The Tweed Valley is preparing to host its largest cycling spectacular to date, with this year’s Tweedlove Bike Festival looking set to feature the most packed programme yet.
Cyclists around the UK and beyond now refer to the area as ‘Bike Valley’ because of the area’s reputation for world-class mountain bike trails and its beautiful, relatively traffic-free road network.
There are 35 different cycling events spread over three weeks, with two key weekends within that period – May 26-28 and June 9-11.
The programme includes everything from international mountain bike racing and overnight trips into the backcountry to family rides on closed roads and fun events for tots on balance bikes.
“It’s our biggest festival yet, which reflects the fantastic continued growth in cycling participation,” said TweedLove director Neil Dalgleish. “This is by far the best area in the UK for cycling and mountain biking and we have an incredible local population of bike fans living here, delighted to welcome others to share the fun and sport the area offers.”
Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland regional partnerships director for the south of Scotland, said: “Tweedlove Bike Festival is now a firm fixture on the UK cycling festival programme and a great day out for families. The stunning scenery and award-winning bike trails within Glentress Forest and the surrounding area provide the perfect backdrop for the festival.
“Events like this provide a boost to the local visitor economy by enhancing our region’s tourism offering and showcasing the very best of what the region has to offer.
“ I hope as many local people and visitors from further afield will be able to come along to enjoy the great entertainment, racing and events planned.”
For the first time, TweedLove will also include a ‘mega bike demo’ weekend, where many of the world’s top bike brands provide the public with the opportunity to try out top of the range bikes – some worth up to £10,000 each – on the trails of Glentress and country roads around Peebles.
It will be the biggest event of its kind in the UK this year, with hundreds of different bikes available to try.
“This is an amazing chance for people to spend some timing riding the most sought-after bikes in the world, bristling with the latest lightweight technology, all in the UK’s best cycling destination,” said Dalgleish.
“It’s fantastic that so many of the world’s best bike brands are coming to Peebles with their latest kit. People can take some time finding out what the bike of their dreams is really like to ride and enjoy the festival atmosphere and all the events afterwards.”
Other highlights of the event programme include the Shimano TweedLove International Enduro – the UK’s biggest mountain bike enduro race with pro athletes competing for the country’s biggest cash prize fund.
For road riders, the Cycle Law Scotland Skinny Tweed sportive ride offers a beautiful 45-mile route beside the River Tweed, and a full programme of family and children’s cycle events ensures everyone is catered for.
For the first time this year, there’s a chance for runners to join the cyclists at the party too – as the area’s flagship cross country bike event, the Odlo Glentress Seven, will share its beautiful 11km course with the brand new Glentress 11 Trail Run, kicking off events for the weekend of May 26-28.
“The big weekend is at the event village in Peebles, on June 9-11,” added Dalgleish. “There will be entertainment, great food and drink, and a very friendly atmosphere – perfect for all cyclists and anyone who just wants to soak up some festival good times. There are races and bike events all weekend, and a huge amount to see and do on Friday and Saturday evenings.”
TweedLove Festival began eight years ago with some cycling friends organising events for friends to take part in. It is now the UK’s biggest cycling festival but is still powered by community enthusiasm.
“There’s no doubt these events are still a labour of love,” said Dalgleish. “Our small team of organising staff tries very hard to put on events which do the place justice. None of this would have been possible with out all the community support, and that’s still true today. It’s a unique and special place.”
Full events listing:
Saturday, May 20-Sunday, May 21: TweedLove Bivvy Night; an overnight adventure in the Tweed Valley backcountry.
Sunday, May 21: Cranked Short Circuit Cross-country race for teams of two chidren, ages under 16.
Thursday, May 25: Islabikes PCC Dirt Crit; a well-established XC race in Glentress for children (under 16).
Friday, May 26: Odlo Glentress Eleven – a beautiful 11km trail run in the forest. TweedLove’s first ever trail run.
Saturday, May 27: Odlo Glentress Seven – Scotland’s most popular MTB endurance trail race. Seven hours of XC riding for solo riders or pairs.
Love Club: The official after party.
Sunday, May 28: Islabikes Family Day – the UK’s most popular kids’ bike racing day. Up to 400 children having fun on their bikes in the park.
Monday, May 29: Ridelines Natural Tweed. Free event, taking mountain bike riders on a non-competitive trip into the wilds and back.
Saturday, June 3: The Chase – mountain bike orienteering for the whole family.
Thursday, June 8: Film and photo competition, and TweedLove multi-media night – special guests and special screenings; a night of the finest visual bike culture.
Friday, June 9-Sunday, June 11: Tweedlove On The Green – TweedLove’s big weekend. A free to enter festival village in the heart of Peebles, with entertainment, great food, craft beer bar, and bikes. Lots of bikes.
Friday, June 9-Saturday, June 10: Shimano TweedLove International Enduro. Pro riders battle it out on the world-class trails for the big prizes.
Saturday, June 10: G-Form Enjoyro. A brand new event – en enduro race aimed at the less experienced and younger riders. Full on fun without the fear.
Saturday, June 10: Cycle Law Scotland Skinny Tweed.