What

We're now putting the finishing touches to our schedule for this year's event. Here's what we have lined up:

Rides

A network of brand new National Trust waymarked trails that have never been "officially" used before on the hills above Ramsbottom will be opened exclusively for Northern Grip.

Bikes

Kona, Sonder, Cotic, Scott and Giant are all bringing their very latest demo bike fleets that will be available to book out for test rides. We'll also have the Hope Tech womens team with us who'll be offering advice and running women's rides on the day.

Live Music

Live music will be provided in the hub and up on the hills by Mr Wilson's Second Liners, The East Pointers, Rick Warren and Damien Heakin. If you've not heard of these guys you're in for a treat.

DJs

Manchester's Funkademia club night is providing the DJs throughout the day & night - Graeme Hawley, Pasta Paul & Baz Kirkley will all be on the decks to keep you moving into the small hours.

Food & Drink

Food and drink will be available in the festival hub's courtyard where you can sample our very own Northern Grip Bunny Hop ale brewed exclusively for the festival as well as an array of food will on sale including wood fired pizzas from local heroes The Venetian. Award winning gastropub the Eagle and Child will be serving breakfast to ticketholders on Sunday morning before our closing ride. Out to Lunch have a fab range of food including vegetarian options.

Exhibitors

As well as the bike companies, there'll be a bike setup clinic from Cooksons, as well as Pedal Precision and Shack Wrap showcasing their wares and our headline sponsor Team JMC will be on hand to chat about their sporting club and how you can benefit by getting involved.

Q&A sessions

Inside the hub we have Q&A sessions planned with pro rider Ricky Crompton, Lad & dad cycling duo Rich & Tom Pips, the people behind the new indoor mountain bike centre Dirt Factory and the Hope Tech womens ride team and more. We'll be tackling some of the more controversial subjects in MTB at the moment - come and find out what the experts think.

Film screenings

Throughout the day and evening we'll be screening classic mountain bike films and some new edits from Kona, Alpkit, Ricky Crompton and more. There'll be track stand and other competitions with great prizes up for grabs.

We've also organized an outdoor bike storage area for you to lock your bikes and post ride showers so you can freshen up before you let your hair down.

Most of the action is on Saturday 23rd July, but if you're in town look out for our opening party on Friday night and don't miss breakfast and our big group ride on Sunday morning.

Northern Grip blog

Keep an eye on our blog for more information as it develops.

Where

Ramsbottom. It's rural but not remote. It's got wild spaces but it doesn't take ages to reach. Or get back from. The town's long gone industrial heritage has left a network of tracks and trails all over the adjacent valley sides and fell tops.

Ramsbottom also has a growing reputation as a foodie destination with loads of bars and a wide range of excellent places to eat. We're hooking up with some of the best in the area to keep you fed and watered.

It's a town that thrives on putting on events. Rammy residents love to welcome people to their town. The real mystery is why it's taken so long for there to be a mountain bike festival based here.

Ramsbottom Civic Hall is a handsome 19th Century stone built venue smack in the centre of town. Refurbished inside and out, its rooms are flooded with natural light and full of character - a perfect spot for our Festival Hub.

There are plenty of google-able existing accommodation options in Ramsbottom including small hotels, guesthouses and B&B's. We have a recommended campsite, The Paddock, which is around 10 minutes away https://www.facebook.com/thepaddockramsbottom/ or call them on 07768 700 227

For right-next-door hotel rooms make sure you check out The Grant Arms.

Tickets

Your £25.00 ticket gets you exclusive access to our Festival Hub where the good stuff will be taking place throughout Saturday and first thing Sunday. Limited ticket numbers will be available for this first year event - we want to make sure it's a knock out event that we can build on to be back bigger and even better next year.


To buy tickets for this event please visit our events page: Northern Grip tickets from Skiddle.

Who

Northern Grip is brought to you by a small, very experienced team, all passionate about mountain biking in the North. We are:

David Agnew - director of So It Is: producer of arts and music events including Ramsbottom Festival, The Met and Homegrown Folk Festival.

Benji Haworth - cycling journo, photographer, author and preacher of MTB to anyone who'll listen.

Jamie Scahill - events genius of Funkademia, Skiddle, Friday Food Fight and A-Wing fame.

Ian 'Wellsy' Wells - Ramsbottom MTB group leader and man of the people.

Tom Whitehead - ex pro rider turned local bike evangelist.

Mike Kelly - business advisor and resident team cat herder.

In association with our headline sponsor:


With a shared passion for the joys of mountain biking and the fabulous riding available around Ramsbottom, Team JMC is proud to be the headline sponsor for Northern Grip 2016.

We are really excited about the event and looking forward to hitting the trails, eating cake and drinking beer with everyone.

To learn more about Team JMC visit www.teamjmc.uk

our co-sponsors:







and our generous supporters:

FAQS

Who


What is Northern Grip?

2016 is the inaugural Northern Grip festival, and we have plans to make it an annual event - but you can be there from the start. We have deliberately limited ticket sales for year one to give it an element of exclusivity, and to test what works best. There's more information on our website http://northerngrip.co.uk/

Who are Skiddle?

Skiddle is our professional ticketing agency, they will take your payment and issue your tickets: http://www.skiddle.com

How will the event be managed on the day?

Northern Grip staff will be available throughout the event, supported by an army of volunteers and staff from the exhibitors. Be nice, we're bikers too!



What's On


What's the plan?

There's a summary of event activities on the website. Ticketholders will be issued with a welcome pack the week of the event, setting out more details.

What's happening on the Friday night?

Our launch party! DJs from Manchester nightclub 'Funkademia' will be taking over a secret venue in Ramsbottom, to get the event off in style. The venue will be confirmed to ticket holders only in the week leading up to the event.

What time is everything starting on the Saturday?

Saturday is the main event. The Festival Hub will be open from 10am on the Saturday, right through to 1am in the morning.

What's happening on the Sunday?

Sunday will kick off with a hearty breakfast, free for wristband holders at the Eagle and Child in Ramsbottom 10am. There will then be a long off-road bike ride from there.

What does my ticket price buy me?

Your ticket will gain you access to all three days of the event, and exclusive access to the festival hub where the live music and DJs, food and drink stalls, bike parking, competitions, film screenings, Q&As etc will all be. Oh, and all our exhibitors will be on the hub also - including the bike manufacturers (and their test bikes)

Will there be any competitions?

Yes! Tune in to our social media now and on the day...

Are you on Strava?

Got that covered too: www.strava.com/athletes/northerngrip

Can I send you questions for the speakers?

Yes, we'll be fielding questions on Twitter on the Saturday morning, so get your thinking caps on.

Will there be any vegetarian food available?

Yes, Out to Lunch will have vegetarian options, you can also get vegan food at Lolos opposite who are offering 10% off to wristband holders only

Can I buy Northern Grip merchandise?

You sure can. Alpkit are providing a very limited run of year one Northern Grip branded t-shirts. Been there, done that, got the...



Tickets


How will I get my tickets?

The ticketing agency Skiddle will issue them to you direct to the email address you registered with them.

How do I buy tickets?

Online through our website which will link you directly to Skiddle.

Can I buy tickets on the day?

You will be able to buy online on the day via the website, but for security reasons we will not be accepting cash; we will consider carbon fibre or titanium. We are expecting to sell out before the event however, so you are advised to buy in advance.

Wristband collection?

You will need to exchange your ticket for a wristband upon arrival at Northern Grip. A reception desk will be in the entrance area, and staff will be there to welcome you.

Can I come and go as I please?

Yes, as long as you have your wristband you can enter and leave the festival hub as you please.

Kids allowed?

The under 16 ticket admits 2 under 16's with 1 full paying adult are available free of charge. Secure tickets through Skiddle - link on our website. However, we request that all under 16's vacate the venue by 7pm. The decision of the Festival Director is final. It will be up to the accompanying adult to decide whether the bike rides are suitable for younger riders; more details of rides are below

Pets allowed?

