Updated: Nov 24, 2021
There are some great beginners trails under the beech trees between Sheddocksley and Kingswell. They are ideal for practising pumping and riding rough terrain. It gets tougher around Elrick Hill.
I have started this description on the track leading west, just to the north of the Sheddocksley Sport Centre, but the loop is easily reached from Kingswells, Bucksburn and the south of the city via Maidencraig as in last week's post. Head out along the back of the houses until you reach a t-junction and signpost. On your right, you can see the high points for the whole ride. So to get your bearings, look out for the church at Newhills and Tyrebagger Woods beyond. At the t-junction turn right down a path under a line of beech trees. I love this type of trail; they have a gentle gradient, rooty sections and often stay dry. Watch out though, because there are a few tight squeezes between boulders.
This terrain is great for applying a technique called pumping. Pumping is the difference between riding on a bike and "proper" mountain biking - you really separate the movement of your bike and body. Stand with your all your weight through the pedals, take your weight off your saddle and have a light grip on the handlebars. Hinge at the hips, knees and ankles to keep your weight on your pedals as you pass over undulations in the trail. Move your bike back and fore, pivoting about your pedals. Eventually, you'll be able to weight and un-weight your bike, with spring at the hips, knees and ankles, to flow over lumps and bumps in the trail.
Enjoy the run down to the Bucks Burn, cross the stream and head right-ish until the well-made path joins a farm track. Follow this uphill to the road by the church. This passes through a working farm, with working dogs normally in kennels, so keep an eye-out. Cross Newmills Road, behind the church, then cut along a path to the main road and bridge over the AWPR. A kilometer of road riding brings you to Craibstone Golf Course. There is an alternative here. If the rooty riding was not for you, take a right and follow it all the way through the golf club, left on the road, and then take the track back into the woods opposite the chemical factory. If you are on for more beech-tree-path riding, follow the road around to a signed path just before the Brimmond Hill car park. Take the path round to the left, at the edge of the golf course, into Tyrebagger Woods. There is a steep drop towards a burn, that is best avoided by following a high line marked by yellow posts.
There are loads of great trails in these woods, so pick your route to get to the the main car park (the red marked trail will get you there). The forest has areas of Beech and Douglas Firs that both make for great riding. The Douglas Firs are native to North West Canada, and were brought to the UK in 1827 by David Douglas, a prolific scottish botanist and plant collector. The Douglas Firs shelter smooth, dry and rolling trails, again great for pumping practice. Take your time to explore because there is a sculpture trail and a cave.
Follow the red-blue marked trail south from the carpark to a stream crossing, footbridge and sign post for Elrick Hill. This next part of the route, around Elrick Hill, is more challenging, so alternatives are to either take the road from Tyrebagger car park under Brimmond Hill, or continue on the red-blue path to the stream crossing with yellow markers and golf course path. The Elrick Hill circular route has technical climbing and flat sections, and is great fun. Just follow the signs, around the hill, back to the burn crossing and golf course path to the road.
If you're still going strong then go over Brimmond Hill by reversing the route from last week's post. My recommended route from here is west along the road, then left under Brimmond Hill for about 2.5km.. After passing the western Brimmond Hill Carpark, take the gate and farm track on the left (if you get to Borrowstone Mill on the right you've gone to far). Follow this, through the quarry, back to the bridge over the AWPR. Drop down into Kingswells, cross the main road onto Kingswood Drive and then take the footpath that forks left up the hill as the road swings right. More beech-wood path to the top of the hill, which becomes a farm track. Head straight on past the farms, until a t-junction. Turn left to head back to the outbound route from Sheddocksley.
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