Cooking on Gas
Beautifully crafted trails just outside a major city and with a cool back-story, so it’s a bit of a mystery it’s taken so long for us to feature them!
Lady Canning’s Plantation address
Off Sheephill Road
Cooking On Gas trail
Sheffield really is the city that never sleeps, at least as far as mountain biking goes night racing at the Sheffield Dual Series, Peaty’s Steel City DH race, new trails at Parkwood Springs and, soon, Redmires reservoir too.
The latest trail is called Cooking On Gas, a beautifully crafted, twisty rollercoaster that cuts through a relatively small plantation west of Sheffield called Lady Canning’s.
Cooking On Gas is the second track in this woodland, and shares an easy climb with the ‘Blue Steel’ trail, also built by local trail-building crew Biketrack a couple of years ago. And not to be confused with Blue Steel Condition, Ride Sheffield’s mountain bike-specific strength and conditioning programme.
The trail itself is classic blue territory: never intimidating and without any scary features, instead it’s packed full of flowing corners and berms that riders of all abilities will have fun on.
Sheffield’s got it right
Mix a really switched-on advocacy group called Ride Sheffield with a vocal community of supportive riders and a council keen to promote Britain’s ‘Outdoor City’ and you get something incredible: an ever-expanding network of excellent trails.
The way Sheffield trails are crowdfunded, along with the strong community aspect to the maintenance and planning of new trails isn’t just inspiring, it could well be a template for other places struggling to find a focus for local trail projects, whether fundraising or actual construction.
Ride Sheffield drives and promotes the scene so well, it helps inspire backers and businesses (both in and out of the direct mountain bike world) to get involved. In Lady Canning’s case, local firm Go Outdoors sponsored the new trail and stumped up a big chunk of cash to get the trail built to such a professional level.
We’re massive fans of how organised the Sheffield scene is here at mbr, and we’re keeping an eye out for for the next piece of the city’s trail puzzle – the new Biketrack-build RADmires trail. This red-graded trail is set to open soon with a longer, more aggressive loop located a little further intot he Peak District at Redmires reservoir.
It’s the next link in a masterplan to fill the outer edges of Sheffield with all-weather mtb trail spots that link into the area’s existing bridleway network, and who can argue with a plan like that?
What’s Lady Canning’s like to ride?
From the trailhead at highest part of the woods (well placed for further adventures heading out into the Peak District), Cooking On Gas starts with a short traverse to cross a path before things really get going. A rock-roller then leads into a section of trail packing some of the fastest, most grin-inducing berms and rollers for miles around.
It’s not technical or tricky, but flatters all rider levels with turns and features that link so seamlessly it’s impossible not to be hitting the big banked turns at warp speed in no time.
The compacted, weatherproof surface is super smooth and quick rolling too, which combines with the sculpted rollers and corners to match the bike and rider’s natural tempo perfectly. The trail is so well built and drained it still looks brand new after a summer of heavy use as well.
Further down, the gradient mellows a fraction so hard pedalling is needed to maintain maximum speed, but there’s plenty of room to move and the well placed berms and shapes continue to weave the bike side-to-side through the trees if you prefer to flow, before a faster finale spits out onto to the firebreak. Trundle back up to try and go even faster, or mix up runs on the other side of the woods with the recently updated Blue Steel trail.
Lady Canning’s offers a simple formula, but Cooking On Gas is exactly what a blue trail should be; an easy, fun, flowing and rhythmic ride with safe and natural corners and lumps and bumps that encourage, rather than take away, speed.