Pets are not allowed within the Civic Hall or its grounds, apart from guide/assistance dogs. There will be parts of the festival hub they are allowed, but we must reserve the right to ask you to remove them if we consider they are causing a problem, for whatever reason. The decision of the Festival Director is final.

Can I get a refund?

We regret we cannot provide refund, the ticket sales are directly funding the event overheads; more details here: https://skiddle.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/22984-can-i-have-a-refund-

My tickets haven't arrived?

Please contact our ticketing agency Skiddle, details above.



Venues


Ramsbottom, what's all the fuss about?

30 minutes from Manchester city centre, and yet home to not only some of the best bike riding around, as well as great places to eat and drink. The town is well-used to hosting festivals, including the Ramsbottom Festival, and the Chocolate Festival, and we expect it will welcome Northern Grip. The town has several banks, supermarkets, restaurants and bars, as well as accommodation and petrol stations. Please treat the town and its people with respect, and be an ambassador for our sport.

Where can I stay?

There are details of the festival campsite on our website, and the Grants Arms public house next to the festival hub has accommodation available (the Grants Arms have been very generous in their support of the festival). Otherwise there are several other hotels and bed and breakfasts within a short distance of Ramsbottom and the larger adjoining town of Bury.

Will there be showers?

There will be showers available during the day on the Saturday, at the Ramsbottom baths: Porritt Way, Ramsbottom BL0 0PT, just a ten minute walk from the Hub. There is a small charge to pay at the baths

Anywhere to store my bike?

There will be an area within the festival hub allocated for bike parking between 10am and 7pm on the Saturday; you will be required to remove your bike by 7pm as the bike parking infrastructure will be removed then. There will be no bike parking area on the Friday and Sunday. You must bring your own lock, and park your bike at your own risk. We cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage to bikes or equipment, and if you cannot accept these terms, then you should make other arrangements. Event staff will remove any bikes left unattended elsewhere on the Festival Hub.

What's the Festival Hub?

The Festival Hub will comprise four zones in and around the Civic Hall: the Civic Hall itself, the outdoor exhibitor tented village, the bike park, and the food patio. Access to these areas will only be permitted with a festival wristband.

Can I drink alcohol at the festival hub?

The indoor areas of the Civic Hall, and the outdoor food patio are licensed. All other areas of the festival hub are not licensed, and security staff will restrict you moving between the zones if you have alcohol.

On-hub food and drink suppliers have paid to be at the event, and that income helps Northern Grip to cover the cost of hosting the festival, and demonstrate investment viability to host Northern Grip again in the future. Therefore please support our on-hub food and drink retailers, and respect our wishes by not bringing your own food and drink in to the hub.

Will Northern Grip provide security?

Security staff will be employed by Northern Grip, with the sole responsibility of keeping good order generally. Security staff are not responsible for the safety of your personal belongings, such as your bike and equipment. Northern Grip cannot accept responsibility for the loss or damage of any personal belongings.

Will there be disabled access to the Festival Hub?

The Civic Hall is DDA compliant; the informal nature of the remainder of the festival hub may present some limitations to access. Please make yourself known to a member of staff if you would like assistance.

How will I find the Festival Hub on the Saturday?

The address of the hub is on our website, and there will be event signage on the Saturday.

Will there be toilets?

There are toilets on the Festival Hub accessible only to parties with wristbands.

Car parking?

There will be no parking available on the Festival Hub. Ramsbottom has several other car parks. Please park in a considerate manner, so that Northern Grip is welcomed to the town again in the future.

Can I get there by public transport?

Metrolink operate a regular tram service from Manchester city centre to Bury, and frequent buses run from Bury to Ramsbottom. You should check in advance whether bikes are permitted on the trams and buses.

How about taxis?

There are several taxi firms in Ramsbottom.

Will there be strobe lighting?

There may well be strobe lighting in the evening.



The Riding


How difficult will the rides be?

Let's be frank: Ramsbottom is situated in the bottom of a valley, with steep sided climbs in all directions. The rides will peak on the moorland plateaus, which will make for technical and difficult riding. Descents will be difficult, particularly so if the weather is poor. These rides will require a good level of fitness and technical ability, and you should come to your own judgement as to whether they are suitable for you, and indeed suitable for any younger people in your care.

