Volunteers put Dalby on track for cycle trails

� Tony Bartholomew. Ian Dowkes, one of a team of volunteers and biking enthusiasts working on the mountain bike trails in Dalby Forest.
� Tony Bartholomew. Ian Dowkes, one of a team of volunteers and biking enthusiasts working on the mountain bike trails in Dalby Forest.
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A team of volunteers have been helping to secure the future of mountain biking at Dalby Forest.

The forest near Pickering has come a long way since Ian Dowkes, 65, leapt on his bike and followed deer tracks through the trees to try a new sport called mountain biking.

Now 25 years later Mr Dowkes, from West Ayton, is helping to maintain the 3,440 hectare off road trail network.

He is one of an eager band of volunteers who have come together to re-establish a thriving branch of the Singletraction trail building group working with the Forestry Commission.

Off road fans meet on the third Sunday of the month, and more recruits are being sought.

Stuart Startup, Forestry Commission bike ranger, said: “We have invested about £500,000 in professionally built trails over recent years, but bikers have always played a big part in developments at Dalby. Trail building sessions help us repair sections of trail or add features and improve the flow of routes.”

Dalby Forest attracts more than 100,000 bikers annually and has hosted two rounds of the UCI World Cup Cross Country Mountain Bike Championship.

Volunteers attending more than four trail building sessions are granted a free Discovery Pass by the Forestry Commission allowing free all-year round access to Dalby Forest.

Trail building sessions meet at 9am in the Tree Tops café at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre.