Lady Bower in the Peak District is one riding location that needs to be on your to-ride list. About 20 minutes from Sheffield, it’s a great location where you can get a proper wilderness ride, but with it being only about 2 hours from home. Home being the Huntingdon area for me, so at least an hour short than anything in Wales.
Once home to the creation of the bouncing bomb and now to lots of tourists, you could be forgiven to assuming it was full of walkers with no proper mountain biking in sight. You’re somewhat right with that, as unless you know exactly where you’re going, you’re going to miss it.
There are plenty of GPS rides and guides out there, like this one from MBR, so I’m not going to give a turn by turn guide, though feel free to copy my Strava route. Instead why should you go? For me, getting there is simple as stated above, but it’s also a great natural ride. There’s nothing here which is man-made, instead you’re riding down the same paths walkers use (though you rarely bump into them) or the routes which water has carved out from the hill. This is natural riding as its best and you need to be switched on and focused to get down safely but also with a big grin on your face.
Mountain biking is as much about where it takes you as how technical that route up or down it is. And here at Lady Bower, you’ve got views for days. Half of you wants to focus on nailing that super rocky descent, or hauling yourself up yet another gruelling climb, while the other half will want to be head up, just taking in the views. From Valley Bottom to Hill Top, have fun balancing that act.
To get a proper feel for the riding, watch my descent from the top of the Valley down to about 1/3rd of the way down.
Bike of choice of this ride: Full Susser, with big tyres. Punctures are a real threat with the sharp granite.