Pedal-powered fun in centre of Selkirk

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If you are a cyclist, or are interested in cycling, then all roads – and, of course, cycle paths – should lead to Selkirk this weekend.

Tomorrow evening (Friday, May 1) sees the town’s High Street closed off to all vehicles other than the pedal-powered variety, for a free festival of two-wheeled mayhem for all the family.

Durty Events, organiser of Saturday’s Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon and British Mountain Bike Marathon Championships, is taking over the centre of town from 7-9pm, for the Selkirk Bike Festival, supported by Scottish Borders Council, Selkirk Community Council and Selkirk Chamber of Trade.

It’s an action-packed programme of biking activities, events and attractions for all ages.

The entertainment includes a new pump track, a huge airbag on which to try out those big air tricks, head-to-head lung-busting roller racing (Rollapolluza style), jaw-dropping displays from the 3-Sixty bike stunt team, and a showing of stunning bike films (including the making of Danny Macaskill / Cut Media’s epic ‘The Ridge’, filmed on the Isle of Skye).

Hardies Bikes of Melrose will also be on hand at the pop-up shop on 1 Tower St, for everyone’s biking-related retail and repair needs.

Paul McGreal from Durty Events told The Southern: “Before we took over the organisation of the weekend, it was very popular amongst bikers, but it did tend to be contained down at the rugby ground.

“We wanted to make sure the people of the town knew about the festival and that the festival-goers knew there was a town there, so they would have the opportunity to spend their money there.

“We have 700 entries for the events on Saturday, and they tend to bring their friends and family, so we are expecting an influx of around 2,000 people in and around Selkirk over the course of the weekend.

“So, this Friday night event has become incredibly popular.

“Best of all, it’s totally free of charge, family friendly, and pretty spectacular. Please come along, bring your bikes and join in the fun before hundreds of riders head into the stunning Scottish Borders hills on Saturday morning.”

Selkirk’s High Street will also be the place to be at 10am on Saturday for the mass start of four waves of mountain bike riders.

Hundreds of sportive and elite mountain bikers, bunched together and jostling for position, will ride in a huge, compact procession from the centre of Selkirk to the entrance to Bowhill Estate (approximately four miles) behind a special lead vehicle.

Once the flag drops in the lead vehicle, it’s game on and the marathon can begin.

It will be an amazing sight for spectators and supporters lining the route to wave off the riders.

McGreal was out this week, marking out the courses for the 25km, 50km and 75km events, which offer something for everyone from family riders to racing snakes.

And the British MTB Marathon Championships will see the UK’s elite riders fighting it out over the 75km loop for national honours and those coveted red, white and blue winner’s jerseys.

And on Sunday, ‘The Reivers Raid’, the fourth round of the Scottish MTB Challenge Series (mountain bike orienteering), takes place –visit www.smbo.org.uk for more details.