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Welcome to Mountain Bike Heaven

From twisting technical singletrack to 'hold on for dear life' downhills and thigh burning climbs, Yorkshire is just one big playground for the serious mountain biker. There's also plenty for the beginner too.

 

Purpose Built Trails

Family Cycling Dalby ForestYou'll find purpose-built mountain bike trails in the superb Dalby Forest, England's largest trail centre and and home to a round of the UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup in 2010 and 2011.

Forestry Commission managed woods often provide great sites for beginner cyclists through to advanced mountain bikers. Yorkshire's premier cycling venue, Dalby Forest, located in the North York Moors National Park, has an award winning visitor centre and an array of world class facilities and trails for cyclists.

Explore over 50 miles of trails, with woodland cycling for a range of abilities. From peaceful routes along Ellerburn Valley to challenging climbs and sweeping singletrack, as well as north shore features, with stunning views across the North York Moors, there is something for all levels of ability. From green routes suitable for people with a modest level of fitness, through to red routes that require a high level of fitness and stamina, to the black route that is only suitable for experienced mountain bikers. Start the green, red and blue routes from Low Dalby. Green, red and black routes can also be started from Dixon's Hollow car park in the middle of the forest.

Want to improve or test out your freeride and jump skills? Then head to Dixon's Hollow Pace Bike Park.  For the more technically skilled cyclist, Dixon's Hollow is a great adventure! A good standard of fitness and very high level of technical skills are needed. Ride the freestyle loop, jump the table tops and test your nerve on the skinnies... Dixon's Hollow is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Pace Cycles and SingletrAction - Yorkshire's trail building club.

Have a go

Access is via the A169 Pickering to Whitby road. Look for brown tourist signs. There is an admission charge of £7 per car, different rates apply for other vehicles. An excellent value season ticket is available.

You'll need a mountain bike in good working order, suitable outdoor clothing and we recommend a cycle helmet. Bike a bit muddy? You'll find a bike wash at Dalby Bike Barn (official Forestry Commission operator) in the Courtyard; Dalby Bike Barn along with Gone Mountain Biking and Big Bear Bikes offer guided rides in the area, taking you straight to the best trails. Refreshments are available at the Tree Tops Restaurant in the Visitor Centre.

Also, Dalby Bike Barn provides bike hire and guided rides for all abilities and operates a traditional bike shop for all your cycling needs. Located in the heart of the Great Yorkshire Forest in Dalby with fabulous trails to explore on two wheels. This is cycling in Yorkshire at its best and nothing beats a ride through Dalby - England's Great Yorkshire Forest.

If you like Dalby Forest... you'll love these trails too.

Guisborough Woods, North York Moors: good for beginners, there's a short blue trail of 4.5 miles to try.

Otley Chevin Forest Park, Otley, West Yorkshire: The Chevin Forest Park has an easily accessible network of bridleways for off-road biking on the Danefield side of The Chevin, east of East Chevin Road, accessed from the Shawfield car parks. A total of 6.5km of bridleways can be combined into a number of circular routes.

Wharncliffe Woods, Grenoside, Nr Sheffield: former Downhill UCI Mountain Bike World champion, Yorkshire's own Steve 'Peaty' Peat, trains here and it's best known for its highly technical downhill runs; more suitable for intermediate and advanced mountain bikers. 

Stainburn, north of Otley, just into North Yorkshire: A network of super technical trails for real enthusiasts, and a couple of short red trails for more intermediate mountain bikers. Check out the black trail clip below, courtesy of SingltrAction, a totally volunteer run organisation dedicated to making trails happen and who built this, the most technical black graded route in England.

Stainburn Forest Black Trail

 

Everyone who rides, loves riding new, quality trails but do you realise the amount of volunteer time and effort it takes to develop and maintaining them? SingltrAction exists due to the hard work of a relatively small group of people from many walks of life who are united by a love of trails and the riding that can be had. They are backed up by a slightly larger group of volunteers trail builders who sacrifice riding time to do the organising, raise the money and wield the tools that make dreams become a reality.

