Tucked away in the back of Sandown race course is a little piece of mountain bike history. Esher shore has been around since the early days of mountain biking and has been through many incarnations, featuring dirt jumps, then a slope style course and now a pump track.
My first trip to Esher Shore was back in 2006 and to be honest it scared the living daylights out of me and still isn’t top of my favourite riding spots.
The theory of North shore is sound; ride along a trail only a few feet wide but raised off the ground by up to a 1.2 meters. Easy. However in reality getting your head around this takes some practice. Then throw in a few drops and jumps and things begin to get really challenging.
I’m not a great jumper. I can do them, but not that well and going big is just not happening. Drops however are fine for me, but even these are challenging as unnaturally, you have to ride up to go down. What this translates into, is several quick changes of direction that takes a bit of getting used to in order to do smoothly.
Lurching off drops and jumps doesn’t float my boat and getting into a smooth zone is key for me, so I was pleased to feel in the zone when we got to Esher on Monday. There were only two other riders so we had the run of the place.
Unfortunately the new pump track we had heard about was not open, due to all the recent rain; but with all the runs chicken wired, you can ride in any weather. There are two levels at Esher, blue runs and red runs. Blues have no drops, gaps or jumps, the negatives are that there is a fair bit of pedalling uphill through the twisty, narrow sections. Perfect warm up with some fun seesaws and low skinnys chucked in for extra challenges.
Once you find your flow, trails like Middle Earth help you step things up. Higher but less technical, it’s a good progression, taking you down to the lower sections and into the drops and fun wall ride at the end.
New to me was a fun trail made up of tight switch back that we sessioned for a while taking pictures and flying down to the bottom sections.
The true appeal of Esher is that there is something for everyone, the whole site is designed with progression in mind and everyone from beginners to experts are well catered for. Hats off to Rob Cole and the other designers and builders.
Pictures of our day at Esher Shore can be found on Pink Bike.
Check out the Esher Shore website for more information about membership (£20), safety requirements and costs