We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet

It’s normal at this time of the year to begin making new year’s resolutions; grandiose plans that are typically forgotten when the first obstacles of life pop up to knock you off your resolve. This year I planned to ride loads more. For one reason or another I think I actually ended up riding less than the year before – but that’s sometimes just the way it goes.

So maybe I should temper my resolutions a bit this year? Calm my ambitions and be realistic? ‘Ride more’ is a given – it’s not really a resolution is it? So what should I aim for then?

Well there are a few things which I’m aiming for in 2019; some maybe a bit of a stretch, while others I really think are within reach.

The Peak District is a real challenge. A mish mash of landowners, land managers, park authority, local councils, parish councils, county councils – and that’s before you overlay the various groups who want to get out there for some fun. I’ve been navigating these – alongside groups like the excellent Peak District MTB – for a number of years now, and though I’ve said we’re getting close to a tipping point before, I really believe that in 2019 we’re going to see some real progress for mountain biking in the national park. So, what about those resolutions then?

  1. RV-CutGate-1737Finish the Cut Gate project.
    We’re just a few thousand pounds from hitting our £74000 target for Cut Gate in the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million project. To have achieved that is incredible – it really is – now the focus shifts to the actual work itself. We’ll likely begin this year, so working closely with PDMTB and Ride Sheffield with Moors for the Future to ensure the path is something which we can all be proud is one of my main focuses this year.
  2. Change the relationship with some key landowners.
    On any patch of land in the Peak you can have perhaps four or five people with an ownership or responsibility for it. Rarely do those stars ever align long enough to allow mountain bikers to get access. Even if they do, it can be just the smallest negatively perceived thing that gets that access taken away again. Strava on a sensitive trail. A few curt words between people. The perception of recklessness. That all happened in 2018 and set back advocacy work. However, there are a few green shoots of promise coming though that suggest that we might be able to begin opening up some more access. If I can help to do that I’ll be really happy.
  3. Get everyone on the same page.
    Cut Gate’s already been a big help for this, but basically when you talk to the other groups who use the same kind of tracks we do, you soon realise that we all want the same things. More access. Sensitive repairs. If we can all, together agree on what we want, we can put more pressure on to achieve more. Let’s work together more. And that doens’t just mean different groups. Even within our own community we’re not all on the same page. Some are seemingly wilfully against what advocacy groups are doing on one hand while enjoying the fruits of those labours on the other. It’s a bizarre contradiction which I’d love to see change. Like I say though, some of my ambitions may be a stretch. Doesn’t mean I won’t try.
  4. Ride my bike more.
    But I said I wouldn’t say that.

So there’s my little list. I’l revisit it in a year and see where we are. Happy New Year everyone, here’s to a cracking 2019 for you all.


Getting to the final furlong…


The £7500 grant secured by Peak Horsepower from the British Horse Society communities fund is a massive step closer to the Cut Gate target.

But it’s a lot more valuable than just the money.

From the very start when we wrote the Cut Gate thing, me, Peak District MTB and Ride Sheffield have seen the Cut Gate project as an opportunity to build the relationship between user groups; mountain bikers, horse riders, climbers and walkers. There has been friction between many of these groups in the past. The only way we are going to improve access and change minds is by getting behind something like Cut Gate and realising that really, the reason we go out into the Peak District is pretty similar across the various groups.

The dialogue and cross-group support for the project shows that we can work together.

Anyway, enough of that worthy nonsense. The money raised by the horse riders is fantastic and very, very welcome.

We’re now only a few thousand pounds away from hitting the target and being able to get started on the work up on Cut Gate. At the recent Peak District MTB AGM, Moors for the Future called for riders to share their thoughts on favoured trails, popular repairs and examples of good work. Personally Roych Clough, Foulstone Road and parts of Cutthroat Bridge spring to mind. You might have other examples. If you do, please email them to kotp@live.co.uk. Any other feedback you might have about repairs is welcome too.

Nearly there folks. And thanks Peak Horsepower and the BHS.


Celebrating a huge step forwards

eocaThe news that we have won the €30,000 European Outdoor Conservation Association ( EOCA ) grant for Cut Gate is a huge vote of confidence. At a third of the total pot, it’s a massive, massive boost to the campaign and puts us on the home straight to make the target £74,000 alongside the amount we’ve raised already.

Hats off to Moors for the Future for picking up on the opportunity and putting in the work to get the application in, and THANK YOU to everyone of you who voted for us and encouraged their friends and family to do the same.

RV-CutGate-1737So what now?

Well there’s still some way to go to hit the target, but it feels massively closer than it did yesterday.

More excitingly though, we can start thinking about the plans in more depth. With Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB, I’ll be talking with Moors for the Future and the Peak District National Park Authority about how the pounds will look on the ground. As you know, this was a project started by mountain bikers – Ride Sheffield, Peak District MTB and KoftheP – so we’re keen to see Cut Gate protected and still be the Cut Gate you know and love.

Thanks for your continued support folks. Not long now.


Ride. Tweet. Update.

New Zealand Story

Mountain bike advocacy. It’s boring isn’t it? Loads of do gooders interfering with your riding telling you where you can and can’t go, how you should be riding and when, pushing boring campaigns and even how you should be spending your money.

Yep. Bloody bunch of interfering busy bodies the lot of ’em.

But that’s not quite the whole story. Advocacy is a boring word, true. But advocacy itself is far from it. Let’s have a look at the evidence. I’ll start locally.


You’ve ridden Greno right? Lady Cannings? Parkwood? All fantastically fun trails. Local advocacy group Ride Sheffield deserves all the plaudits they get for getting them up and running. But it all started with Ride Sheffield putting in the ground work with Sheffield City Council and the right landowners to get the permissions in place and the opinions turned around to mountain bikers being a useful partner.

And that’s Advocacy 101 – done so well by Ride Sheffield that they’ve set the standard for creating relationships and improving mountain biking.

The Peak District

It’s a whole other world of advocacy pain when you not only have landowners to consider but also the stringent rules of a national park as well. Peak District MTB spend a lot of their time navigating those particular minefields while also putting some distinctly rider friendly features into some of the Peak District’s most popular trails. Mam Tor to Greenlands? PDMTB. Whinstone Lee Tor to Cutthroat Bridge? PDMTB and Moors For The Future. Rushup Edge? Currently being fought over to prevent flattening.

You won’t know it when you’re swooping down the flowy trail from Mam Nick, but that’s only come about after a shedload of yep, you guessed it: advocacy. PDMTB and the Peak District National Park have an incredibly close relationship that’s leading to better stuff for riders.

Over the hills

Look a little further. Bike Park Wales. Advocacy. Seven Stanes. Advocacy. Crikey, even the Alps getting bikes up the ski trails came on the back of someone talking about it the right way and with the right person.

“Alright,” I hear you say. “You’ve bonged on about it long enough now. Where does New Zealand come into it then?”

A recent report on mountain biking tourism in the Whakarerewera Forest Park found that riding in their forests brings five times the revenue of timber operations. Five times the revenue.

Five times the revenue of their primary business.

That’s incredible.

Five times more. You can’t repeat it enough. Five. Times. More. Money.

Now, the places we like to ride are usually farmland. Not, perhaps in the wheat and barley sense, but think about the sheep pastures, timber forests and cattle meadows. All farmland.

Imagine now that those farmers, land owners and visitor experience managers were to realise that a thin ribbon of trail and a few supporting facilities could bring in five times their current revenue. Imagine then, that they shifted their focus from keeping mountain bikers out, to bringing them in? How good would that be?

Farmer John did it, and look at the awesome offering over there. Imagine if the big landowners; the Severn Trent Waters, United Utilities and maybe even the moor owners did the same?

One day the penny (and the thousands of pounds. For everyone) will drop.

Your boring advocacy groups are the ones plying the machine with 2ps at the top.

So how can we get there? It’s pretty simple really. Get involved with, support and back those advocacy groups.

Back their campaigns.

Be marshalls when they ask for them. Tell your friends and family what they do.

Hey, why not even email the big landowners and tell them?

Advocacy. Bloody boring. But when it comes good, it’s the best thing in the world.

KoftheP (somewhere over Croatia on a Ryanair plane)

p.s: I never got beyond the fourth level on The New Zealand Story. I was always more into Treasure Island Dizzy. Or Chuck Rock. That game was awesome.

Buddy ‘ell, that’s a big ‘un!

