Fort William Bike Park has been in the making for the last 7 years. The project came out of the success of West Highland Wheelers kids club. The club runs hugely popular mountain bike sessions each Saturday for between 40 and 60 kids, from young primary to late secondary ages. The club is now proud to have two of its participants participating in the Junior World Championships at Nevis Range, and one of its guest leaders, Mikayla Parton, competing in the elite women’s event. The club is run by volunteers from the local community, and demand for places exceeds the number of leaders available. To help meet this demand, the local cycling community came up with plan to create an urban community bike facility.
The Bike Park will include Scotland’s second largest pump track, an exciting ‘adaptive bike track’ that will allow people with adaptive bikes to share the experience – removing barriers to participation. It will soon also include a BMX / skate park, and a trials area. Over time the group plan to build a club house that can be used for running courses and include a community bike maintenance workshop.
This has been a huge amount of work for a small community committee, involving complex planning and dedicated fundraising. Through contact with key local stakeholders, it was realised that there was a great deal of support and enthusiasm for a facility that would support the work of many local organisations. The group quickly realised that they could be the facility that helped join the dots between the community and stakeholders to meet a range of sporting and social objectives by removing barriers to participation like cost and accessibility from communities. Fort William Bike Park - a project 7 years in the making!
Fort William Bike Park – Official Launch of new £500k community facility in Fort William
A new community led, inclusive facility in Fort William was officially opened 2nd August 2023 in advance of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships thanks to over £500k of investment. The Downhill events will take place at the Nevis Range from the 3rd to 5th of August.
Fort William Bike Park project came out of the success of West Highland Wheelers kids club and has been seen a huge amount of work and commitment to get to this stage. Seven years in the making, the Bike Park will include Scotland’s second largest pump track, an exciting ‘adaptive bike track’ that will allow people with adaptive bikes share the experience – removing barriers to participation. It will soon also include a BMX / skate park, and a trials area. Over time the group plan to build a club house that can be used for running courses and include a community bike maintenance workshop.
Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, Highland Development Co-ordinator, Ruari Watt said: “The Fort William Bike Park has been a real community effort and something that Fort William and Lochaber can be very proud of. It’s been a privilege to be able to support this project and see it opening to the public.”
“The incredible dedication of a small group of volunteers has driven this project, but behind them is a network of groups and organisations that have been supporters of Fort William Bike Park, who will help the project achieve its objectives – The West Highland Wheelers Cycling Club, Active Schools Coordinators, Lochaber High School, Highland Council Children’s services and local businesses will all be important users of the facility.”
“This facility will help join the dots between the community and stakeholders to meet a range of sporting and social objectives by removing barriers to participation like cost and accessibility from communities.”
The main funder of the project is sportscotland providing £290,000 of investment from the Cycling Facilities Fund.
Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive, sportscotland said: “The Cycling Facilities Fund is a great opportunity to derive a tangible benefit from hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. We hope that more people will be inspired to ride their bikes after the event so we have worked closely with Scottish Cycling to ensure that the projects who receive investment will create more opportunities to take part in the sport and improve the cycling landscape in Scotland.
"The investment in projects is only part of the picture however, and we rely on local and regional partners to deliver the kind of cycling facilities that meet the needs of local communities, and to ensure that they keep meeting those needs for years to come. It’s clear that the community is right at the heart of the Fort William Bike Park project so I’m sure it will be a huge success.”
Lochaber Wheeled Sports Society, Gregor Muir said: “On behalf of the Bike Park Committee I was delighted like to welcome everyone to the opening party of the Fort William Bike Park. It is great to be able to host the opening party at the same time as the World MTB Downhill Championships.
“It’s been a long voyage to get here but with all the help and support from all our funders we have managed to build a phenomenal facility, conducive with the quality of riding available in the Fort William and beyond. We hope the Fort William Bike Park is used and enjoyed by everyone for many years to come and it becomes a central hub for cycling in and around the area.”
Mikayla Parton, Fort William local and elite athlete who is competing in the women’s downhill at the World Championships added:
“Fort William Bike Park will be another amazing place to ride alongside all the other great locations we have around the area. Fort William has some of the best technical mountain bike trails in the UK but we have always lacked in a place to develop jumping and pumping skills. I cannot wait to see everyone of all ages enjoying the new bike park and learning new things!”
Alvance, Clyde Munro Dental Group, MOWI, as well as numerous local businesses have made generous contributions.
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