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.



New Stop Crashing 1

I’ve just started to offer a new, additional location for the Stop Crashing level 1 course. This combines riding the man made trails at Hurstwood and the natural trails of Hebden Bridge. I’ve been running this course at Gisburn Forest trail centre for over 3 years and will continue to run courses there as well as at the new venue. The new course starts with a morning on the flowy  blue grade trails at Hurstwood near Burnley, which is a 20 minute drive from Hebden Bridge. We start by looking at good body position on the bike, both whilst doing  trackstands as well as when cornering. Hurstwood has lots of rollers and berms and is an excellent place for learning and progressing skills.


We drive over to Hebden Bridge for a cafe lunch and then head out onto rocky natural trails. Here we develop the skills of weighting and unweighting the bike for a smoother, more controlled and faster ride. We also look at good braking technique, line choice and other essentials.

Rocky trails

It has been known that we end the day with a pint.

mmmm beer

Check the Stop Crashing tab under Courses above for dates.

Hebden Bridge 1 to 1 mountain bike skills day

Cracking (and that was just his carbon bars) write up by Alan of his 1 to 1 skills day with me today in Hebden Bridge. Just click on the text below to go to Alan’s Blog and read the full story.

Learning to ride a bike…

Well, I’ve finally got round to using my 40th Birthday present from lots of you kind folks – a one-to-one tuition day with Ed Oxley of Great Rock fame.Although I can ride fast and ride all day, cornering / balance and moving weight forward and backwards over rocky terrain is something I’m just not as good at compared to other riders, so that’s really what I wanted to improve on with Ed.

It was about a 2 and a half hour drive north this morning which made a really pleasant change to half an hour south every other morning.  There’s something about heading North – especially to Calderdale and Hebden Bridge – that feels so much more right than heading south.

I know Hebden Bridge quite well having done some fell running there, some adventure racing, some mountain biking and of course the Mary Towneley Loop passes right through it.  It’s a lovely small quiet town which is bustling with unusual shops and boutiques and loads of cafes more importantly !

We met up 10ish at Blazing Saddles. Ed’s a really relaxed guy so that made it easy for me. I think me having a lot to learn made it easy for Ed too !

Alpine Prep: Hebden Bridge Mountain Biking

I’ve been running this course all through the spring and due to it’s popularity will continue to offer dates into summer. Hebden Bridge has great trails which make an unrivalled location to develop the skills you’ll need if you’re heading out for a big mountain mountain biking holiday. It’s also a great course to hone your skills for riding technical UK natural mountain bike trails.

We’ve been riding steep rocky trails, steps, drop offs, switchbacks and learning how to weight and unweight the bike. Learning to do a proper bunny hop is an invaluable trail riding skill and this is at the core of this course.

We’ve got some of the best riding in the country here and it’s been great fun running these courses for me. We also have top notch cafes to have lunch in and a brilliant mountain biker friendly pub in which to stage the ultimate debrief.