James Allen

- Tell us a little about yourself...
Physical Education / Outdoor Education teacher.
Father of 2.
Outdoor enthusiast: Climbing, mountain biking and hill walking since early 90s.
Mountain leader.
MTB leader.
Road racing cyclist.
Member of Sheffrec CC.
Ironman Triathlete.
Author of two cycling books: 50 Classic Cycle Climbs: Yorkshire & Peak District and 50 Classic Cycle Climbs: Cumbria & Lake District.

- Where's your favourite outdoor spot in Sheffield?
Wharncliffe Crags, Agden Reservoir, Win Hill Summit, Northern edge of Kinder Scout plateau, Slippery Stones (Howden Reservoir), Derwent Edge, Ewden Valley, Wyming Brook.

- What, for you, makes Sheffield the ideal "Outdoor City"?
There is no doubt in my mind that my own outlook on life has been formed because I was born and bred in Sheffield. Growing up, the outdoors and green spaces were always so easily accessible allowing so many outlets for a teenager’s thirst for adventure and exploration. In the early 90’s I bought my first Falcon Mountain Bike from Langsett Cycles then almost immediately headed off to explore Rivelin, Wyming Brook and Wharncliffe. From Firth Park in the north of the city I could cycle into the countryside within half an hour. I also loved to hop on the bus or train to the Dark Peak seeking freedom and wilderness as I climbed and walked around Stanage, Burbage and Edale. Now, as a PE teacher, I’m lucky to take students to the same countryside on the fringe of Sheffield introducing them to the fabulous green space on their door step. Most of the locations I use are literally within walking distance of the classroom or, at most, a short minibus ride away.

I now spend a lot of time road cycling and I have been lucky enough to write a book about the best cycling climbs in Yorkshire and the Peak District. The process of compiling the book left me in no doubt that we live in a special area for cycling. The network of quiet lanes close to Sheffield is comparatively dense and varied so that you could probably ride a different route for every day of the year. The views and terrain are equally diverse with the lofty National Park landscape to the west, quieter rolling Yorkshire hills to the north and flatter plains to the east. Sheffield is the perfect cycling hub and outdoor mecca. I thank my lucky stars I was born here.