Exploring the mountain bike trails at Sherwood Pines
I might be a road cyclist at heart but mountain biking has always held a certain appeal for me. Perhaps it’s the fact that there are fewer cars and less pollution or, as with trail running, the challenge is more about tackling tricky terrain than pure speed. So with the weather too wintery to make biking on the road fun, I decided it was time to try out the trails at Sherwood Pines.
Managed by the Forestry Commission, this part of Sherwood Forest is a playground for both adrenaline junkies and those who are looking for something a little more sedate. On a sunny day you will see people swinging from the trees at the Go Ape! adventure course, pootling around on Segways, taking a gentle stroll through the woods and, of course, mountain biking along the network of trails, each graded easy to difficult.
This, however, was a dark, dismal day and as my partner drove us into the car park I began to wish I was curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea. We got out the car and put on a few extra layers just as the rain came pelting down and people began scurrying to their cars, making a swift exit towards warm homes.
Undeterred, we picked up our mountain bikes from Sherwood Pines Cycles, the onsite hire shop, and made our way to the trails, which range from the accessible-to-everyone Family Cycle Route to the extreme Kitchener Trail and Bike Skills Park if you want to perfect your technique. We began with one of the easier routes while we got used to the bikes before moving onto some of the more difficult routes.
I’ll admit that my mountain biking technique left a lot to be desired – but as I negotiated the twists and turns, I had started to think more about my body position on the bike and which gears I should be using.
The trails at Sherwood Pines are a firm favourite with mountain bikers from across the country and I could see why. As well as the technical parts, which include climbs, rocky descents and tree roots, you will also find longer stretches where you can pedal faster and build up speed. Not only that but you are also surrounded by a thick forest of pine trees and when the sun decided to make a brief appearance, the light streamed through them creating a magical feeling.
Hurtling up and down the hills had been a memorable experience and by the time we’d finished we were both covered in mud, from our helmets to our shoes. With darkness about to fall we returned our bikes to the hire shop and returned home, tired but exhilarated; we couldn’t wait to come back!
Sherwood Pines’ trails are free to access (although a car parking charge applies). Bikes are available to hire at Sherwood Pines Cycles. Further details on cycling around Nottinghamshire can be found on our website.