The riders’ group has arranged two rides, taking place on Sunday 11 and 18 May through the 5,000 acre Forestry Commission wood, near Bishop Auckland. Hamsterley Trailblazers says the rides will be led by experienced coaches.

“Lots more women are taking up what is a really rewarding pastime,” explained Vicky Chilcott, Hamsterley Traiblazers’ secretary. “But we are still heavily outnumbered by the men. In reality there are no barriers and biking is for everybody, whatever your ability or gender. These sessions are a perfect introduction and just the ticket for those wanting to polish skills which may be rusty after the winter break.”

Alex MacLennan, recreation and tourism manager with the Forestry Commission, added: “Hamsterley is now one of England’s prime mountain biking venues. But although there are plenty of challenges for adrenalin junkies, many of the routes are perfect for people wanting to sample the breathtaking scenery and keep in good shape.”

Sessions cost £5 each (free to Trailblazer members) and last four to five hours. Basic mountain biking skills and tips on simple emergency bike repairs are covered. See for bookings and more information.