Archive for the ‘News’ Category

News about mountain biking locally and further afield.

Peak District National Park Management Plan Consultation

“Join our conversation and help create the new Peak District National Park Management Plan

A public consultation has been launched to get the views of anyone with an interest in how the Peak District National Park develops over the next five years and beyond.

The Join Our Conversation consultation asks for comments on a draft new National Park Management Plan. The plan will be the main policy document that guides what will happen in the national park between 2012 and 2017.”

The Peak District National Park Authority are consulting their new Management Plan document and are asking for people’s views via online an survey: (This is also a longer survey, but it is probably only relevant if you read the whole document.) Part 2 gives an opportunity for general comment, which might be useful if you have a view on mountain biking you’d like them to hear. The consultation ends 1st of July (Friday).

Chapel Gate Maintenance 2011 – Pictures


The Chapel Gate track in Edale has been resurfaced and turned into a smooth motorway. The long and very rocky track was previously considered by many, us included, to be one of the most technically challenging (legal) tracks in the area. This is a sad day for mountain biking in the Peak District.


Last Tuesday we went up and took some pictures of the new state of the track, although we only had time for pictures from the bottom of the main section.

[Gallery Link]11-05-18 Chapel Gate Track, 11 pictures of the current and previous state of the track.

[Gallery Link]10-01-21 Chapel Gate JI+JK, 16 Pictures by Jeff & Irwin.

Whilst the smoothing out (or “sanitising” to some) of technically challenging tracks in the Peak District often results in out cry from mountain bikers in online forums and in discussions with fellow bikers out on the tracks, there are a few more complicated issues at play with this one.

  • Chapel Gate is a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic), so walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders, horses and carts ( 😆 ), motor bikes, quad bikes and 4×4 vehicles can all legally use it.
  • Derbyshire County Council are responsible for maintenance of the track and the cost of doing so. The Peak District National Park Authority has helped with the assessment of the track.
  • They are aware that the track is popular with mountain bikers, but bikers’ enjoyment of the technical challenge of the track isn’t their priority (assuming they appreciate it to start with – how would they know?).
  • The main section of the track cuts across the hill side for 1km, with about a 0.5km² area draining onto it – that’s a lot of water in the winter. (See the map…)
  • The plastic drainage pipes, fitted some years ago, were inevitably uncovered by erosion and the pipes were crushed and shattered by the weight of vehicles (exercising their legal right to use the track). Arguably if maintenance had been done earlier a lot of damage could have been prevented.
  • The failure of drainage lead to a lot of water going down the track, causing, and greatly accelerating, a lot erosion. At the bottom of the main section, at the gate where it flattens out, all the water was draining off into a farmer’s field, carving a deep trench and spewing out soil and debris from the track.
  • Some sections (particularly the bottom of the main section) became a deep gully, down to the gritstone bedrock, this led to the grass bank being used and eroded as the main line was either impassable, difficult, or less attractive to users (walkers could legally do so as it’s Open Access land).
  • Doing nothing was not a long term option. – When assessed for Sustainability by the Peak Park it got the worst score possible.
  • It might have been possible to have done the maintenance in a way that would have left the track in state more enjoyable to mountain bikers, e.g. embedding large rocks in the top surface, but this would certainly have taken longer and cost more.
  • The estimated cost to repair it was £200,000, with a further £20,000 annually for maintenance. (Estimated some time between 2006 and 2009.)
  • In December 2010 the Peak Park launched a six week consultation on a proposal to trial banning motorised vehicles for a year and half. No decision has been announced yet.
    EDIT: On 3/6/11 it was announced that it would closed to motors for a year and half.
  • Between 1st March 2011 and 31 May 2011, the track was closed for the maintenance work.
  • Work is planned on other local BOATs, but probably (hopefully) won’t be as severe:
    • Long Causeway, Stanage – “Significant repairs” already done
    • Brough Lane, Bradwell – Maintenance imminent
    • Bamford Clough, Bamford – Maintenance and improvement to the safety of concrete parts
    • Pin Dale, Hope / Castleton – Currently has problems with vehicles going off the track
    • The Roych, Chinley / Edale – Currently has problems with vehicles going off the track
    • Hurstclough Lane, Bamford – To be assessed for maintenance
    • Shatton Lane, Shatton / Abney – probably ok, being monitored
    • There are more further afield (this the links below)

Sources and further info:
Chapel Gate Experimental Traffic Order – Peak District National Park Authority
Sensitive routes – Peak District National Park Authority
Chapel Gate Route Management Plan [PDF] – Peak District National Park Authority
Vehicles in the Countryside: March 2011 [PDF] – Peak District National Park Authority
LAF Vehicle Sub-group Meeting 5/8/2010 [PDF] – Peak District National Park Authority

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Whilst it would be easy to agree with banning vehicles from Chapel Gate, and other places they can legally drive, based on the damage they cause and subsequently cost, it’s perhaps a short-sighted view. Assuming a ban would be followed, where would they go instead? Would this increase traffic and therefore erosion and cost of maintenance on other BOATs? Would they then become like Chapel Gate and get similar bans? Would this lead to more illegal use and damage in less sustainable areas or on bridleways mountain bikers value? Another valid question is; can the council (and therefore taxpayers) continue to pay a lot of money to maintain the enjoyment of a relatively small user group?
Hard problems don’t have simple solutions.

