THE Tweed Valley’s reputation as a premier cycling destination will be reinforced when it hosts what organisers believe is the biggest and most comprehensive programme of events in the UK.
The Tweedlove Bike Festival 2012, which was launched at Peebles Hotel Hydro at the weekend, will be staged from Saturday, May 26 till Tuesday, June 5 and is confidently predicted to attract riders from across the country.
Held in association with Alpine Bikes, the festival programme of events, has been extended from a week to 10 days to include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend.
Following public sector funding awards from EventScotland and Scottish Borders Council, alongside a successful private sector sponsorship campaign, some major new events have been added to last year’s busy roster of races, guided rides (both on and off road), and cultural events.
Many events are free, and the choice is wide and varied, with events for children, families and novice riders, right through to cutting-edge races for expert mountain bike and road racers. Above all, say organisers, TweedLove is about getting out there and having fun on a bike.
At the launch, Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer for EventScotland said: “The strength of the programme is testament to how the festival has grown over the past few years, with a number of new elements guaranteed to attract visitors.
“The children’s events are particularly exciting, and will introduce a new generation of young people to the sport. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the Tweed Valley is the ideal setting for the festival, providing the terrain and scenery to appeal to cyclists of all ages and abilities.”
TweedLove Bike Festival director, Neil Dalgleish, said: “The Tweed Valley is a unique community with a huge population of resident bike enthusiasts, all keen to welcome visitors and share the area’s unrivalled amenities.
“Early indications from entries to two events, already announced, show that riders are keen to make the journey to the Tweed Valley from all over the UK. This, combined with an economic impact estimated at over half a million pounds in 2011, proves that TweedLove is a great example of how important cycling and mountain bike tourism is for Scotland.
“There’s so much riding on offer at TweedLove this year, you’d be totally exhausted if you tried to do it all.
“TweedLove started as one or two events for local enthusiasts a few years ago and has grown massively year on year. Its success is definitely down to the local population who are keen to make bike tourism and the cycle industry a bigger part of our economy, together with the unique concentration of top class biking amenities on our doorstep.”
Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s executive member for economic development said: “The festival has grown in size and stature since the council first supported it.
“I am delighted that even more businesses are involved around the additional activities being developed to showcase the Borders as a place to cycle. Events such as this boost our growing reputation and help us attract other cycling tourism activity that we can promote and market through cycle scottishborders.com.”