Right now they're holding monthly Volunteer Trail Building Days at:

  • Stainburn Forest, nr Otley and Harrogate, North Yorkshire
  • Guisborough Forest, North York Moors National Park
  • Dalby Forest, nr Pickering, North York Moors National Park

Plus they have a few sessions at Buck Woods and a new project at Rawcliffe Park in York.  

SingletrAction Volunteers, putting Yorkshire on the Mountain Biking Map

 

Natural Trails

Credit Dales Bike CentreBoth the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales are prime mountain biking country. There are over 1,600 km of bridleways, byways and green lanes to explore, all in remote, unspoilt countryside. The Dales are famous for their fast stone based bridleways and limestone plateaus while the Moors have some of best singletrack in England. Gems include Mastilles Lane (between Kilnsey and Malham), Fremington Edge in Swaledale, and around Rosedale on the North York Moors.

Many trails have a great sense of history as well as being great fun to ride. A mixture of Roman roads, monastic highways, mining tracks and drovers roads, it is partly the variety which makes biking around Yorkshire so much fun and so interesting. Most are on gradients that keep you in the saddle rather than off and pushing!

Check out some of these routes to get you started. If you'd like some expert tuition or fancy a weekend of organised mountain biking, there's lots of ideas here.

Nidderdale AONB has recently developed two new mountain bike routes, in conjunction with Stif Cycles of Summerbridge. The Brimham Loop is a moderate 11 mile ride that includes off road sections, quiet country roads, and a couple of steep climbs. The route takes in stunning views of Nidderdale and passes by Brimham Rocks. The Brimham Blast is an intense 9 mile ride with spectacular views and challenging uphill and downhill sections on rough bridleways. Download full details of both these routes and more on mountain biking in the Dales.

The Pennine Bridleway is one of the newest and most picturesque National Trails. The first purpose built trail of its kind designed specifically for horse-riders, off-road cyclists and walkers to enjoy, the entire Pennine Bridleway will eventually run for 350 miles (560km) from the High Peak Trail in Derbyshire to Byrness, Northumberland. It follows a mix of old pack horse routes and drove roads, often sensitively refurbished and upgraded, linked with newly created stretches of bridleway.

It's well signposted and maintained, which means you don't have to be a serious mountain biker to enjoy some of our finest mountain bike country. Open sections include the 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop, which runs close to Todmorden, and the Settle Loop in the Yorkshire Dales. This 10 mile loop takes in the area's stunning limestone scenery. There are also many other bridleways in the area which can be used to extend your journey by linking to Malham village and Tarn, and over into Littondale and Wharfedale.

The route through the Yorkshire Dales National Park is now fully constructed, but the National Park Authority are still finalising legal agreements with Network Rail for the three locations where the route crosses the Settle to Carlisle railway line. Technically, anyone going on to Network Rail property whilst using the route is committing a trespass until the agreements are in place. You can download maps of the route in the Yorkshire Dales - the maps clearly indicate where the legal agreements are not yet in place.  Users may wish to plan their own alternative routes to avoid current sections requiring legal agreements/landowner approval.

Agreements should be in place for an official summer 2012 launch, bringing the total distance of bridleway open to 200 miles. Keep an eye on our website for news.

If you're in the Bingley area, you can bike to the Pennine Bridleway along the 17-mile Calder Aire Link route. It's the first of three key links planned to improve access to the Bridleway and runs from St Ives Estate near Bingley to join the Mary Towneley Loop near Widdop Reservoir in Calderdale on a variety of tracks giving fantastic views. For those travelling by train, Bingley station is only a short cycle away. The route also features a 'Pegasus' (bike friendly) crossing of the busy A629 Keighley road.

Download day rides to get a taster of the trail here, including the Settle Loop and Calder Aire Link, or for more information about the whole of the Pennine Bridleway, visit the official website.

The rest of the Pennines are obviously a natural magnet for bikers in search of big adventure. Try Calderdale's Moors above Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. It's only for the committed but the stunning scenery is worth the effort.