Meet Jason Budd. Climber, clock repairer, bike packer, tour guide, coach, professional Yorkshireman and all round good bloke.

Jas in his natural environment

Despite his mental calendar, over the August Bank holiday weekend Jason is doing something pretty amazing for the Mend Our Mountains Cut Gate appeal and advocacy in general.

He’s going to ride from the Dales Bike Centre to the Hope Valley, linking up as many of the crown jewels of the various advocacy groups as possible on the way. It’s an ace plan and we can’t thank Jason enough for taking it on. He’s already helped out with the Dolly Mixer and will be at the Steel Valley Ride this weekend too. The man’s an advocacy machine. Anyway, over to Mr Budd himself

Over the August bank holiday I will be cycling from the Dales Bike Centre in Reeth to Cafe Adventure in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire.

I intend to do this using as many bridleways as possible calling by the MTB advocacy areas of Hebden Bridge (Ride Calderdale), Marsden (Ride Kirklees) and finishing off in Hope (Peak District Mtb)

I will be doing this with no accommodation booked en-route, no support vehicle. Just my bike and bikepacking kit and see how it goes.

Please help to raise the necessary funds to support the BMC Mend Our Mountains campaign to repair the path over the bog of doom on the famous Cut Gate bridleway.

This bridleway is one of the most fantastic and beautiful routes in the UK, stretching in the south from Ladybower, over the wild moorland tops to Langsett in the north. We need to raise £75 000 to carry out the work to lay a path through the bogs of doom Every metre of bridleway will cost £250 so every little helps..

Legend eh?

Why not stick a few pennies in the pot? Visit his justgiving page to find out more


Firewatch: we can play a part

The fire up on Saddleworth Moor is devastating. The damage to the environment, wildlife and vegetation will take years to recover.

When it’s this dry, the smallest spark or trigger can lead to huge amounts of damage. Ashes blown from a barbecue, a broken glass, a dropped cigarette butt – that tiny start can lead to damage like that on the moors right now.

But we can help.

You are all in the at risk areas regularly. As a KoftheP follower you’re already sensitive to the ground conditions so can we do a little bit more? The Peak District National Park has asked for your help.

Through the experience of many years of fighting moorland fires it has become clear that the sooner a fire is reported, and equipment and personnel are sent to tackle a wildfire after it starts, the greater the chance of containing it and preventing it from becoming deep-seated in the underlying peat. The result is a reduction in both the severity of the damage and subsequent cost, plus an increase in the speed of recovery.

So please

  • Report sightings of smoke at the earliest possible moment, and most importantly, identify as accurately as possible where the fire is
  • Share the message to report moorland fires by calling 999
  • Raise awareness of the risks to members of the public who’re out on the moors.
  • Take any glass you might find home with you

The Fire Severity Index is currently “Very High”. If it reaches “exceptional” the moors will be closed. Details here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/fire-severity-index/#?tab=map

As KofthePers we can really help with keeping vigilant, so please do. If you see a fire, call it in. The fire brigade would much rather get 10 calls than have to send 10 crews up on to the moors.

cheers everyone


Turning up the heat on #CutGate

The hottest day of the year is perhaps not the best day to take on an epic cross-Peak ride. But for 29 riders, mid-summer Sunday found them riding from Hayfield to Lady Cannings in Sheffield via Hassop – some 37 miles across both the Dark and White Peak for MTB Dolly’s Mixer.

And it was hot. Very hot.

The ride was in support of the Mend our Mountains Cut Gate appeal, our campaign to raise £74,000 to patch up the #bogofdoom. With the riders chipping in a few pounds before they started and gathering sponsorship once they’d finished we’re hoping we’ll crank up the pennies going to sort out the bogs.

I’d like to say a huge thanks to every rider for taking part on such a hot day and some special thanks to Jason Budd, Jacquie Budd and Mal Gibb. You really made a difference to the day.

But above all, thanks to Chrissy for such a brilliant job. I know it was a big thing for you, but you nailed it and everyone had an awesome time.

If you’d like to sponsor or donate you still can. You could text cutg99 £XX to 70070 or you  can jump on to the BMC’s donation page.

Anyway, here’s a few pics – including people still popping manuals at 34 miles. Gits. Feel free to download them but please put some money into the pot.