After reading a well thought out blog post about how Plymouth was possibly the best Uni Cycling club, I thought a quick article on why the University Of Sheffield Cycling Club IS the best University Cycling Club was due.
As the article mentioned sports clubs and societies play a huge part in your University life, its here where you meet like-minded people, who love to ride as much as you. This year the University of Sheffield Cycling Club has gone from strength to strength, both in racing and within the University. I’m going to follow the same format giving 5 reasons why Sheffield is the place to be!
1. The BEST Location. Period.
Everyone always agrees that where they are has the best riding, or the raddest trails. As a student who has spent too much money on their bike, cars are out of the question, especially when you factor in the Alcohol budget! But as a student the variety of riding on offer is outstanding. Sheffield provides riding straight from the heart of the University, for Road Cyclists, XC’ers, Dirt Jumpers and Downhillers alike.
16 man train down Stanage
For the XCers, within 5 minutes of university accommodation you can be off-road, 15 minutes later you can be in the Peak district, within riding distance of iconic descents such as Stanage Edge, The Beast, Jacobs Ladder and Mam-Tor, to name a few! For a little taster of what is on offer straight out the door, here is a video from the yearly ‘Pizza Hut’ 100km ride around the Peak:
On a downhill bike you are 20 minutes ride from some of the best Downhill runs in the country, at Wharncliffe woods, the training ground for world-cup legend Steve Peat, as well as Josh Lewis and many others.
BMXers/Dirt jumpers are treated to a host of options, with Bolehills BMX/Pump track providing a perfect excuse to get out on the bike after a hard day of being hungover.
On a road bike the winding hilly roads of the Peak district, just 10 minutes out the city, have you covered. The perfect training ground for the UK elite, with Russ and Dean Downing showing how things are done up north.
2. The BEST Club at the BEST University
This year The University of Sheffield Cycling Club won Club of the Year, out of all 47 sports teams run by the (best in the country, voted number 1 for the 4th year running) union, showing that cycling is official where it's at.
The club is one of the biggest, and officially the best at the Uni, and for good reason, the laid back atmosphere within the club allows members of all abilities to push each other's riding forwards. As a club we cater for all abilities, from people who have never ridden before, to Premier Calendar Road Racers, and Top 10 ranking BDS racers.
As a club we plan and lead 6 rides a week for Downhillers, XCers and Roadies, as well as providing the opportunity to come on trips to other riding locations around the UK, and Abroad, as well as racing the British University Championships. One of our recent trips to wales featured in Dirt 131, check it out!
We also host regular mates races throughout the year, from dual slalom to downhill, giving everyone a chance to give it a go!
Within University the club is always one for getting involved, in the past year we have raised over £4000 for charity, and really given it our all as a club, to give our members a time to remember. After the union proposing the idea of a naked calender, made by the sports clubs to raise money for charity, Cycling laid down the gauntlet, showing how it's done.
3. Local Scene
Sheffield has probably the strongest riding scene in the UK, due to the diversity of riding, and people who really care about the sport cycling in Sheffield is getting bigger and bigger, with the addition of Parkwood Springs, an inner-city 2km xc loop, and new trails which have been community funded the future is bright in Sheffield.
The University Club also gets involved in the ThisiSheffield (check them out at www.thisisheffield.com) mates races, with Winter Dual Slalom races, and a summer series, often involving downing a pint after racing a mass start downhill race!
Also to mention is the yearly Peaty’s Steel City Downhill, an amazing event, hosted by the big man himself. Always a great day out, the club gets involved in the 800 people strong crowd providing the biggest crowd for a race outside of Fort Bill.
4. Amazing University
As part of the Red Brick Russell Group of Universities, Sheffield is a University to write home about. Within the club we have a huge majority of Engineers, the sport definitely attracts them. The University of Sheffield ranked in the top 3 for Mechanical Engineering this year, and with a new £95 million pound engineering block being built, it would be stupid not to choose Sheffield!
Within the Club we also have members of staff, two Pro-Vice Chancellors (Big Wigs) of the University often ride with the club, giving members a chance to get a rung above the rest on PHD applications, showing the club caters for your academic needs too!
5. Varsity/BUCS Success
This year the Club has enjoyed well deserved success, both at Varsity (Uni of Sheffield vs Sheffield Hallam) and BUCS.
BUCS races provide the perfect introduction to racing, a party atmosphere shows that even at the top levels, students will be students. But at the end of the day Sheffield have been punching above their weight, winning the Road Race, Hill Climb, 3rd at Cyclocross and 4th at XC, with a number of top 30 riders at Downhill.
During Varsity each year Sheffield University host 5 races against The Poly/The other University/Hallam Scum, who are a sports university at heart, boasting world class training and research facilities. It is a week of showing your true colours, and how much sport means to the students, with big turnouts from both sides. However for the 3rd year running we beat them 5-0, in Downhill, XC, BMX/4x, hill climb and a Time Trail. The 5-0 victory was vital in bringing home the overall varsity title, for the first time in 10 years.
So, there you have it, I hope I’ve managed to give you a bit of an insight into why Sheffield is such a good University for cycling, if you want to keep up with what we get up to, give our facebook page a ‘like’: