2012 has seen more visitors coming from outside the UK for Great Rock courses. It’s been great to be able to welcome people and show them the great riding we have to offer, as well as spreading the word that we have good food and fine ales in our country! In March Antoine and Niels from Holland came over for two days of Alpine Prep courses in their big cool campervan. It’s bigger than it looks in the photo…they’re just giants.

On the road

They made their visit into a week long road trip, which I was pleased to help them plan, taking in some riding in the Yorkshire Dales, (staying at the excellent Dales Bike Centre) and the Lake District as well as alpine Hebden. I first met these two via Twitter when they were out riding in the Alps and came across the route of the Trans Provence that I had just passed through. We were both posting photos of our adventures and one thing led to another until they turned up in Hebden. It was a real pleasure to meet these adventurers in person and share some of the best of my local trails. We also shared a few pints of the local  Copper Dragon which is probably the best post ride pint in the world. The boys very kindly left me a present of massive bottle of Leffe. Ah! The harmony of international relations.

Bike building

Last week Randy flew in from his home in Helsinki in Finland to do a 2 day 1 to 1 skills intensive in Hebden Bridge. Things got off to a bad start with the mountain biker’s ultimate travel nightmare. He arrived at Manchester airport but his lovely Pivot Firebird didn’t! He showed remarkable good humour and we soon had this sorted out and hit the Hurstwood trails for a pump and cornering session followed by plenty of technical Hebden Bridge riding. Randy enjoyed trying the traditional food of Hebden Bridge with trips to the Thai, Turkish and Italian restaurants as well as a visit to the famous Grandma Pollards fish and chip shop in Walsden for haddock, chips, mushy peas and a pot of tea. Full to the brim Randy headed off to ride in the Peak District and then Wales after his skills upgrade. Great times.

Cyclist's portions

A great bunch of 9 geezers from somewhere called Essex also visited Hebden Bridge for a day of guided riding and skills tips. I think Essex is a flat region somewhere near France. Apparently the highest hill in their riding area is 92 meters above sea level. The boys loved the first climb of the day up to Jack Bridge which is about 220m of vertical asent. They certainly felt on top of the world when we went up to Stoodley Pike to take in the views up and down the Pennines. Photo by Tony Clark (honorary Essex boy).

It was beautiful

In September I am very pleased to be hosting a trip for a group of 13 Belgians. I’ve organised a 4 day tour of guided riding starting in Hebden Bridge then heading off to ride in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and finally Gisburn Forest. I think this is going to be a blast and I’m looking forward to the ride as much I’m sure as the guys are.

These are just some of the many visitors who have visited Great Rock courses in Hebden and Gisburn Forest. If I didn’t mention you, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still love you!

This year has also seen more Great Rock riding adventures outside of the UK. It all kicked off with trips to Sospel in the heart of Trans Provence country in the French Maritime Alps. There are 2 weeks coming up in July in N. W. Spain based near San Sebastian in the Basque country, and another week in October, again with Basque MTB in the South Pyrenees. Rather than being intensive skills days like the UK 1 or 2 day courses these trips are a special kind of guided riding holiday, with lots of fun time on the bike, integrated with with short skills sessions along the way.

Get in touch if you want to visit Hebden Bridge. I can tailor a private trip to suit you, or just integrate you into one of the open group courses that run regularly.