The rain really came down this weekend and no doubt the trails out in the Peak are starting to get a little bit boggy, but being in Sheffield means you get the option to ride the only city centre trail centre in the country. Parkwood Springs was opened a few years ago now and has been a great addition to the city. Until I had my mountain bike pinched last year I used to visit the trail every week.
If you are coming from the city centre its a climb to the start so be prepared to use your granny ring. Whether you ride up Pitsmoor Road and cross Wood Fold or take the extreme option and head up Rutland Road you'll still have Cooks Wood Road to traverse before you get to the quiet car park at the top. But surely that's when the fun starts because that is the top of Parkwood Springs proper. Follow the little blue squares that direct you off to the right next to the Helipad entrance gate and you'll head off into the woods the path snakes this way and that and is a great easy starter ride for budding young mountain bikers. As the path gently climbs (its not like Rutland Road again I promise) you reach the very top of the trail a corner point where you find a lot of people congregate to start their epic runs down the berms.
The first set of berms are smooth and easy to negotiate and these end at a junction with a footpath so take care and make sure you brakes are working, although the trail has been designed to slow you down when entering any area where there may be pedestrians or kids playing you need to keep your wits about you. From this point the views are spectacular, the city spreads out ahead of you all the big landmarks can be picked out, Sheffield Cathedral, The Arts Tower, Park Hill, The Hallamshire Hospital. Its great living on these hills. Anyway back to the ride. The route goes down hill with breakout red routes that take you over jumps and rock gardens not forgetting the different surfaces you'll encounter there are some sharp gravelly section as you get further down the hill. After a shallow ford to cross, that isn't always wet, and a short but steep rocky climb the trail takes on a more single track feel through some denser wooded areas but don't be fooled there is more to come. A steep drop takes you back down from the climb you've just made and it all starts again but this time you're going up. The climb back to the start has some sneaky little steps along it just to test your skills in lower gears but its all worth it at the end as you take the last drop off you'll find yourself back at the car park where you started ready to go again only faster this time.
We're so lucky to have this on our doorstep and when the weather make the Peak District trails unbearable or when you just haven't the time to go on a long ride at leats Parkwood Springs is there to scratch that itch.
If you want to know more visit the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/parkwoodsprings
Or check out what Ride Sheffield are upto http://www.ridesheffield.org.uk/
And then there are the Friends of Parkwood Springs who are working hard to create a country park in the city http://www.parkwood-springs.btck.co.uk/