DMBinS’s role is to advance the strategic arguments and rationale for these projects, support local delivery partners and help ensure the quality of the product meets riders expectations and global MTB market trends. These projects include a Bike Park in the Tweed Valley, a trail centre in Aberdeenshire, implementing MTB bike plans across Highlands, refresh of 7stanes and supporting the Scottish Cycling Facilities Fund.
DMBinS are a key partner in driving forward the creation of the northern hemisphere’s first year-round Adventure Bike Park in the Tweed Valley to be located next to the World’s first Mountain Bike Innovation Centre.
The project is part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal with £19m of public funding allocated to support private investment into the Bike Park and to fund the MTB Innovation Centre.
The Bike Park funding will facilitate the required access infrastructure alongside private sector investment into creating the much-needed bike park experience in Scotland.
We are keen that the Bike Park delivers not only world-class jump lines and machine built trails for all abilities, but given its location in the Tweed Valley, the bike park will also feature a range of narrow technical off-piste/enduro trails. These will suit riders both new to hand-dug trails through to Enduro World Series level. The facility will employ its own full-time trail crew and will also work alongside the local trail association to provide a sustainable model of maintenance and trail improvements across this premier riding destination.
The Tweed Valley has always had a variety of trails on offer and a bike park will include some family-friendly riding options, but also cater for an elite level to both create that impact on a global stage but also meet the demand of riders and a growing community of world-class British athletes who train in the Tweed Valley and Scotland.
The bike park would require a dedicated uplift facility for bikes which will need to offer net zero or negative carbon when in operation.
An operator would most likely offer a café, rental bikes, and adventure activities including lift-accessed hiking. This diversification for non-bikers ensures a robust business model for a larger scale park.
Combined with the impact of the MTB Innovation Centre, the Bike Park will lead to an increased GVA of £141m in the South of Scotland and £511m across the UK over a 10 year period.*
*Figures taken from report from4Consulting.
There is a recognised demand for an improvement in mountain bike facilities in the North East and this demand has led to the creation of numerous local community groups working towards change.
Scotland is a world leader in providing purpose-built trail centres and in hosting world-class mountain biking events. There are many high-quality, large scale trail centres throughout the South of Scotland, Highlands, Central Scotland and Tayside & Fife, however, there is a clear gap in the North East region of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Although Aberdeen is the third-largest city in Scotland, the nearest trail centre is Glenlivet in Morayshire at over 60 miles away with connections only via rural roads. To ride at a trail centre with more demanding black runs it is necessary to travel to Laggan in the Highlands, a 3-hour drive from Aberdeen. The ‘gap’ has been highlighted as a key issue to address within the Scottish MTB Strategy 2019-2025.
The demand for an improvement in mountain bike facilities in the North East has led to the creation of numerous local community groups working for change alongside DMBinS, Scottish Cycling, Aberdeenshire Council, North East Adventure Tourism and other national agencies.
The Aberdeenshire MTB Cluster includes facility projects, community groups, businesses and agencies who are collaborating to develop an appropriate range of facilities throughout the region including additional trail centres, skills loops, pump tracks and an improved natural trail network.
The MTB strategy identifies key destinations to target for growth. In the Highlands, the MTB strategy identifies Fort William and Lochaber as a ‘Premier Destination’ and the Cairngorms and North of Scotland, primarily Sutherland, Wester Ross, and Skye, as a ‘Priority Destinations’. These destinations had successfully developed trail centres in the late 1990s to mid-2000s at Nevis Range, Laggan, Balblair, Carbisdale, Balnain and Golspie and the area has benefitted from increased numbers of visitors as a result.
For a variety of reasons, there has been very little product development and marketing of these assets, indeed, some have now been decommissioned as official mountain bike trail centres. As other areas of Scotland, UK, and Europe are investing in this growth market there is a risk that the Highlands might lose its market position, and suffer economically, as a result.
DMBinS have partnered with interested parties including Highland and Islands Enterprise, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Government, and the relevant Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to drive the sustainable development of mountain biking in the Highlands.
Jointly they have identified the need to strategically plan the mountain bike offer in these destinations linked with destination and community development to sustainably grow the economic contribution of the Scottish mountain bike tourism sector and for it to play an important role in helping communities to become healthier, happier and more resilient.
There is a recognised demand for an improvement in mountain bike facilities in the Highlands to help develop a co-ordinated approach to infrastructure improvements, destination management, and marketing and promotion. This will help ensure the region, and Scotland, maximise the impact of hosting international level events, provides attractive itineraries for growing mountain bike markets and ensures the mountain bike community is better integrated and better-equipped to improve the sustainability of mountain bike trails.
DMBinS has contracted internationally renowned consultants, Bike Plan Switzerland, to support them, and local partners, to develop integrated bike plans for the key destinations. The plans will be made available for public consultation in Autumn and Winter 2021.
DMBinS played an important role behind the scenes supporting Forestry and Land Scotland’s aspirations to refresh the 7stanes trail centres across the South of Scotland as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
DMBinS is now part of the project delivery board and will be working to support FLS, the Local Authorities (Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders) and VisitScotland to develop a robust, and exciting, business case which we will bring forward the views of the MTB community.
DMBinS provided support and expertise in developing the guidelines and criteria for a proposed new cycling facilities fund.
DMBinS staff team are engaged both at a strategic level in supporting sportscotland with the management and execution of the fund and at an operational level
The £8m fund is highly likely to support the development of key strategic projects, such as the Highland Cluster Masterplan, Aberdeenshire projects, 7stanes Refresh, engage local and community clubs in the Tweed Valley into the Innovation Centre, along with a raft of ‘urban’ projects which DMBinS have been supporting.
You may also like
Guide to creating pump tracks and purpose built trails
Unauthorised MTB Trails Guidance
How we support trails associations
Trail building courses (DIRTT)
More of what we do
Mountain biking can play a role in making Scotland healthier. By increasing participation, through targeted programmes, we aim to help make our amazing country a healthier and happier nation.
Our work focuses on building on our key destination's strengths, pushing for development and supporting areas and businesses to improve the experience for riders.
We work with Edinburgh Napier University, through MTBCOS, and our enterprise agencies - encouraging businesses to develop and promote new products and services for mountain bikers contributing significantly to the sustainable growth of Scotland’s economy.
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