Posted on

You’ve got to love the nineties – The Retro Rideout

Don’t know if it’s my age but the ‘90’s were my favourite decade. Not only was the music great – Oasis, Blur, Stone Roses etc but it was one of the most innovative periods in cycling.

OK, I know that morally and ehically riders and teams were pushing the boundries too (we’ll quickly move over the EPO period), but the decade had the Tour won by riders on steel, alloy and carbon framed bikes. Indeed when Big Mig crosed the finish line in 1994 on his (allegedly Pegoretti built) steel Pinarello it was the las time that a steel bike won the Tour. It wasn’t the last time that one was raced – Oliver Naesen rode a steel bike on the Paris stage of the race in 2019.

Aluminium’s time in the sun was not very long – with Tour winners in 95,96 and 97. Rumour has it that Pantani’s Wilier was a re-badged custom built Pesenti Fly with a frame weight of around a kilo.

Pantani’s bike was also innovative because it had a compact frameset with a sloping top tube.

Since then carbon dominated, or should I say made a comeback – teams had been playing around with carbon frames since the ‘80’s. The most prolific manufacturer was TVT who made bikes for La Vie Claire amongst others.

In the early part of the decade aerodynamics became big with the likes of the Lotus superbike that Chris Boardman rode on the track. This was like nothing we’d seen before and the battles between him and Graham Obree are well doccumented.

It was also the last decade that the quill stem was used in anger on the Tour. Gone was the elegant alloy sweep and in came the utilitatian ahead set. Clipless pedals had been around since the ‘80’s, but it was the period when they really took off. Shifters moved from the downtube to the handlebars and by the end of the period nine speeds on the back were commonplace on high end bikes.

The Retro Rideout event is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I wanted to run an event that included bikes from the ‘90’s. Not only because of the innovations above, but because I’m of a certain era and it was when I had my golden days before settling down.

Whilst I’ve enjoyed participating in other retro / vintage cycling events I felt that this era was not being covered. That is not to say that bikes from earlier era’s are not welcome – I want the event to be as inclusive as possible. It’s more about run what you brung than getting hung up on whether your brake cable routing is period correct.

I also want the event to be about the ride and not to get distracted by other entertainment. Back in the day, before I’d settled down I used to ride occasionally with a club, but mainly with my mates and we used to go for epic rides in the Peak – out all day, exploring new roads enjoying the company. This is what I’m trying to capture.

Hopefully subject to the lockdown restrictions ending the Retro Rideout will be held in May 2021. For more information, check out the event website.

Posted on

Clumber Rumble

Must admit whilst I love the Peak District, it’s good to head in the opposite direction and explore the trails to the east of Chesterfield now and again. This routes a great Winter route as it’s a bit lest wild than some of the ones I’ve created.

Clumber Park is a popular spot with locals. The estate which was owned by the Duke of Newcastle is now run by the National Trust and is great for walking, cycling and relaxing.

This route starts at Chesterfield station and heads down the Transpennine Trail roughly following the Chesterfield canal and then a disused railway line. It the climbs over a hill via some quiet lanes and re-joins the canal at Kiveton.

Then it’s over to Worksop and follows the NCN route 6 through Worksop to Clumber. Then it’s through the Welbeck estate and Cresswell Crags where there’s a visitor centre and cafe.

The route then heads down the newly opened Clowne Branch line and down to Poolsbrook country park. It’s then back along the Transpennine Trail back to the start.

The route is more ultra-CX than pure gravel – do able on a gravel bike but a bit muddy in places, but not difficult enough to require an MTB.

There’s also a couple of places that you may have to get off and push your bike. Please be sensible and share with care.

Posted on

Eyam MTB Circuit

Most of the routes I’ve posted are gravel based but every now and then I like to mix it up and get my MTB out. This is a variation of an after work ride I’ve done with a mate.

It’s got a healthy mix of fast descents, killer climbs and postcard quality views on a good day. It’s a tough little circuit, especially if it’s windy, but we like our routes with a bit of gnarl as that makes it feel like we’re getting value for money.

The start/ finish I’ve chosen is at one end of the closed road at Eyam, but there’s nothing to stop you starting elsewhere.

Posted on

Youlgreave Circuit

We’ve a soft spot for the White Peak. It’s often overlooked in favour of it’s bolder brassier Dark Peak neighbour, but has a wealth of trails that are worth discovering.

This gravel based route starts and finishes at Alport near Youlgreave. It’s a mix of gravel tracks, quiet roads and bridleways. There’s also a small section of the High Peak trail in there.

Posted on

Peak District Gravel Climbs

If it doesn’t kill you….

Some would say it’s about the glory through suffering, others as just a way to get where you want to go. The Peak has quite a few iconic climbs that have been used in both road races and the national hill climb championships.

There are also some absolutely belting gravel based climbs for those who enjoy that type of thing. Climbs on the road in the Peak are tough. Doing it on gravel just turns the notch up a couple. Here’s a few of our favourites.

