Rapidly approaching a decade since trails went into Grenoside Woods, Ride Sheffield need your help to give them a refresh.

Pete caught up with Henry Norman from Ride Sheffield to chat what prompted the trail refresh and how riders can get involved.

Photo by Duncan Philpott.

How did Ride Sheffield decide that the Greno Woods trails needed a refresh?

It’s been 9 years since the first phase of official building took place in Greno. Bikes and riding have progressed so much in that time, so it’s important that we have trails that remain fun and fresh and allow people to progress their riding.

It’s also a really popular spot so the wear and tear is pretty heavy too, so a bit of love was definitely due.

What’s involved in that process?

It’s not too much of a process. We always have a debrief after Steel City DH (Peaty, Ride Sheffield and This is Sheffield organise the race) and we wanted to compliment the work that had been done on the trails before the 2019 race.

We have always used race funds to do the trail work in Greno, but with costs of the race increasing and also a desire to do more with the race money, we decided it was time to bring a bit more money into the woods.

How many people were involved and what do they do?

After the chat with the Steel City crew, it was over to Ride Sheffield to put some plans together as we manage the day to day maintenance of the trails. We have also done a bit of crowdfunding before too.

But first we needed to seek permission from the Wildlife Trust who manage the woods. We have a good relationship with them and maintain rights of way on other Wildlife Trust land, so it’s important that we check in with them and make sure we minimise the impact of the work.

Next it’s a site visit with Bike Track and Peaty to work our how our vision works on the ground. Then it’s a bit of sketching up the plans and final costing.

Why a Crowdfund?

Crowdfunding Lady Cannings trails was a bit of a shot in the dark (and a new route for mountain bikers) when we first did it, but it seems to have worked well for us on that and Redmires too.

It’s a quicker and more reliable way of getting money for smaller projects than grant funding, but also it gives a sense of ownership of the trails back to the riders and helps strengthen the community.

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How would you prioritise the works if you didn’t meet your target?

We would focus the work on Steel City DH as it has sections that are due a refresh, but it also has by far the greatest number of riders, with more than the remaining trails added together.

If we do not reach our target, we will try and do as much as we can with volunteers and we are currently putting together a Greno/North Sheffield trail crew that will hopefully be able to carry out work if needed, but will also keep an eye on the trails and keep everything running better for longer.

What would going over target enable you to do?

Going over target would give us a couple of options. We could do more work on Pub Run, which is another trail in the woods that recently had a little TLC. it also gives us better options to look at professional maintenance over the next couple of years as well as giving us a few more piles of aggregate that can be used on volunteer days or even the hiring of tools that can be used to maximise volunteer days too.

If everyone that used Greno Woods for riding donated a pound, would you be at target already?

We would be well over target… From practice and race runs alone at Peaty’s Steel City DH over the last 10 years would net us £15,000.

It’s difficult because people get used to have quality trails across the city that are all free to use, so asking people to stump up for paying for the trails is a little new (even the car park is free). But from places like Rogate to Bike Park Wales, riders are willing to pay to ride. We are just after a one-off contribution to make awesome trails that they can enjoy over and over again.

How does Ride Sheffield affect their trail repairs? What’s the process?

It depends on where we are working. We hold monthly trails days that can be on built trails that we manage such as Lady Cannings and Greno, through to work on rights of way too. For bigger jobs we have a really good working relationship with Bike track, who have built most of the trails in Sheffield (they also support our trail days by providing volunteers with lunch).

We use money from Rad Tax (a monthly donation to the work we do that riders and busineess can make) to pay them to carry out maintenance and modifications that are better done any the professionals and their machines.

How can riders help beyond donating to the Crowdfund?

Spread the word about the Crowdfunder, come along to trail days and get involved, set up a Rad Tax payment to contribute to the work we do across the city and Be Nice Say Hi! Its through the strength (and niceness) of our riding community that allows us to build strong links with landowners and build more trails, not to mansion making it such a great city to ride in.

You can donate to the Ride Sheffield Grenoside fundraiser here.

You can sign up for the Ride Sheffield Rad Tax here.