Future of Scottish Mountain Biking Looking Bright
Richard Lochhead MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, formally launched the ‘Strategy for Scottish Mountain Biking 2023 -2025’ (MTB strategy). The MTB Strategy has a strong vision for Scotland to be leading European mountain biking and to continue to sustainably grow the economic contribution of mountain biking, increase participation, and help develop more future mountain bike stars to compete on the world stage.
The three-year MTB strategy has been developed to ensure that the success story of Scottish mountain biking continues with the growth seen through Covid-19 is sustained and built upon. The development of the new MTB strategy has been led by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland on behalf of all those with a stake in Scottish mountain biking, whether they are the mountain bike community, Scottish Government and national agencies, the tourism industry, or product designers and manufacturers.
The Minister also announced at the Power of the Bike Innovation and Tech Summit, attended by some of the biggest bike brands in the world and many Scottish businesses, that Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland will launch as a new brand ‘Bike Innovation Scotland’. It will start offering services from early 2024 and the new Mountain Bike Innovation Centre with a Bike Park and Trail Lab being developed just up the road from Glentress at Innerleithen will open in 2025.
Bike Innovation Scotland is led by Edinburgh Napier University and builds on their years of experience of knowledge transfer and research in the sector and the support from Scottish Government to date. It is developed in partnership with South of Scotland Enterprise as the lead on the new innovation centre, and, as a national project, is working with the other enterprise agencies in Scotland.
The MTB strategy and the new bike innovation offering comes at an exciting time for mountain biking in Scotland with the country in the midst of the successful UCI World Championships in 2023, new trail developments being opened and more in the pipeline, success on the global stage from Scottish riders, a growing number of innovative tourism and product development businesses, and a number of targeted participation programmes running across the country.
Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“Scotland is benefiting from a growing reputation as an ideal location for mountain biking, with visitors and locals alike enjoying our amazing outdoors.
“This newly updated strategy is very timely. Mountain biking can attract participants and spectators from around the world, drive domestic interest in the sport and encourage our entrepreneurs to develop innovative products to meet increased demand.
“The world’s first Innovation Centre for mountain biking can help make Scotland one of the most innovative small countries in the world. This could provide fantastic opportunities for inward investment and job creation in the years ahead.
“It has been a great pleasure to attend the UCI Cycling World Championships, meet some of the competitors and see the number of people who are engaged in this thriving sport.”
Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland said:
“Our vision is for Scotland to be recognised as the leader of European mountain biking, through sustainable trail development and management, participation and sport development, and innovative product development and tourism.
In the last three years, the strategy for Scottish mountain biking has helped secure over £200m of investment. This has led to so many exciting projects which are making a big difference to Scottish mountain biking.
Working with the Scottish Government, national agencies, cycling organisations, and the mountain bike community this refreshed strategy builds on the good work already undertaken and presents an exciting vision of what can be delivered in a vastly different political, social, and economic landscape in 2023. ”
Lead Academic of the newly branded, Bike Innovation Scotland, and Professor at Edinburgh Napier University, Prof Geraint Florida-James says:
“With the global cycling product market forecasted to grow on an annual basis and be worth at $135 billion by 2030, we are taking steps to ensure that both new and existing Scottish companies are well placed to grow through collaborative knowledge exchange programmes, research opportunities and new testing facilities. This will be available for local and global companies to innovate and develop new and improved products here in Scotland. It truly is an exciting time to be involved with the cycling industry.
This builds, and delivers on, the new ‘Innovation Strategy for Scotland 2023-2033’ announced in June. Innovation is one of the key themes of the MTB strategy and Bike Innovation Scotland will play a crucial role in delivering ambitious growth targets through this theme. This level of ambition would not be possible without the Scottish Government and we thank them for their ongoing support.”
South of Scotland Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council were amongst the partners who hosted the Power of the Bike Innovation and Tech Summit at the Cardrona Hotel on 10 August, and are also delivering the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre project.
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said:
“The South of Scotland is universally recognised as the global home of the bike and therefore it is fitting that as we host the 2023 Cycling World Championships, we should celebrate the innovation and technology that exists within the sector.
“For the South to also host the launch of the new Mountain Bike Strategy for Scotland as well as Bike Innovation Scotland brand, alongside the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds, is further testament to our region’s important role in the future of the cycling industry.”
Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said:
“The development of the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is a great opportunity to capitalise on the South of Scotland’s cycling heritage and the world-class reputation of our off-road trails, including Glentress and the rest of the 7Stanes network, and drive inward investment into the region.
“Through the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership we have set some really ambitious goals in our first regional Cycling Strategy, and through continued partnership working and investment I have no doubt that we can achieve them.”
The Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is a key development for the South of Scotland and will be funded as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
The UK Government is investing £19million into the project. This is part of its £265m investment in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, along with the Scottish Government investment of £85m in the Deal. The Innovation Centre is predicted to contribute £141m in Gross Value Added (GVA) and create over 400 jobs in the South of Scotland over ten years.
A New Sustainable Future For Scottish Mountain Biking
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