Mam Tor

One of the Peak’s most famous climbs. This former A road is slowly heading towards the valley floor which leads to a dramatic post apocalyptic landscape.

Longstone Edge

Longstone’s rightfully a popular climb with local roadies. A tough little number, but you are rewarded with a fantastic view at the end, The gravel version is relatively easy and goes via a working quarry with quite an impressive hole !


Shatton’s one of those climbs that you don’t find in many guide books. It’s steep and a lot of it’s not gravel – it’s on precast concrete slabs that were put down so that vehicles could get to the transmitter mast at the top. However it’s a bit rough on a road bike and once you are the mast it’s full on gravel so it’s ignored by those who like lycra.


We used this on the Hardcore100 and got quite a bit of ‘customer feedback’ on it so it’s must be a toughie ! A good alternative to the normal road route, the first steep bit is on tarmac. Once you’ve got to the farms half way up the gradient settles down however the surface becomes very sketchy just to make up for that.


Stanage has a big mountain feel to it. The route has always been a fave descent but it also makes a cracking climb. There’s also one of the best views anywhere at the top.


Rowsley’s got a bit of reputation in road riding circles and this little climb that links Rowsley Bar to Beeley keeps that aura going.

Church Lane

This is Rowsley’s other climb. One of our fave’s that we’ve been using a for years and is a good ‘back way’ into Bakewell.

Bar Road Baslow

We used this towards the end of the Brutal Tootle. It’s a climb that just keeps on giving.

Posted on


The man who was never lost never went very far – GHB Ward

All of the events in 2019 start in the village in Holmesfield. Whilst it’s a lovely place and has several nice pubs, it was also the home to one of the original champions of access to open land GHB Ward.

Without GHB and those early pioneers we probably would not be able to run our events.

George Herbert Bridges or GHB or Bert Ward was born in the middle of Sheffield in 1876. In 1900 he put an advert in the Clarion newspaper for a walk around the highest hill in Derbyshire Kinder Scout. Back in those days you could walk around the plateau but the summit was private land.

On the back of this walk he formed the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers, the world’s first working class rambling club. This organisation became the chief organisation for campaigning for greater access in the Dark Peak. As early as 1907, 25 years before the famous mass trespass, they were organising walks across privately owned shooting moors.

In 1923 Ward was served an injunction to prevent him setting foot on land on the western, Hayfield side of the Kinder plateau which would have prevented him taking part in the mass trespass 9 years later.

Ward was also a Freemason. This may seem strange from a man who was a committed socialist. It however did give him access to some of the major local landowners.

Federation of rambling clubs were starting to form in northern cities like Liverpool and Manchester. In 1926 GHB was instrumental in forming a federation of the 18 Sheffield Rambling clubs.

A year later a meeting of all of the ramblers federations was held in Hope with the aim of forming a national body.

In 1931 another meeting was held at Longshaw Lodge, which had recently been purchased from the Duke of Rutland using an early version of crowdfunding. This established the National Council of Ramblers Federations, which in 1935 became the Ramblers Association.

In 1941 GHB retired to Storth Lodge on the edge of Holmesfield. Folks that entered the Brutal Tootle passed the entrance to this house.

Without the pioneering work of GHB we probably would not have had the access to the uplands we do at the moment.

Great advocacy work has been done locally to us by groups like Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB, working with local landowners to improve access and help them maintain local trails.

The short MTB route below passes GHB Ward’s house and takes in several concessionary bridleways across the Eastern Moors Estate.

Posted on

Moss Valley

This is another route which is a fave of ours and part of it is the commute we do into Velotastic HQ. It starts and finishes at Chesterfield railway station, so there’s no excuse to drive to the start.

The route heads off down the Chesterfield canal which is a nice traffic free way out of the town. After a few miles there is a short climb through the village of Whittington followed by a bridleway to the quiet village of Hundall.

On a good day there’s a panoramic view over to the Peak and down the Drone valley. From here it’s onto Apperknowle and down a bridleway that’s just beyond the Travellers Rest pub. The trail goes round the back of an airstrip. It’s rarely used, so if you do see a plane it’s a bonus. Then it’s a short road section through Troway.

Next is a fun descent down into the Moss Valley which is followed by an inevitable climb. Using a set of bridleways the route traverses the valley onto Mosborough.

Then it’s more downhill to Eckington and off road to Barrow Hill. From here we rejoin the canal and take the Transpennine Trail towards Inkersall. Then it’s a fun descent through Westwood and onto Brimington Common. The ride returns to the start following the Transpennine Trail across Tapton golf course.

The route takes 2-3 hours so is an ideal Sunday morning or weekday evening ride. There’s plenty of places (pubs) on route to get a drink.

If you like this why not check out our events ?

Posted on

Bakewell & Monsal

The re-invented former railway lines in the Peak are popular with tourists and locals alike. This short route explores a couple of them .

Starting at Bakewell station, the route heads off down the traffic free Monsal Trail. Be careful, especially at weekends to watch out for dogs and children off their leads ! The route goes down the route of the former Derby to Manchester line and has some spectacular views, a few tunnels and a viaduct to keep you entertained.

Once you’re warmed up and have reached Millers Dale station, a short but brutal climb takes you up towards the hamlet of Priestcliffe. From here it’s across the A6 and onto a combination of sections involving gravel tracks and quiet roads and over to the High Peak trail.

We follow this trail for a while passing the former Parsley Hay station which has been converted into a bike hire and food kiosk and head south for a while.

From here we head off down a long green lane and off towards Middleton and Youlgreave. Here we head up another off road section and make our way back to Bakewell.

Instead of heading back to the start, there’s a short section along the A6 which takes us onto a bridleway that leads to the beginning of the Monsal trail.

If you love this route, don’t forget to check out our events that we are holding throughout the year.

Posted on


A Game of Two Halves

In the week when we lost arguably England’s most famous goalkeeper and Sheffield lad, Gordon Banks I thought I’d put up a local route that begins on the edge of the city.

Sheffield markets itself quite rightly as the Outdoor City. A big chunk of it is in the Peak District and the national park is easily accessible. This route starts (and finishes) at the Norfolk Arms. A popular watering hole with cyclists. From here it heads across the edge of the Mayfield valley and round the Rivelin Dams.

From there there is a punishing climb up to Stanage, which featured in the start of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly. Another hard climb (this time on road) follows round the bottom of the edge to one of our fave spots in the Peak – the Burbage Valley.

Then it’s onto the former country estate of Longshaw. From here you have two choices – cut the bottom of the route off and head off back to the pub or go south for some more exploring.

If you choose the latter it’s on to Moss Road, one of the few proper bits of gravel we’ve got in the area. Past the railway tunnel chimney and over Brown Edge over a little used trail. Then it’s across Big Moor and Ramsley Moor and up to Wellington’s Monument for a view down the valley towards Chatsworth (also in Pride and Pedjudice). Then it’s over to Curbar Gap and across the edges back to Longshaw.

From here pass through the estate and onto Houndkirk. At the end of Houndkirk (a short distance from the end) there is always the option, if time permits to go and have a play on the MTB trails at Lady Cannings.

Posted on

Hathersage Circuit

A ride with a view

Another shorter gravel ride that we like that can be done in a morning or evening. Includes the option of a play on Lady Cannings MTB trails.

Starting at the National Trust’s Longshaw estate which has a popular cafe on site the route heads over Houndkirk Road and past the Lady Canning’s plantation which offers an optional play down one of the blue MTB trails.

Then a road section round the Rivelin dams and up onto Stanage Edge for one of the most panoramic views in the Peak. Then it’s a lumpy (but mainly downhill) to Yorkshire Bridge and down the Thornhill trail which is on the track bed of the old railway that was used to build the nearby dams.

Then onto Shatton and a lovely quiet trail via Offerton to one of our fave climbs – Abney. At the ridge summit you are rewarded with a cracking view of Stanage edge where you were earlier. Then it’s onto the pretty, historic village of Eyam. A closed road section is followed by a steady climb up Froggatt and back through the Longshaw estate.

Posted on


A gravel take on an MTB classic

The Linacre Circuit has been a Peak District classic since it appeared in MTB guidebooks in the 1980’s. It is a combination of mud, climbs and cracking descents.

We’re lucky enough to live a couple of hundred metres from the route and have ridden it more times than we can remember. It’s great for an evening or afternoon ride and is very accessible from Chesterfield.

We thought we’d put out our own spin on the classic route that’s suitable for gravel bikes. There’s still a little bit of mud along the way, but generally it’s rideable in all weathers.

The route’s suitable for gravel bikes and hardtail MTB’s.

The route starts from Holmebrook Valley park and heads up a green lane and off into Linacre. From there its a nice gravel stretch over to Chandler Hill. Then it’s down into Holymoorside and a road climb out of the village. From there it’s an off road section and a bit of a push to the eastern most point off the Peak District National Park.

Then there’s a nice bit of twisty singletrack and we rejoin the road for a climb up onto Beeley Moor.

After a mile or so you turn left and go onto one of our fave bits of local gravel and onto Baslow Road for a small distance.

After that it’s a ride across the tops and a descent into Cordwell Valley. Then follows the best bit of the ride a couple of fast descents back towards Barlow (watch out for horses). And then it’s back over to the start.

Our fave eateries on the way are Hackney House at Barlow and the Peacock in Cutthorpe.

Posted on

Gnarmac Attack !

Entries to our latest gravel themed reliability ride are now live.

The Gnarmac Attack will take place on May 12th 2019. This time we’ll be exploring some of the trails in the White Peak. To stop us getting lazy and regurgitating the same route and you getting bored in the process we’re using a fresh combination of some of our favourite trails.

The ride is suitable for MTB, cross and gravel bikes and takes in a mix of byways, bridleways and quiet country lanes. As usual expect some killer climbs and technical descents as we don’t do flat.

You can enter here.

Further details, including rules and FAQ’s can be found on the event website.