By Richard Jones
Like many other ‘weekend warriors’, a typical Saturday or Sunday for me involves getting out somewhere on the mountain bike and, living on the edge of the Peak District, this is where much of my riding takes place. Ideally, I’ll pick a start point near a decent café, as post-ride cake is almost an essential, and plan a loop taking in some challenging climbs and exhilarating descents. If others from outside of the area are coming along, then I’ll try and squeeze in as much as possible, especially where I know others probably haven’t ridden. Unfortunately, this can and has resulted in the distance covered being stretched out, so it just goes over the level beyond which the old legs have given up.
Now, having recently joined the ranks of Contours Holidays, I am involved on a daily basis in planning multi-day walks from place to place for our customers, with their luggage being transported along the way. So this makes me think,
“can’t we do this on a weekend basis for mountain biking”?
The thing about this area is that there are just so many options in terms of riding that it’s impossible to squeeze it all into one ride. I was reading a mountain biking forum recently where a group of university friends were now scattered around the country and were looking to get together centrally for a few days of riding, and were asking for ideas for where to stay. And, on what is usually a vibrant discussion place with a wide array of knowledge, very little came back to the poster in terms of clear suggestions about bike-friendly places that could accommodate them – and by bike-friendly, I mean somewhere to securely store several thousand pounds worth of mountain bikes, maybe clean down after a day in the gloop, dry riding gear and maybe carry out some essential tinkering. Oh, and in or within walking distance of a good pub, because the post-ride chat about the wipe-out you only just avoided, or what tyre pressures you’re running tomorrow to avoid said near-wipe-out moments, is just as key to a successful few days riding!
At Contours, we do offer cycling holidays and trail running holidays, but what I would love to help develop is to answer that question of ‘where can we stay and ride in the Peak District’? To be able to offer riders the opportunity to get out for a weekend for a few days of riding from place to place, with transfers for spare kit, tools and some evening-wear (i.e. jeans and some type of bike-related t-shirt). The idea of going from A to B on a mountain bike so that you get to see and ride in a whole range of environments and experience the best the area has to offer appeals to me, so I hope it will appeal to others. Watch this space…