You may well have seen on To The Trail, I recently spent the day in Scarborough on the bike. It’s somewhere I know really well (or at least I think I do) as I actually went to university there and so spent a happy 3 years of my life in the place. It’s somewhere that will always hold a special place in my heart simply for the memories I’ve made there. It’s not somewhere I would’ve immediately thought of when considering riding destinations, though. This year, Bike Park Wales is on the list; I’ve managed to tick off Coed Y Brenin; there’s another trip to Llandegla on the cards, for MTBMeetup; and a few other places I’ve not ridden before. Scarborough wasn’t even a consideration for the list.
When we couldn’t get to Grenoside for our planned ride a quick fix was needed. In situations where my planned ride is called off, I usually go ride in the local quarry and woodlands nearby, or in Forge Valley woods near Scarborough, but both were not options – we decided there wasn’t enough to keep us busy, or that we’d already ridden there too recently. So we decided to go jib around Scarborough instead. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no trail but I had a pretty decent day all the same.
We simply messed about all day. Stairs and hills made up most of the day’s riding and none of it was particularly challenging or technical, but it certainly got the creative juices flowing when I was looking for lines in an urban environment. I’ve always admired the folk who can simply see lines and think about how they’ll approach them. I’m not too bad when I’m in the woods, but being around paths and concrete was a totally different experience. It certainly got me thinking.
Thankfully, Scarborough is a pretty laid back place and on a weekday is fairly quiet. Avoiding the town centre and other busy parts of the area, we stuck to the cliff gardens at South Bay and admittedly did ride plenty of footpaths. It’s not something I usually do, and would never dream of doing it during peak season, but we certainly didn’t cause any problems at all whilst out, and even got a few nods and smiles from various folk as we rode around.
I can’t say I’m totally sold on the idea of urban MTB. My mind is clear in the trees, and I absolutely love being out in the middle of nowhere with just the sound of the free hub and the birds. However, it certainly made a change and taught me a few things about my own capabilities on the bike. I’m more capable than I think and should push myself a little more when riding in the dirt.
Would I ride towns every week? No. Would I do it again? Certainly, and probably sooner than I think.