quite well hidden and the first time we went there, we got lost (I wasn’t driving I hasten to add!) and ended up somewhere near an alpaca farm. The trail is located just off the Ringinglow Road, taking left by a pub “Norfolk Arms”, which is a great place to pop for a drink after a ride. The car park is free, however it is small – so be prepared for parking in a ditch in busy periods.
To get to the trail there is a short uphill fireroad cycle. The fireroad is commonly shared with dog-walkers or nature-lovers and you can sometimes spot a cub scout swinging effortlessly through the trees – this is not a bike-only environment and care is needed to avoid squashing someone’s beloved chihuahua
The “Blue Steel” itself is around a mile of loveliness. It is a flowy, short trail packed with features. It is a very good practice ground for beginners and intermediates alike. I found that I had a blast practicing my berms and bike control whereas Mr Betty loved practicing jumps at (what seemed to me like) incredibly fast speeds. The track is undeniably short so you can easily have fun few times over during the day and it is really best enjoyed when you session it over and over again. Personally I tried to envisage as some sort of training course for potential summer enduro races, if you loop it then essentially you are spending ten minutes on a fire road climb followed by ten minutes descending through ‘trail centre’ blue or red features.
Despite the long wet winter, and the flooding I referred to earlier, the trail is in really good condition. The trail was well groomed and thanks to the hard-pack gravel – very grippy. A low travel full suspension bike or a decent hardtail will be well suited to the trail! We saw some beautiful bikes like Santa Cruz Bronson’s and Yeti SB66C’s but they were probably overkill for this blue trail in all honesty. Sadly on the two occasions I have visited I have yet to see another woman amongst the riders.
I personally enjoyed the pump track-y bits and I certainly challenged myself on the berms (almost fell out of a few of them!) but most of all I was petrified of the two trees that are way too close to each other for my liking (my wide 780mm Spank Bar only just fits through the gap!).
Overall, going down Blue steel was lots of fun, however I do wish it was a little longer! For the length it is, it does not need any amenities but larger parking and at least a loo or somewhere to buy the obligatory cake slice at the end would be beneficial. If you’re looking for a place to improve your skills under the cover of trees, with a variety of features to attempt, then Lady Cannings Wood is a great place to ride.
All the pictures curtesy of RideSheffield.
March 29, 2016