Steve bids to get mountain biking on track in city

WORLD champion mountain biker Steve Peat has his sights set on a prize closer to home – creating a track at Parkwood Springs in Sheffield.

He is working with the council with a view to using land next to the ski village, tapping into the enthusiasm for the sport in the city.

"It will be unique to have a city centre location for mountain biking," said Steve, who has become the most successful downhill mountain biker of all time.

"At first there will be one intermediate trail, then we are planning a lot of add-ons to make it a lot bigger and with harder areas.

"We have been there, mapping out where it is going to go. There are a lot of great features."

Steve, aged 35, who lives in Wortley, said there was huge interest in mountain biking in Sheffield, with enthusiasts taking advantage of the city's seven hills.

The former Ecclesfield Secondary pupil believes the addition of a track on the hillside at Parkwood Springs will confirm Sheffield's reputation across the country. Already his annual 'Wharncliffe Weekender' events in aid of Weston Park Hospital attract riders from outside the region.

Details of the Parkwood Spring project are being firmed up. "It is going through the funding process and we are working closely with the council's parks and countryside unit. Sport England are backing the bid really well."

It is hoped that construction can start in the summer and be completed by early next year.

The close involvement of Steve Peat will be a significant spur. Over a 15-year career he has won the World Cup series three times and will this year defend the World Champion status he won in September in Australia.

He goes to South Africa in March for training before going to America in April.

Meanwhile the mountain biker has been setting the pace for students in Sheffield.

He has launched a 'Beat Peat' competition in which pupils at 19 schools are being challenged to compete against him in a virtual bike race over half a mile.

Steve set the benchmark at Meynell Primary School, Southey Green.

He said: "I have always encouraged young people to get into this great sport, so to be involved in this way is a big bonus for me. The more young people get on their bikes at an early age, the better it is in my eyes."

The 'bike it' project is backed by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans and the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, which is due to open a shop in Broadfield Road in March.

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