New Trails For Lee Quarry

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Royal Racing - it's all glamour...

We headed up to our local trail centre Lee Quarry (and site of the Singletrack Weekender) a few days ago, ostensibly to come and have a sneak preview of some 2011 Royal Racing kit during a photoshoot. With Royal Racing involved it was a star studded affair, with Steve Peat, Rowan Sorrell, Chris Akrigg and Rich Cunynghame traveling up to take part. While the weather was alright elsewhere, in classic Lee Quarry style the dark clouds had gathered directly above and it was hammering it down.

Despite having some of the world’s best riders gathered in one spot, no tyre touched dirt thanks to the rain and poor light. Instead dozens of cups of coffee and teacakes were consumed in Poppie’s Deli Cafe across the road from the quarry carpark. It must be a particularly British trait to be able to look at the same shade of dark grey sky for hours on end and still remain optimistic that it’s about to clear up, but after a while it was obvious the shoot would be off. With mutterings about going off to play a game that’s named after a popular German hatchback, there was only one thing

"Looks like it's clearing up. Hang on, maybe not."

left to do. Walk up the hill, do a quick promo shot with people trying to look cheery while their faces were machine gunned with water and then head onwards.

Well, all except Rowan Sorrell, whose trailbuilding company Back On Track has just got the contract to build some more trails at Lee Quarry and sister site Cragg Quarry. Thanks to the popularity of the first pump track making it nigh on impossible to get a ride on at the weekends, a second pump track is going to be built just across from it.

There will be a new black graded skills development run, which will keep it short and technical, taking quality over quantity. That should mean plenty of drop offs, step downs and gap jumps. Cragg Quarry will be getting some more flowing singletrack to add to the current selection, making good use of the spoil heaps around the place. The link trail between the two sites has been open for a while now and has opened up the area up nicely, meaning there’s plenty of distance riding on offer as well as the short fun loops that make Lee such a nice place to ride.

From there to there please.

Rowan and his team, along with Tony Lund, the Environments Officer at Lancashire County Council and driving force behind the developments, will also be maintaining the existing trails to keep them in top condition. Taking a stroll around the quarry with the pair of them and listening to them discuss the way new trails will be sited and placed is an insight into something that’s much more complicated than marking out lines and then digging a few berms. They’re both passionate about making exciting trails for all abilities. It’s an artform to build trails that can be ridden by a beginner or a rider with years under their belt and still challenge and excite them.

Work will be starting at the site soon and should be completed around March, perfectly in time for the new sections to be used in our annual Singletrack Weekender event. That said, Rowan and Tony pointed out that keen riders using the trails before they’re properly ready and bedded in causes serious delays and means more work for the team – so no sneaking on to the new bits before they’re officially open.

Comments (11)

    Love it up there. Gawd bless everyone involved.

    Royal will hopefully be back next month as I have promised them it is always sunny in Bacup during Feb.

    New trails are coming soon. As will be the formation of a volunteer trail building group linked to the recently formed Pennine Mountain Bike Action Group. We are just getting the insurance stuff sorted out at the moment then we will be offering out door first aid training and basic trail building and tool use training for people that are interested in helping take the lead on trail construction and maintenance.

    If you might be interested let me or Ed Oxley know.

    Poppies cafe is really keen to get mountain bikers in there and are asking for ideas as to what you would like to see served. Any ideas pop in and have a chat with them and be amazed at their novelty cups! The owner has said she is happy for people to go in the café and make use of the toilets for getting changed etc even if they are not buying anything at the time. Although I’m sure she is hoping you will come if for tea and cake at the end of your ride. Trying to sort out some bike racks on the grass opposite the café at the moment and some bike locks to borrow from the café. It could turn in to a really good mtb friendly café if we support it.

    More trails? – fantastic news. Thank you.

    Hello, the future developments sound great. One question where is the cafe? Never noticed anything when pulling in to the car park.

    Yay, a massive well done to everyone involved in this project.

    whilst i must comend the popularity of lee quarry. it is proof that there is money to be made re generating these sorts of areas; i think that it is not flowey at all. not sure about cragg quarry. i wish someone would invest money else where cos there are so many beter places to ride. like hmmm wharncliffe/greno. but still kudos to you. maybe someone should get the blokes involved to help out here in sheff…

    “With mutterings about going off to play a game that’s named after a popular German hatchback”

    The guys went off to play Polo? I’d never imagined that

    There is an idea for the singletrack weekender, bike polo! Now how do I risk assess that?

    Not sure about bike polo, seemsa bit circus like to me. Anyway, I went to the cafe on the opening day and have been a few times since, top food and really friendly. Tony is right we should support a local business that benefits us and there ain’t many that are happy for piss wet through muddy bikers to plonk themselves down and drip dry. Go and try it out.

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