Rewind – at the end of February a post appeared on my Facebook page about a sporteering event in Sheffield as part of The Outdoor Weekend. It sounded great – a virtual treasure hunt by bike, exploring my home town. Having sounded out my other half and my 14 year old daughter, I was ready to book. Unfortunately work then got in the way and I didn’t get round to booking. And then the snow came!
And I held off booking, concerned about spending close to £50 for the now expanded group of four (including Cat’s 14 yo best friend) only to find that when it came to it, awful weather (or the complaints about it) would spoil the day.
Fast forward to the day before the event and I asked Polaris if you could register on the day.
Natalie from Sporteering replied, saying that the event had been postponed earlier in the week but offered us the chance to test the route, for free, at any stage over the weekend so here we are. To be clear, although I didn’t tell Natalie (sorry, Natalie) with two 14 year olds in tow (neither of whom are keen cyclists) we were never going to cover the whole course – and even without them I would have struggled with some of the further flung points within the four hour time frame.
Before we set out we worked out which controls we were aiming for – part of that was driven by a desire to avoid cycling on major roads with the girls where possible – and to avoid long climbs. So we planned a start from Lady Canning’s Plantation down through Ringinglow and Forge Dam and then into town.
It was great, we saw parts of Sheffield we wouldn’t normally see. The app worked brilliantly – the map clearly shows the locations of the controls and when you get there you can scan a QR code or the GPS code. The app also keeps the pressure on, telling you have long you have left, providing impetus to keep moving.
The number and locations of the controls would still challenge much fitter cyclists, as there’s a lot of ground to cover.
I’d highly recommend trying Polaris’s sporteering – we’ll certainly be looking out for more events. But next time we might leave the kids behind!
The Cooney Family