LOVE is in the air for cyclists in the Borders later this month. The community’s second Tweedlove bike week starts on June 11.
The eight-day brainchild of local mountain bikers Neil Dalgleish and Emma Guy combines free and paid-for events for mountain bikers, roadies, racers, cyclocross enthusiasts and others in the festival which “aims to reinforce the Tweed Valley’s reputation as the UK’s premier cycling destination”.
EventScotland has put more than £10,000 into this year’s event, which is also backed by Scottish Borders Council with £2,500 and non-financial support. Cycle gear company Endura has come in as headline sponsors.
New events this year include the Glentress Seven, a seven-hour open endurance mountain bike for casual and seasoned racers over man-made and natural trails, including tracks that are usually off limits, at Glentress on the first Saturday (June 11).
Tweedlove organiser Neil Dalgleish said: “It’s getting really good entries and the new sections at Glentress are looking really good. It’s going to be such a good course and I think there will be a really good festival atmosphere at it.”
Another new event is the Peebles Sprint, a Belgian style “kermesse” road race in the Royal Burgh on the Tuesday evening when 40 riders will race laps of the town centre. Top elite amateur road racers David Lines, Martin Lonie, Graham McGarrity, Greg Imlah, Ali Robinson, David Martin, Ken Russel, Andy Mathison, Robbie Hassan and Matt McDonald are invited and others will be in four-man teams from leading Scottish clubs including Team Endura, Dooleys Cycles, the Bicycleworks, Velocity44, Leslie Bikes, Edinburgh Road Club, Musselburgh Road Cycle Club, Team Young Renners, Peebles Cycle Club and the Scottish mountain bike squad.
“The Peebles Sprint is gaining phenomenal momentum and I don’t think we will have seen its like before. There’s a top class field in place, it’s going to be a really exciting race and I think there will be big crowds at that,” said Mr Dalgleish.
Peebles Cycling Club is holding a round of its fun-to-watch Dirt Crit cross country series at Glentress on the Thursday, which is open to children under 16.
Crosslove in Innerleithen on the Friday is a summer cyclocross when riders will race to cover the most laps of a short, challenging off-road course. It will also Pump It Up, the unofficial Scottish Pump Track Championships where riders will race over 10 laps of one track and in a velodrome-style pursuit on the other.
Saturday night is concert night and the headliners for Crank It Up in Peebles Burgh Hall are Selkirk indie success story, Frightened Rabbit, fresh from signing with Atlantic Records.
“I think this is going to be one of many highlights in this year’s Tweedlove. The gig is selling really well – it went pretty nuts when the tickets first went on sale. There are still some tickets left but I expect it to sell out in advance,” said Mr Dalgleish.
Keen local riders have again stepped forward to lead lots of informal rides along favourite routes for both fat tyres and skinny wheels. “They’re filling up, they’re going to be amazing. They encapsulate the true spirit and ethos of the festival and showcase some of the best on and off-road riding throughout the UK,” said Mr Dalgleish.
The 2010 TweedLove film night sold out and this year it will include the multi-award winning Life Cycles, alongside the best entries to the festival’s amateur short film competition.
Mr Dalgleish praised the local community, Scottish Borders Council and Lothian and Borders Police, local businesses, cycling clubs and organisations and biking enthusiasts.
He said: ‘We’re really grateful for all the help, support and goodwill that’s going into TweedLove. Loads of folk and different organisations are working together to show why the Tweed Valley is such a cool and unique place for riding bikes – it’s in the valley’s blood now and there’s a massive potential for the future.
“Last year I think we touched a chord with a lot of people, much more so than we knew and not just confined to a bunch of mountain biking fanatics, and that’s been evident as organisations and people have come forward, all wanting to be involved and share what we’ve got here.
“TweedLove’s going to be a whole lot of fun this year, and with this much positive input, I think there’s lots more to come.’
For more information see http://tweedlove.com/