Bolehills BMX is a track for everyone: “It’s not about the bike, it’s about the rider”

Written by Nuria Mateus

The popularity of Bolehills BMX track skyrocketed after BBC coverage last week, with bikers and residents eager to see its new renovations.

The recent buzz around the track helped the volunteers who take care of it with their campaign to raise money to improve the site.

Ben, a 16-year-old BMXer and frequent visitor to the track, said: “I think they could extend it a bit more. Just to over that bit, but it’s good for all ages, it is really good capability for people.

“It’s just fun, you just get like exhilaration out of doing the jumps and it’s just something to do to get out of the house, rather than being stuck in and just get some exercise.

“All my friends do it and they got me into it. It’s quite near my house and I’ve been coming for quite a few years, but since lockdown it is getting really busy. It’s quite special, because it used to be completely different. It used to be a BMX racing track. It has all changed”.

On their website, the Sheffield Dirt Society, responsible for the improvements, said they are planning on building a pumptrack extension on the unused space. They also plan to use dirt to provide “a safe and smooth ride and easier and cheaper maintenance”.

However, not only riders use the space, and for Sheffield residents who prefer more relaxed activities there is more that could be done.

Cindy, a 26-year-old resident, said: “I think it is good for people to come here and use the site for the bicycles and everything but it is not good if you want to walk your dog, for example. There has been a couple of occasions where…my dog didn’t do it, but another dog just ran towards the area because it’s quite open, there’s no barrier or anything.

“I think if they have some sort of barrier here, where, for example, pedestrians or dogs wouldn’t go easily to the other side. That would be the biggest improvement”.

Seb, 47, visits frequently with his children and is very happy with how the site is managed, but said he has had a few concerns about the trees.

“I walk the dog here everyday and the BMX track is important because my kids go there and I sometimes ride there as well, not so much these days, but it’s brilliant, a really important space,” he said.

“It looks to me like they are doing a great job on keeping it in good shape. I was a little worried about the trees that they planted here, only because when my children were younger, they would both play on the track and I would worry about not being able to hang back here with the dog and keep an eye on the kids, so if you have a lot of trees there, that it kind of makes a barrier. That’s the only thing.”

Bolehills track carries many memories, which its visitors hope the redevelopment will retain, even if some are less than pleasant.

“One time I came down here quite fast and I went up to this ramp and I went over it. I was trying to do a transition from the sides and I went straight over and just slid right over. That was quite a bad experience here”, said Ben.

With different parts for all kinds of riders, the track is divided into sections, some easier, some a bit more advanced. The pumptrack in the middle is most suited to novice riders, because it offers a place for people to develop their pumping skills before attempting the bigger jumps.

Ben urges everyone to try the course: “Definitely try it! One hundred percent. It doesn’t matter what bike you got it is always going to be good. If your bike is bad, if it is good, you can still do the same thing. It’s not about the bike, it’s about the rider”.

If you would like to contribute to the renovations go their website and make a donation.

Written by Nuria Mateus

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