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Howard St Dual – This Saturday

This Saturday sees Sheffield City Centre set alight by torch light and two wheels, the Howard Street Dual returns for its 3rd Year. Bringing the excitement of head to head bike racing right in to the heart of the Outdoor City, taking mountain bikes out of the woods and down our streets to be cheered on by the assembled masses.

Launch - Howard st dual 2019 - Distress 05

The invited riders represent the cream of the local crop including Sheffield’s own Legend Steve Peat, the current Howard Street Champion, as well as many riders from further afield. Brett Penfold, 2017 winner, is back and ready to challenge for the top spot, will he meet Peaty in the final again? German downhill champion, Nina Hoffmann, has flown in especially to race and challenge our lasses, who will fair better on the slick grass corners and steep wooden berms? The talented lads and lasses will put on an amazing show which will be as much fun to watch as it will to take part.

Racing starts at 5pm and will be streamed live on Youtube, presented by Anna Glowinski and Richard Cunynghame. Finals will be around 7pm with the fastest lads and lasses having two chances to make their mark, the fastest combined time taking the win.


On site commentary will be provided by the master, Toby Parodi, a top his tower backed up with beats from Redbulls sound system. With cow bells and noise makers lining the track, the racers will be cheered from top to bottom making it great fun for the whole family and the best hecklers in town. The course makes the most of what Sheffield Hallam University has to offer, starting on its doorstep and sending riders at high speed down Howard St to the train station.

15:00 Course opens for practice
16:15 Seeding/Quali Runs Begin
17:00 Racing Begins
19:00 Finals begin
19:30 Race finishes – Prize giving

In true This is Sheffield style every one of the 60 racers will receive a prize. All our amazingly generous sponsors’ gifts will be piled up and the winners will get the honour of picking first. This year our prizes come from:

  • Hope Technology
  • Leighton Vans
  • Peaty’s Products
  • Cotic Bikes
  • Airdrop Bikes
  • 5:10
  • HKT Products
  • Bike Track
  • Bike Rehab
  • Expert Bike repair
  • Go Outdoors

Like slalom ski racing, riders negotiate a series of gates pitting themselves against each other and the clock in a head to head knock out format. The course has a stack of great features sendable by the best and rollable by all. It starts down a long set of stairs before kicking left in to a set of four custom built rollers across hallam square. The best will double these up or manual through the whole set. This sets up the riders for a big wooden kicker up on to a unique set of downhill grass rollers with two tight flagged corners. The riders are then spat out on a set of stairs or a custom ramp straight in to Chaos corner, a hard 180 degree bermed corner through street furniture. The riders then face a series of flat grass corners which will test their cornering skills and speed. They are split by a wooden booter where the fast ones will be trying to keep it low and fast. After an awkward right hander the racers drop in to the FML fade, the final feature, a steep grassy bank which will accelerate them across the finishing line. For the best, this will be about 30 seconds.

It will be a great time to be in Sheffield with so much going on for the Outdoor City Festival; the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, the Big Running Weekend and The Magnificent Seven anti-enduro road race on the Sunday, another great spectator sport if you like you riders in lycra. However, don’t forget to come and show us your love of two wheels and displays of amazing skill down on Howard street this Saturday.


The Rules of Dual

The format of the day is a round of qualification followed by head to head racing.

Dual Slalom is an elbow to elbow, knockout race format.

Each pair of riders will race twice, once in each lane negotiating the obstacles.

The rider with the fastest combined time will move through to the next round.

Riders are seeded so that the slowest faces the fastest in the first round.

They are ordered so the fastest two seeded riders won’t meet until the finals.

Qualification is decided by the fastest times set during a solo run in one lane.

Riders will have to qualify, there are 32 places for the lads, 16 for the lasses.

If a rider falls, their time becomes that of their opponents plus 1.5 seconds. This gives them a chance for a comeback.

There is a round of 32, then 16, the quarter finals with 8 riders, and semi finals with 4.

Dual Layout - Black-min

The winners of the semis meet in the big final, the losers race for 3rd place in the small final.

If a rider misses a gate they are penalised by 25 seconds.

The top 3 riders will receive a medal

All riders will receive a prize from our kinds sponsors. They are all put in to a pile and the winners get to pick first.

A Short history of Sheffield’s MTB Scene

A Short history of Sheffield’s MTB Scene

I was very pleased to be asked to write a piece for Redbull/bike to promote Sheffield and the Howard Street Dual. I’m a massive fan and very thankful for their coverage of the Downhill world Cup, literally the only sport I watch on TV. They wanted a potted history of the Sheffield Bike scene in 600 words, from mates races to the howard st dual, what follows is my first go. I wrote a more in-depth piece years ago for Dirt working with Grant Robinson to document what was going on in with bikes in sheffield in 2011.

