£10,000 wheeled out

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an award of more than £10,000 is set to boost the TweedLove cycling festival to even bigger and better things in only its second year.

The week-long programme of biking events is scheduled to run in the Tweed Valley from June 11 to 19 and has been awarded the extra cash from EventScotland.

The potential of the festival has been recognised by Scottish Borders Council, which is supporting this year’s programme as one of a number of cycling events it is backing in the area.

Full details of the 2011 extended programme have still to be announced, but the organisers say they are planning some spectacular new events to add to the packed schedule of open races, guided rides and social gatherings.

A new seven-hour endurance mountain bike event, the Glentress Seven, will be held at the UK’s top trail centre with a course featuring normally unavailable routes and some specially created sections.

For road riders, a new evening criterium will be staged in Peebles town centre and an exciting concert will be the bike week’s finale event.

The first TweedLove bike festival was held last summer with the aim of boosting the area’s reputation as the premier cycling destination in the UK. Well over 1,000 cyclists flocked to the region from as far afield as Spain and Sweden. Some events sold out and others were over-subscribed.

Last year’s festival received no public funding and was organised on a voluntary basis, and most events were free.

The two main organisers were design firm Hillside Agency and the Glentress-based Hub in the Forest, backed up by an army of volunteers. There was also support from the Tweed Valley Consortium, several local businesses, the Borders Recreational Cycling Project and cycling brands Kona, Endura and Orange.

Emma Guy, from The Hub at Glentress, told us: “It’s fantastic that we’re getting the opportunity to grow TweedLove. We got off to a great start last summer, and we are looking forward to taking it up a level. However we are still look for more support to get it all working smoothly.”

Fellow organiser Neil Dalgleish, owner of design and marketing firm Hillside Agency, was pleased that the potential of TweedLove had been recognised. He said: “Last year we were amazed at the community spirit that was so aparent at TweedLove. Biking is a big part of life in the Tweed Valley and that’s what this festival is all about. We hope the extended programme will encourage more local people and visitors to take part. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with some of the events.”

The programme will again feature big guided rides, on and off the roads, a film night, a dual slalom, a barbecue and informal ride-outs, where local riders host visitors on favourite trails.

EventScotland’s chief operating officer Paul Bush says TweedLove is an excellent example of events that the organisation funds through the National Funding Programme across the country.

“It has something for everyone and we feel the mix of sport, music and film will attract a wide range of locals and visitors to the area with the potential to grow year on year,” he said.

TweedLove has been registered on the new Event Team Scotland site so anyone interested in volunteering should contact www.tweedlove.com or uou can register on www.eventteamscotland.com