Delight as Borders bike fest is the biggest and best

Packs of cycling enthusiasts took part in various stages of the TweedLove Bike Festival (picture by Ian Linton)
Packs of cycling enthusiasts took part in various stages of the TweedLove Bike Festival (picture by Ian Linton)

With 35 different events programmed over three weeks, the eighth edition of TweedLove Bike Festival was the biggest and most successful to date.

Attendance was up in almost all the main events, with an impressive number of international athletes and spectators underlining the area’s reputation as world class cycling destination.

Organisers had planned a big final weekend for the festival, headlined by the UK’s biggest enduro race – the Shimano TweedLove International.

The buzzing festival site on Tweed Green in Peebles also hosted events from last Friday to Sunday for road and cyclo-cross riders, as well as family events, children’s rides and entry-level mountain bike races.

The world’s big bike brands were in town too, displaying the latest equipment and allowing test rides for hundreds of prospective customers.

The professional athletes and keen amateurs faced a tough test with two days of practice before race day on Sunday.

The five timed mountain bike enduro stages were set within a 50km loop, which included 1500m of ascent for all the riders.

Current world number one Greg Callaghan took the men’s win, with Mark Scott in second and Innerleithen-based professional Lewis Buchanan third.

Multiple world champion Tracy Moseley won the battle in the women’s race, with Peebles’ own pro-rider Katy Winton second and Canada’s Andreana Nadeau in third.

On top of the big name racing, the weekend was very much a celebration of bikes and cycle sport.

‘Enjoyro’, a new entry level enduro race allowing younger riders to show the immense breadth and depth of emerging mountain biking riding talent in the area.

Winners in the hotly-contested youth categories were Callum Thornley and Emily Carrick-Anderson (12-14 years), with Calum Johnson and Rachel Anderson winning for the 14-16 year olds.

Notably, a big percentage of the younger riders were a good deal faster than the adults in this race, so the future is looking very bright for future talent.

The events rounded off the most popular TweedLove yet, and the real ‘festival’ feel in Peebles has set the standard for future editions.

“It’s all about the location,” said festival director Neil Dalgleish.

“This area has world class trails and roads to suit all kinds of cyclists, and we aim to attract as many visitors and bike brands as possible to come here and enjoy it all.”

An estimated 10,000 people took part in events, spectated or visited the TweedLove event village over the weekend, so the formula appears to have succeeded.

“We hope this is a platform we can build on,” said Neil.

“We’ve shown there’s huge potential for a major annual event here, but it will need support from the council, tourism agencies and local business to really gain the economic benefits for the Borders.

“The community has built this from grass roots up, which tells an astonishing story about all the fantastic people who live here.”