All images Sam McQueen  unless specified


A short history of the Sheffield MTB scene – from mates races to the Howard Street Dual

Mates Races

I’ve been running mates races around Sheffield for a many years. It started back on a misty November weekend on a DH track me and my mates used to session. We met up with a stopwatch and a pair of mobile phones, that’s literally all it took. Everyone loved it and wanted to do it again and from there, things grew quickly. The 4th time we ran the race 40 people entered including one world cup champion. From this acorn spawned the This is Sheffield winter dual slalom series which has been running since 2010 and countless ridiculous ideas for races which just had to be made reality: Megadeath, TryAwfulOn, Two pint time trial, Hardcore Hartails, Mini Bike jousting, Gravity racers, Special Olympics, the list goes on. In the city the dual mates racing ethos goes way back to the late nineties at the Sheffield Ski Village with the legendary Iron Justice. What’s brought it together are a group of likeminded souls (mountain bikers) and the opportunities (radness) Sheffield offers to ride our bikes on all kinds of different terrain.

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SS16-01: Baybutt Memorial Gravity Race

SS16-01: Baybutt Memorial Gravity Race

After a year’s hiatus I cannot tell you how good it was to blow the dust off the summer series and get the crew back together. Although short, this series will be perfectly formed and was kicked off in style; The Baybutt Memorial Gravity race. This is so named as Richard Baybutt was so inspired by the first time he raced Grav Bikes that he has dedicated far too many hours, called in many favours (big up Matt Bowns!) and came out with his own dedicated UberRad gravity bike. He just needed a race to prove his worth.

A photo posted by Baybutt (@baybutt) on

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Cam Zinc’s Reach for the Sky – UK premiere

Cam Zinc’s Reach for the Sky – UK premiere


You’ve got to love the Hook it boys. Three local Sheffield lads making waves in the bike industry with there no nonsense Yorkshire attitude and top quality products.

Like this première for example. Sheffield hosting another exclusive off the back of them distributing Cam Zinc’s own rubber creations… well in boys.

They’re taking over Sheffield University’s auditorium (its on the bottom floor of the students union) to show Zinc’s new flick ‘Reach for the sky’. Having seen what Cam is capable of over the past few years there is no doubt that this will be one hell of spectacle. Its his life story in cinematic glory with interviews and archive footage brought to life with carefully woven narrative.

Hook It will spice up the night with prize give aways and a raffle. Its #ZincandDrink so the Interval bar will be the place to start. If you get your beer in a plastic cup, you can take them in with you. Genius!

Tickets are available through the unions own website so get your tickets before they get gone. Check out level 2 on this map to find out where to go. Graves entrance for beer, East entrance for the auditorium cinema.


Ladies Aline Coaching Session

Abi Legge is the better half of our own Ruari Hallam. Here she reports back on taking the plunge with Sheffield’s finest mountain bike coach. 

Our first Women’s-only event of the year was a sold-out mountain-bike coaching session with Sheffield’s pro-coach JJ* from ALine Coaching. Due to the bespoke nature of the course, it meant that each rider took away new techniques to improve their riding and boost confidence for when tackling challenging Peak terrain. As usual, sorry for the lack of pics – we were too busy having fun!

Abi, Becka, Charlie, Lizzie, Sophie, Dani, JJ

Abi, Becka, Charlie, Lizzie, Sophie, Dani, JJ

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The power of bicyles

We all love bikes. Sometimes they are more than fun, transport or pleasure.

As an orphan living with her grandmother in Zambia, 12-year-old Tamara has a simple life, but not an easy one. While the sun rises, she builds a fire, fetches water, washes clothes and prepares breakfast before making the 2.5 mile walk to school. This year, Tamara received a Buffalo Bicycle along with 100 other students and teachers at Kabulonga Primary School. Now she can get to school more easily and safely, saving valuable time and energy ready to learn and build a future.  Watch what a bicycles means to Tamara in our new video

 It costs just £95 to put a bicycle into the hands of a school child like Tamara so for the price of new set of tyres you give a Buffalo Bicycle this Christmas and change a life. Not only that but anything you can give before the end of the year will be matched. Find out more at

 Started in 2005 by F.K. Day, Vice President of SRAM, World Bicycle Relief’s mission is to provide sustainable, durable bicycles to individuals and communities in places where a lack of transport means that education, healthcare and economic opportunity and livelihood is often out of reach. The Buffalo Bicycle used by WBR is the result of many years of product development and field testing and is strong, durable and simple to repair as well as being compatible with locally available spare parts. The Buffalo isn’t just a bike, it’s a tool for cultural and economic empowerment.

 In October of this year World Bicycle Relief distributed its 200,000th bicycle. Each one of those bikes represents a life changing new beginning for a school child, a healthcare worker or an entrepreneur who can now travel further, save time and carry heavy loads. This major milestone is all thanks to our incredible supporters and together we’ve been able to mobilise people in the world’s poorest communities who rely on bikes to get to school, receive healthcare and build their livelihoods.

Thank you for sharing the Power of Bicycles

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