Otherwise Dolomite Training Ltd offer Mountain Bike Skills, Rock Climbing and Navigation courses for all ages. These courses are aimed at improving your knowledge, confidence and technical ability whilst having a lot of fun. We employ experienced and knowledgeable staff that can offer you advice and guidance should you wish to progress further.

Mountain Bike Orienteering

Mountain bikingThis fairly young sport, orienteering on your bike, is an exciting way of seeing the area.

The Experience
A trailquest is a timed event where you try to cycle around as many control markers in a set time. You can generally choose between 2 hours and 4 hours and can take part solo or in pairs. You get points for each control you visit and then the person or pair with most points wins. There are many different categories so you compete only against people of a similar age. If you are late back then you start to lose those points you spent such a hard time gaining. They are really good fun events and you can take things as seriously as you like.

Have a go
You will need a mountain bike, together with basic repair kit and safety equipment, and plenty to drink and eat.

The well-established North Yorkshire League runs one event per month, mainly on Saturdays and mainly forest-based.

Cyclo-Cross

Cyclo-Cross (often abbreviated to 'Cross') is generally an autumn and winter sport. Cyclo-Cross races are usually multi lap events, held on short (typically less than a mile and often less than half a mile), grassy courses, generally in public parks or on school playing fields. Less technically demanding than mountain biking, Cyclo-Cross often requires riders to dismount to clear artificial obstacles.

Cyclo-Cross machines look very similar to road bikes, with dropped handlebars and thin tyres - however the latter have a knobbled-tread for grip, powerful brakes, low gears and better frame clearances to prevent clogging with mud, all of which adds up to make them easy to handle on the rough.

Massed starts make for exciting races, usually no more than an hour in length - and shorter for juniors, women and veterans.  There are usually free-to-enter races for younger riders. Some organisers are now starting to run summer series, which are proving very popular. The Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association organises a winter cyclo-cross series, find out more.

3 Peaks C-XThe 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross, Yorkshire Dales
Held at the end of September and starting from Helwith Bridge near Settle, this race covers 38 miles of Yorkshire's most challenging and rewarding terrain and it is regarded as the toughest and biggest Cyclo-Cross event in the UK.

The Three Peaks, the tough testing course for the Dales walker, were first conquered on a bicycle by a 14-year-old Yorkshire schoolboy - Kevin Watson, a pupil of Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton. He rode, pushed and carried his bicycle 30 miles to the summit cairns of Whernside, Ingleborough, and Penyghent in 1959. The first organised event was held two years later. Before the race started it was labelled "the most severe event in the cyclo-cross riders' calendar." Nobody argued with that claim when it was over and its reputation is unchanged today.

This is your only chance to ride to the top of the Three Peaks as most of the off-road sections are over footpaths and/or private land. This means that no training on a cycle is allowed on those sections - it is illegal to ride on there except on the day of the race.  Find out how to enter.

BikeTrials

cyclingLearn new skills and make new friends whilst on two-wheels. You will need to be confident on your bike with good handling skills.

The Experience
If you enjoy yourself down your local wheel park and think you have mastered a few skills then it might be time to try them out at a BikeTrial event. Yorkshire provides probably the best boulders in the country, with some locations such as Addingham Moorside, near Ilkley, having an international reputation.

BikeTrial is the art and skill of riding your bike over and between obstacles, showing balance and fitness. Ideally not touching the 'section' with anything except the bike! Some people ride special 20" wheeled bikes, or even smaller for the younger children. Other people ride 26" mountain bikes, others ride the newish 24" bikes. It really doesn't matter which.

The aim is to ride your bike, learn new skills, make new friends and to enjoy yourself! Come along to a competition, classes at clubs start with Beginners (age 6 to 10), Novice, Intermediate, Expert and Elite - self-graded on ability. 

Have a go
Get your bike out and give it a go - Good luck! The events are also great to spectate at - what people can do on a bike will amaze most. Events happen throughout the year and the activity is physical enough so you won't get cold in winter!

Find out more
Yorkshire's local club is TykeTrial.