CYCLISTS can now enjoy two new tracks against the backdrop of one of the most iconic views in North Yorkshire.
The all-weather cycling tracks have been created at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre in the North York Moors National Park.
The new facilities include a mountain bike pump track with a loop of banked turns and rollers; and a family-friendly cycle trail that will double as a cyclocross course for some competitive events.
Both the pump track and the provision of a permanent cyclocross course are thought to be the first facilities of their kind in North Yorkshire.
They will further underline the North York Moors National Park’s strength as a cycling destination, particularly by providing facilities that can be used throughout the year.
The 330-metre pump track, so-called because riders can use the momentum of the undulations and banked turns to build up speed without pedalling, has been designed by specialists to help mountain bikers improve their skills while having fun.
In keeping with the natural forest surroundings, a wildflower meadow is also being created in the middle of the pumptrack while special turtle dove friendly seed mix will be sown on its outer edge.
The family cycle trail has been designed as a 2.5km figure-of-eight through woodland.
It will act as a longer and wider start to the existing Cliff Trail so that families can ride side-by-side through the forest, as well as providing better access for disabled cyclists who are using hand crank cycles.
Riders will have the choice of riding gently along the track or more adventurously, by picking out features such as jumps and banked corners.
During the cyclocross season throughout autumn and winter, Sutton Bank Bikes will work with British Cycling to stage a Cyclocross series, providing a much-needed permanent venue for a cycling discipline which is growing in popularity.
The course will also be an integral part of a gravel bike series as well as forming part of the route for the popular Top of the Rock, Sutton Banks’ successful annual gravel event.
There are also plans to hold time trial events for older children next spring.
To complete a day out, all cyclists will have the opportunity to refuel and relax afterwards sitting in front of the log burner at the revamped Park Life Café at Sutton Bank.
Sutton Bank Bikes is part of the National Park’s cycling friendly scheme which was launched in 2019.
It comprises a network of businesses, including shops, bike hire and repair locations, cafés, accommodation and pubs that are all geared up to cater for and support cyclists travelling across the National Park.
Michael Graham, Director of Park Services for the North York Moors National Park explains: “While more people are increasingly aware of the great variety of road and off-road cycling we have across the National Park, we knew there was a demand for tracks that can be ridden right throughout the year.
“Both tracks are designed with fun in mind and will be a fantastic starting point for people before they venture out onto trails leading further into the National Park.
“Sutton Bank’s elevated position offers beautiful natural surroundings and in the words of famous vet James Herriot: ‘the finest view in England’ so it made sense to make more of the space surrounding the existing visitor facilities with these dedicated cycling tracks.”
The tracks have been developed by the National Park with funding from The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
As part of the development plans at Sutton Bank, the National Park is also planning to open a new nature hub and dark skies observatory in November.