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Because of its popularity there are probably many of you rolling your eyes at the obviousness of a Classic Ride here. But there are no apologies to be made. The Peak District is popular and classics are classic for a reason. Plus, despite so many people having ridden here, either on occasion or regularly, there are many who have not done so at all. So, if not for you seasoned Peak riders, this is for those who, by some fate, haven’t yet experienced the lure of the Dark Peak.

When it comes to the most classic of Peak District riding, the Dark Peak has superiority over the White. The Dark Peak’s hard, coarse gritstone edges give the area an epic feel. It’s grippy and well-draining, which makes most of it rideable even in the wet winter months. What makes for great grip also makes for tough love for drivetrains, so carrying a small bottle of emergency lube on a wet day is a wise plan. In contrast to the Dark Peak gritstone, the limestone of the White Peak offers more gentle undulations and on occasion, a lot more mud.

Nearly everyone got the ‘bright colours’ memo then...

Riding and writing a classic ride in such a popular area comes with the added challenge of needing to get the details absolutely right. To share this burden of editorial responsibility I co-opted local experts JP and Matt to ride alongside my regular riding compatriots, Ant and Neil. JP’s ALine Coaching works with Bike Garage in Bamford to offer guiding in the area and Matt Bowns hails from 18 Bikes in Hope, Singletrack readers’ favourite local bike shop. To make sure the trails and our riding prowess were captured in the best possible light, Barney and his camera made up our riding party for the day.

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Southern nights, endless trails: Rickie Cotter's truly epic trip down the length of New Zealand, complete with beautiful watercolour illustrations by Beate Kubitz. UK Adventure: Be careful what you wish for…" We nearly broke our editor while riding some of the Howgill Fells remotest singletrack. Classic Ride: The Dark Peak: The riding around Hope Cross in the Dark Peak is definitely on the ‘must do’ lists for every UK mountain biker. It's a Classic Ride for a reason. Not ridden it for a while? NEVER ridden it? Then you need to get yourself to the Peaks... Grouptest: GPS Units: David Hayward puts six GPS units through torture to see which is the best for trail use, mapping, Strava and finding yourself again. Bike Test: Proper mountain, mountain bikes: Barney looks at three 160mm bikes from Focus, Scott and Specialized designed to get you up the big hills and back down again with fun and style. Racehead: Scotland the awesome. TweedLove and the Fort William World Cup are proof of Scotland’s superiority over all - at least for a month every summer. Last Word: A question of perception. Tom Hutton and Matt Letch go head to head in discussing how mountain biking needs to be presented to the wider world if we’re to increase (or even defend) our trail access. And, as they say, much much more: Product reviews, columns, tests and random burblings for all!