As mountain bikers who enjoy technically challenging rocky descents and don’t enjoy smoothed out sandy motorways suitable only for family leisure cycling, we a take a certain amount of pleasure in seeing such “improvements” returned to rocky mayhem by the elements, but will this take much longer if vehicles are banned?

There are many good examples of self-sustaining rocky technical tracks, Hope Cross DH and Gores being two (bridleways). One thing most tracks will benefit from, though, is targeted maintenance; stopping water flowing down the track or draining dips where it collects and becomes a mud bath. The only question that remains is who will do this targeted maintenance, where are the fabled trail fairies?

Mountain bikers want maintenance to be carried out in a way that’s sympathetic to their use and enjoyment of the trails – that’s only going to happen if mountain bikers are involved in doing it. No one is going to come and ask us how we’d like it done if we don’t get off our back sides (or saddles more likely) and do something ourselves.

Lifecycles and VAST films at the Showroom cinema 17th Nov

Life Cycles tells a spectacular story of the bike, from its creation to its eventual demise. A visually stunning journey, with thought provoking narration, Life Cycles uses Ultra HD to document the many stories surrounding the mountain bike and its culture.

Date: Wednesday 17th November 2010
Location: Showroom, Sheffield
Full details…
Screening Start time: 8pm
Screening End time: 9.35pm (approximately)
Phone number for tickets: 0114 275 7727
The Showroom is one of the largest independent cinemas in Europe with four luxury auditoria and a bar, it is located in the centre of Sheffield, a stones throw from the train station. The screening will be on largest screen with capacity for 282 people. It has hosted previous MTB films and events, including Follow Me, Seasons and ShAFF.

Dates have been announced for the UK cinema tour of “Lifecycles”, probably the most anticipated mountain bike film ever. The creative work of ace mountain bike photographer, Derek Frankowski, whose work regularly graces the pages of “Bike” magazine and celebrated film maker, Ryan Gibb, “Lifecycles” has been over three years in the making. Shot entirely in HD and envisaged from the very start of the project as being made to be shown on the big screen in high definition and 5.1 surround sound, “Lifecycles” follows the life of the bicycle from its creation through to its ultimate demise. The film features the cream of the crop of riding talent and couples it with some truly breathtaking locations. At a sneak industry preview of a rough cut of the film in Whistler in August, the film received a standing ovation and glowing praise with one industry insider likening it to National Geographic meets The Collective. To see what all the fuss is about, log onto to see the extended trailer.

The UK tour coincides with the release of the film on DVD. Copies of the film can be pre-ordered from and will be distributed in Europe by who have generously lent their support to the tour.

For everyone who catches the tour in the cinema, they will enjoy not just “Lifecycles” but also the latest feature from Ionate Films called “VAST”. Shot entirely on location in Europe spanning locations such as the Swiss Alps, the stunning Ligurian coastline, the broad spaces of Provence and the streets of Berlin, VAST presents a uniquely European take on the freeride mountain bike film genre. While the riders may not necessarily be household names, their riding speaks for itself. A perfect companion piece for Lifecycles guaranteed to make you want to get out and ride. See the trailer at

Promotion: Red Bull Rampage Video – Red Bulletin

“To support the launch of the August Edition of Red Bulletin in the UK, out on Sunday August 1st, Red Bull have given us this brand new clip of Red Bull Rampage, Launched in 2001 and held annually through 2004, Red Bull Rampage brings the creative, unrestricted ethos of freeride mountain biking to the contest arena while staying true to the sport’s core ideals. Poised on a sandstone ridge in the brutal landscape near Virgin, Utah, riders were free to choose whatever line they dared between an established start gate and the finish line 1,500 vertical feet below. Exactly what happened between those two points has become legendary.

Check out more insane, life threatening stunts, only in the Red Bulletin. You can read it and find out how to pick up a copy at – plus watch this video as part of an awesome augmented reality montage taking the magazine to Print 2.0!”

Derwent Edge Bridleway Maintenance

As some of you may be aware myself, Jeff and Shane are members of Ride the Peak. ‘What is Ride the Peak?’ I hear you say.

“Ride the Peak is a group open to all with like-minded interests in maintaining and enhancing mountain biking in the Peak District”

A couple of weeks ago now we went to carry out some basic maintenance to the Derwent Edge bridleway. There was only a small group of the four of us. With Martin Sharp, who works for the Peak Park, keeping us in line we were able to achieve what we set out to do. Which was to unblock the ‘bomb holes’ so that they could start to dry out.

Basic Maintenance to bridleway

Anyone who has ever ridden there before will know that in the winter it get extremely muddy. Which leads to users (not just cyclists) trying to find alternative routes around the worst bits. But even in the summer some of the deeper bomb holes just don’t dry out. So we were trying to drain some of the largest puddles/pools of water. Although we did leave a couple as there were full of tadpoles. 🙂

Basic Maintenance to bridleway [Gallery Link] 09-04-21 Derwent Edge Maintenance, 5 Pictures by Jeff