Will it be muddy?

Probably.

What to expect from the riding...?

As you would expect, we love our trails around here. They're "natural", often man made, but not from riding - maybe for pack horses, maybe for the now long gone quarry tram system. A lot of them are made made by sheep. What they're not is manicured trail centre routes with carefully graded climbs and nice safe berms on the corners. They can be tough, boggy, rocky and at times surprisingly exposed. If you get out of shape on a descent you can quickly find yourself in a lot of trouble. So take care and don't push your luck if you're riding something for the first time. You may also spot some flood damage on the trails - the Ramsbottom area was badly hit in the floods earlier this year and we've even got a couple of bridges out. Please be aware of this and do your best to minimise further damage.

Are the trails exclusively for bikers?

No. Please be nice and slow right down for any other trail users. In places our trails are busy and very much multi use. There's rarely much tension between users in the area and we'd like to keep it that way please.

We need to talk about "The Rake"...

The Rake is a pretty unavoidable fact of life if you're intending to ride in Rammy. It's short, sharp and brutal - about 25-30% at its peak. On the plus side, a) you'll earn your turns very quickly and b) you can tick off one of the top 100 road climbs in the UK. Worst case, get off and push.

Anything else to be aware of when riding?

There are a couple of road crossings on the trails. Please take extra care here.

Are you leading the rides?

No. We will be providing festival goers details of routes available for them to follow in and around the town, including routes on private land opened up exclusively for the event by our sponsor the National Trust. We are not leading them however, and you take full responsibility for your own riding, as you do when you are in these hills normally outside the event.

When's the race?

There is no racing. Racing is the opposite of what Northern Grip's about

What's the best bike for the local trails?

We're not talking downhill mentalness around here. It's "natural" trails, largely cross country, with some sketchy descents and a few steep climbs. If you're lucky enough to have a choice of bikes, a short travel 29er would be a good call.

Will I need knee pads?

Why not. We would wear them for some of the descents. They're also good for nettles.

Do I need a helmet?

If you don't wear a helmet when riding, you're not welcome at Northern Grip.

Who is liable in the event of an incident?

Emergency access out on the ride routes will be very limited, you should make yourself self-sufficient, and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of others around you. Mountain biking is a dangerous sport, and Northern Grip as an event could not take place if we attempted to take away any risk or danger whilst out riding. Please take care.

First Aid facilities?

In the event of an emergency, call the emergency services. We will do our best to have first aid available, but this cannot be relied on over such a dispersed area.

What should I do in an emergency?

In the event of an emergency, call the emergency services.

Nearest hospital?

The nearest A&E hospital is Fairfield General Hospital, Rochdale Old Road, Bury, BL9 7TD and that is approximately 25 minutes away from the Festival Hub by car. The bike rides will take you away from public roads, so ambulances may not be able to get to you: mountain rescue is also contacted via the 999 channel.

Will there be bike mechanics available?

Our sponsor Cooksons Cycles are bringing along with them workshop facilities, and they will be situated on the festival hub (there will be no mechanic services out on the rides. Cooksons may well be busy, and bear in mind their credit card machines may not be working outside in the festival hub - i.e. bring cash. There are several banks and ATM in Ramsbottom.



Test Bikes


What's this - I can ride new bikes?

Our sponsors Kona, Cotic, and Sonder will all be bringing bikes, and Cooksons cycles will have test bikes from Scott and Giant. Rumour has it there will be some very special kit there...

How do I get my hands on one?

Northern Grip staff will have nothing to do with the bike tests, so don't waste your time asking us. Each exhibitor will be responsible for the management of their own bikes. It's likely to be first come first served. We'd suggest you have with you some form of ID, and a mechanism for paying a deposit.



Further Questions


How do I contact the Northern Grip team?

ride@northerngrip.co.uk or see here for more details

My tickets haven't arrived?

Contact our ticket agency Skiddle, details above.