Wash Your Bike, Save Tweedlove Trees And Trails

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Tweedlove organisers have issued a statement urging riders to clean their bikes and kit before and after riding in the Innerleithen area, following the discovery of a disease which kills larch trees and will necessitate the felling of many trees in the area.

Tweedlove wouldn’t be quite the same without the trees.

We’ve heard from Forest Enterprise Scotland that the horrible tree disease we’ve all been dreading has reached Innerleithen’s Traquair forest. It likely means that a lot of trees will come down (which may or may not have impact on trails – as yet unclear) but the big thing for now is that we need to stop this going any further – it’s VERY important so PLEASE DO THIS.

  • Before coming to the forest, make sure your bike, shoes, kit and dog are all clean.
  • You must clean your bike after practice on Saturday, and after racing on Sunday.
  • There is a free bike wash at Icycles on both days if you have your number board on your bike. There is also a free bike wash at Glentress Peel car park.

Here’s the word from the folk at Forest Enterprise Scotland:

It’s great to welcome everyone to the Tweed valley and we hope all competitors have a great time riding the trails this weekend. However, we’d like you all to be aware that we are dealing with the P Ramorum tree disease in the Tweed Valley so as a preventative measure please can you clean your bikes before you arrive and before you leave to help prevent the spread of the disease.

What about riders’ clothes?

Yes they should be cleaned as well/will carry the disease also – It’s difficult to expect bikers to clean kit Saturday to Sunday – but as long as they understand that they need to clean their kit before heading to the next destination or arrive with clean kit etc.

What is the disease?

Phytophthora ramorum, or P. Ramorum for short, is a disease that affects a number of shrubs and which also kills larch trees.

Larch trees are an important species for timber but also a very common sight in our Scottish landscapes and on the National Forest Estate.. (They’re the ones that make the valley forests glow orange in the autumn. – Ed)

The disease has been present in Scotland for many years and whilst we can’t eliminate the disease entirely, we can slow the rate of its spread by felling the infected trees, and those around them, as quickly as possible.

Because P. Ramorum spores can be spread from tree to tree on footwear, dogs’ paws, tools, equipment and bicycle and other vehicle wheels, we can also help slow the rate of spread by taking a few minutes to ‘Keep it Clean’ and making sure that we don’t bring mud or debris from one forest into another.

If the concern is more about folk leaving here with the germs, is there equal concern about folk coming from elsewhere too?

Yep they should bring clean bikes and clean gear – because if they’ve been riding at Ae for example where there is a big area affected by PR then they come here with a dirty bike there is every chance they will spread the disease.

It’s a timely reminder to us all that cleaning our bikes is about more than just prolonging the life of our drivetrains. Singletrack Magazine was launched during the Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001, when vast swathes of the countryside were off limits. P Ramorum won’t close the countryside, but the tree felling needed could well close our trails, or spoil their beauty. Moorland riders partial to a seasonal foraged bilberry snack may also like to know that P Ramorum can infect bilberry plants too. So, as the Tweedlove organisers are saying ‘Keep It Clean’ to help make sure you don’t transfer diseases from one location to another.

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