Posted on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:18 AM
Chris Kilburn of Whoosh Mountain Biking on working with Blazing Saddles to get a new shop ride off the ground from their new site up Cragg Vale.
Since the devastating deluge of the Boxing Day floods subsided there has been a lot going on in Hebden Bridge. Both visible, the piles of ruined stock, furniture and equipment outside homes and businesses being cleared away, and less obvious, the wrangling with insurers, the efforts to bring the public back in and to ensure the future of the fantastic small businesses that make it such a vibrant place.
Blazing Saddles were badly affected by the floods, with a lot of stock damaged and being forced to relocate their showroom to an out of town location pending the renovation of the Hebden shop (the workshop was able to stop down in the town however).
Part of the challenge of this relocation is to get word out about where to find the new showroom and to encourage customers to get up there for a look around. To this end the guys at Blazing decided to reinstate a shop ride which is where Whoosh MTB comes into the fray!
With all hands on deck with a new shop and the renovation of the previous premises to manage they asked if I would step in and plan a series of rides showing off the best riding available from the new shop. A lot of the trails on that side of the valley get a bit less attention than the “Hebden tech” for which the area is more famous, but there’s a wealth of quiet byways and bridleways heading over towards Halifax or across the border into Lancashire that were just waiting to be ‘rediscovered’.
One ride in, a nice little loop of quaint bridleways over to Ripponden with some stern climbs, and we had 5 smiling riders, a little tired and a little muddy but happy and looking forward to the next Thursday ride.
This week, Thursday 23rd June, I’ve plotted a great route over to Hollingworth lake and back. With the bulk of the climbing taken care of in getting to the shop, a spot of road riding quickly gets us up to Blackstone Edge where we drop down the broken stones of the Roman Road, (a great descent!) before some bridleways (well surfaced in places, unsurfaced in others!) lead us over to an exhilarating drop to Hollingworth. We then climb back under then over the Motorway to get great views over the rolling Lancashire landscape and back to Blackstone Edge.
The social side of these rides is massively important with the hope that in time the rides will take on a life of their own and be sustainable without the pre-planned routes. It’s always nice meeting riders before the ride, some familiar faces and others new, and bonding over a shared passion for bikes and a good strong cuppa.
For details of the next and future rides check the Whoosh Mountain Biking events page here