Sheffield has a new Velosolutions pump track in Hillsborough Park. We were at the opening ceremony to support the project, and maybe try a lap or two...
It's well established that Sheffield has loads of great riding spots. From the natural trails of the Peak District to the tech in Wharncliffe, the purpose-built trails in Grenoside, Parkwood and Lady Cannings and the mighty Bolehills BMX track. All backed by thriving volunteer groups including Ride Sheffield and the Sheffield Dirt Society. We're spoiled really. But what we haven't had is a world-class pump track... Until now.
Hillsborough Pump Track is a brand new community facility built by Velosolutions in Hillsborough Park. This world class facility is free to use, available to everyone and designed to accommodate a range of ages, skill and physical accessibility levels. It's even flood-lit.
On the opening day, Andy couldn't help himself. Busting out some opening-day hotlaps on the Fade.
My kids can't get enough of the track. Watching their skill levels progress in real-time has been incredible, and it's all thanks to the vision of a few dedicated people, the support of the organisations involved and the skill of the builders. How long before they're faster than me? Not very long at this rate.
Although the track has been finished since June, it took a bit of time for things to bed in so the official opening day was Friday 5th August. We took the Airdrop Easy-Up along with some demo bikes to support the project.
For everyone involved, the opening day was the culmination of a lot of hard work. With hundreds of people in attendance it was obvious that the track is going to be an important place for Sheffield riders for years to come. And judging by the number of little rippers on day one, Sheffield's scene has a very bright future.
A Community Project
Hillsborough Pump Track was the vision of Dr Gareth Jones, a local rider, mtb coach and Exercise Psychologist at Sheffield Hallam University. He's a busy man but still found this time to get this off the ground (you can read more about how Gareth made it all happen over on his Move More Sheffield blog). Gareth pulled in expertise from Access Sport and Sheffield City Council who helped to shepherd the project through planning and local community consultation. Funding was provided by Access Sport, SCC and British Cycling. Finally Velosolutions were called in to bring it all to life.
All Wheels Welcome
Hillsborough Pump Track is a community facility which means it's there for everyone to use - free of charge - regardless of age or ability. That's reflected in the design of the track which accommodates wheels of all sizes from MTB through BMX, skate and scooter to inline. It's a testament to the skill of the designers and builders at Velosolutions that the track is so good for everyone. On any given day you'll see everyone from three-year-old kids on balance bikes to forty-year-old mtb riders on track at the same time. It can get busy at time - which is a good thing - but there's plenty of space.
There's a flat 'learn to ride' area which is always popular with the little ones, but they very quickly progress on to the white-lined beginner pump track which features a series of smooth rollers along each straight and a couple of banked turns. As with all Velosolutions tracks it's built so that it's accessible to beginners but even advanced riders can still hit it at speed.
The main red line is much longer, with a big back straight, a couple of double-sets and tonnes of rollers of varying amplitudes. All the turns are steep and there are a variety of line choices. Everything is rollable and although it looks steep at first, it inspires confidence. The map makes it look a lot simpler than it is! It's also long - if you bust out a few laps back-to-back you'll know about it.
The whole track is flood-lit which is incredible. Maybe not such a big deal in the Summer but through Autumn and Winter this is going to be a great spot to ride regardless of conditions.
Where to Find Hillsborough Pump Track
The Pump Track is located in Hillsborough Park, just off Penistone Road. There's a pay-and-display car park which is only £2 for a couple of hours and there's always spaces. The postcode is SS6 2AB.
Hillsborough Park is a 15 minute drive from Airdrop HQ so you can expect to see a few Fades rolling around the track...
Ed is the owner of Airdrop Bikes. A former web and graphic designer, he sacked off his job one day and decided to start up a bike brand.
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