The Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison, and UCI Downhill World Champion, Steve Peat, recently launched Scotland’s first framework for the sustainable development of mountain biking, at Bannerman High School in Glasgow.
Created by the Scottish Mountain Bike Development Consortium (SMBDC) the framework aims to build on the growth and success of mountain biking in Scotland by continuing to increase the visitor numbers to Scotland, grow the number of Scots participating in the activity and develop and support Scots to win medals in national and international competitions.
Over the past 20 years, mountain biking has become established as a major sport and recreational pursuit in Scotland and the country has proved itself as a world-class venue for the activity. In addition to purpose built trail facilities such as 7stanes which attracts 400,000 visits a year, there are extensive opportunities for mountain biking throughout Scotland on the network of natural paths and tracks, and with around 11.8 million people in the UK owning a mountain bike, it is already a popular way of getting out and exploring the outdoors. Scotland’s stunning scenery, accessible countryside and world class routes also attract a high number of visitors from all over the world. The UK Tourism Survey found that 108,000 trips in Scotland in 2006 involved mountain biking, which rose to 197,000 in 2007.
Host to both the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships, which attract vast crowds of approximately 20,000 and world-wide TV audiences and with the event being voted the ‘mountain biking event of the year’ by IMTTO for 4 of the last 5 years, it is clear Scotland is at the international forefront of mountain biking.
Against this background of progress and success, key national agencies worked together to plan how best to sustain and grow mountain biking in Scotland in a way which provides optimum and quantifiable returns in terms of participation in mountain biking, economic and tourism development and also in terms of public participation and sporting development and success. This has been seen by the agencies as a unique opportunity to build on a fantastic Scottish success story.
Chairman of the SMBDC, Brian Porteus explains: “Being recognised as one of the best destinations in the world for mountain biking means we already have a great story to tell and the Framework brings together the key stakeholders so that we can build on this reputation and maximise the benefits to Scotland.”
The Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison said, “This framework is an excellent example of public sector agencies working together with private and voluntary organisations to develop an activity in which Scotland is regarded as a world leader.
“Mountain biking already contributes a vast amount to Scotland offering opportunities for participation in sport, encouraging visitors to rural areas, attracting world class events and producing talented athletes.
“Delivering the framework will ensure that mountain biking is well placed to build on this effort and play its part in creating an Active Nation as we build up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games here in Glasgow.”
A three year programme to take the Framework forward is being funded by SMBDC members SNH, sportscotland, Scottish Enterprise, FCS and CTC.
Andrew Bachell, Operations Director for Scottish Natural Heritage said: “The after-school mountain biking club at Bannerman is a great example of how the Framework wishes to see a broadening of those involved in mountain biking. It’s a great activity for all ages and abilities, and especially for young people and there are loads of places close to home where families can have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Co-ordinating the development and promotion of sites and route networks at a regional scale – through Development Clusters – is something else the Framework will encourage as a way to make sure opportunities for mountain biking are planned with sustainability in mind.”
Steve Peat: “It is superb to be out in school grounds riding a mountain bike. I am excited that the sport in Scotland is looking to promote these kinds of opportunities and establish mountain biking as a sport for all in Scotland. I love coming to Scotland to ride with its stunning scenery and mind-blowing variety of trails and mountain bike facilities; it is a perfect place to be on your bike.”
To read the Sustainable Development of Mountain Biking – a National Strategic Framework, please visit www.scottishmountainbikeframework.org