Conference to bring biking experts to town

The Scottish Mountain Biking Conference in Peebles later this year will bring industry experts from around the world to the area.

The event, in November, will also see local lad Grant Ferguson share his experiences of mountain biking in Scotland with hundreds of delegates at Peebles Hydro.

The conference, organised by Developing Mountain Biking for Scotland, part of Scottish Cycling, is being supported by the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund and Scottish Borders Council.

It is estimated the event will attract more than 200 mountain biking experts from as far afield as New Zealand and Canada and generate more than £250,000 for the economy.

Grant Ferguson said: “I grew up in Peebles and fully appreciate the world-class trails on offer in the Borders.

“I have also ridden and raced my bike across the world, and have a wide range of experiences to share with the audience.

“To be asked back to my hometown to speak about the events I have participated in, including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, is a real honour and I am thrilled to be involved in the conference.”

As well as speeches and workshops, the conference will also include a number of field visits throughout Scotland, including the Scottish Mountain Bike Centre at Glentress.

Among the topics on the agenda will be the ongoing development of mountain biking tourism and the main issues facing the industry, with the overall aim to highlight the quality of mountain biking in Scotland to an international audience.

Councillor Stuart Bell, SBC executive member for economic development, said: “We are delighted to welcome the mountain bike world to the Scottish Borders and support this international conference.

“We are undoubtedly one of the best locations in Scotland to mountain bike and our 7stanes Glentress trail centre, based next door to the conference, is one of the busiest trail centres in the world.

“We are convinced that delegates will enjoy their experience in the Scottish Borders and the conference will help build our growing worldwide reputation.”

Mountain biking is worth £49.5m a year to the Scottish economy from visitors whose main reason for visiting is to ride and £130m from those who enjoy biking as part of their stay in Scotland.