Sheffield’s new Cooking on Gas trail at Lady Canning’s Plantation | England’s “best blue trail”

We’ve just been treated to a sneak preview of the new Cooking on Gas Trail at Lady Canning’s Plantation in Sheffield.

The new trail is just 10 minutes from the City Centre, laps with The Peak District National Park and claims to be England’s “best blue trail”.

Jamie hits the road to see if it really is grim oop north. Thanks to Sam Taylor photos and GoOutdoors.

Not only was I one of the first to ride the trail – I was also the very first to crash on it. What an honour.

One big, fun, flowy razz

The trail is a short, fast, fun blast through a tonne of berms, rollers and easy rollable doubles. It’s the latest in Sheffield’s ever growing trail network and offers riders somewhere for a quick lap or a destination as part of a big ride around Sheffield and the Peak.

Cooking on Gas is about 1.5km long and is almost entirely flat or downhill, meaning once you’re at the trail head it’s just one big, fun, flowy razz back down to the bottom. The ride to the top is a mellow couple of minutes on the fire road and is enough to get the legs warmed up but the perfect length to tempt you into another lap.

Hidden for the last few weeks, the trail finally got uncovered and the hard work paid off.

steve peat lady cannings trail

With the track finally open, Peaty leads the first lap.

Cooking on gas

The trail opened officially on Saturday morning having been kept a close secret throughout the build. We were invited along to see what it offered and – I’ll admit – I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Cooking on Gas is very much a ‘man made’ trail, but don’t hold that against it. The whole trail is fast and fun with lots of rollers to pump for speed, lots of big berms and a few things to double up once you’ve got your confidence and your speed up.

There’s one or two table tops and there’s a few sneaky gaps for the more experienced guys. It isn’t steep and it isn’t technical but hit it with plenty of speed and we think it offers fun for anyone – beginners and pinners alike. I rode on a full suspension bike but a hardtail with fast rolling tires would be perfect.  On the day of the opening we had riders of all ages (including a ripper on a balance bike), abilities and bikes – it’s a great place for newbies to learn.

steve peat lady cannings trail

Everything is rollable but there’s plenty of fun, easy take offs to keep things interesting.

BikeTracks’ Jordan Gould – just one of the team that built the trail. As an ex-pro 4X racer he knows his stuff.

The Steel City

If you don’t know much about Sheffield’s riding scene – it’s worth a look. The Steel City has a few things that have come together to create an incredible and very fast growing riding scene. For one, it’s on the edge of the Peak and is blessed by hundreds of miles of trails (not all of them legal). There’s plenty of students and young people. The council is up for promoting the outdoors and cycling. Steve Peat lives there. The locals are super motivated to make stuff happen. It all works together to create great riding.

Rather than just pissing and moaning about lack of trails, the riders formed ‘Ride Sheffield‘ and got stuck in to working with Sheffield City Council to create a number of riding spots that link together nicely. They can be ridden on their own or as part of bigger rides and the council are working hard to make the links between spots as good as they can be.

So far there’s Lady Canning’s Plantation, Parkwood Springs, Wharncliffe and Greno and Radmires. The new trail at Lady Canning’s is just 10 minutes downhill to the City Centre.

“We’re not trying to build trail centres, we’re trying to provide really high quality links and build flow trails that link up all the fantastic, natural riding in Sheffield.”

John Dallow, Sheffield City Council.

Behind every good trail is a bloke that’s good at sorting stuff out and doing the paperwork. Here’s John Dallow from Sheffield City Council.

Inspiration

Aside from somewhere new to ride Lady Canning’s Plantation is a bit of a good news story for riders everywhere. Let me explain …

Cooking on Gas is one of two trails in Lady Canning’s Plantation. The first was crowdfunded by RideSheffield, who managed to raise enough money to get BikeTracks to build them a purpose built, fun, fast, legal and permanent mountain bike trail.

When plans appeared for the second trail, RideSheffield intended to CrowdFund again but outdoor giant GoOutdoors stepped in. They were founded in Sheffield, they own Calibre bikes and they benefit from getting more people out into the countryside – so they put £60,000 into the trail and made it happen.

If that’s not a bit of a kick up the arse to go get a decent trail built in your neighbourhood, well, I don’t know what is.

“We wanted to give back to the place where GoOutdoors started – as well as helping to open up the area for sports and activities that the business benefits from.

We’re also mountain bikers ourselves so we wanted to get involved!”

Mike Sanderson, Calibre Designer for GoOutdoors.

Big business looking after local cycling is almost unheard of … Maybe things are changing? Here’s Calibre designer Mike Sanderson, just one of the MTB’er at GoOutdoors that made this happen.

You can find out more about Cooking on Gas and Lady Canning’s Plantation here on the Ride Sheffield site.

And you can visit the GoOutdoors’ website here.

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