Glentress and Innerleithen could be set to attract cyclists on four wheels as well as two, thanks to a specialised club. Rough Riderz gravity biking club was formed in 2006 to help disabled and able-bodied mountain bikers participate in the UK’s newest downhill mountain biking scene, and promote it as an integrated sport nationwide. Club members ride specially-designed four-wheeled mountain bikes, using gravity alone to propel themselves down purpose-built downhill MTB trails. By raising awareness, they hope to increase interest in the sport, creating a more vibrant and inclusive biking scene. Originally designed for wheelchair users, ‘gravity’ bikes have no pedals and rely solely on the downhill gradient of trails to propel them along the off-road technical terrain associated with regular mountain bike riding. Based in Preston, Rough Riderz club secretary Phil Hall has been travelling to Scotland to test as many trails as possible to find suitable venues for this innovative and accessible new sport. With Glentress and Innerleithen now tried and tested, the post could be coming to the Borders next year.
Phil said: “As a paraplegic downhill rider and huge extreme sports fan, I wanted to find a way for those with access needs to experience the thrill of downhill mountain biking. Riding on a gravity bike is such a great, fun sport, we quickly realised it should be available to all, and we have many able-bodied members now, too.
“The club is currently involved in designing a practical and affordable new bike, intended to be easy to ride, service and repair. We are aiming for this to be ready to purchase by the end of the year.”