Free help and guidance for new Borders bikers

Following the unprecedented surge of interest in cycling this year, a new project has been launchedto provide free online tuition and advice for new or less-experienced cyclists in the Scottish Borders.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 3:15 pm
A rider checks his directional data (picture by Ian Linton)

The online and video-based project, which has been funded by Paths For All and Scottish Borders Council, pulls together all the advice needed to ride a bike with confidence, with emphasis on cycling in a rural environment.

The entire tuition and info course, made up of over 20 short videos, is available to everyone from today (Thursday) and free of charge.

The scheme has been put together as part of Easyriders – the successful Borders campaign originally set up to encourage more women to ride their bikes.

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With huge numbers of new cyclists this year, and COVID-related limitations for classes and courses, the new version of the sceme is now aimed at everyone – men, women and young people, and freely accessible on any online screen device.

The videos, all around one minute long, have been produced by Peebles-based bike events company

Hillside Outside, which is also responsible for TweedLove Bike Festival and Tour O The Borders, with

the tuition expertise provided by Tweed valley coach and guiding experts Ridelines.

The easy-to-follow and user-friendly format aims to give quick reminders, as it can be accessed on smart phones.

On the Easyriders website, there’s also advice about getting hold of a bike, cycling etiquette and

suggested routes to try once the new riders are confident.

Project director Neil Dalgleish explained how it came about: “When lockdown forced us to shelve

plans for the next round of Easyriders sessions, we immediately thought of moving it online.

“So many people have realised the advantages of getting around by bike – not only for the sake of their

health and the planet, but to avoid shared transport.

“We knew it would be helpful to provide free tuition from experts, and we’ve really tried to make it easy to understand how to ride safely and

with confidence. We’re really pleased with how the website and videos have turned out.”

Andy Weir, director of Ridelines, said: “There are a lot of people who haven’t cycled for years, who are

digging bikes out of the shed, and we hope that watching these wee films will give people a shot of

confidence.

“You don’t really forget but, sometimes, you just need a bit of a reminder. Cycling’s for

everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, and we’re pleased to share our expertise and help more

folk to get out on their bikes.”

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s portfolio holder for travel, infrastructure and

transport, added: “We’re delighted to be partnered with local cycling companies again to encourage

more cycling in the beautiful Borders. 

“The online course is really helpful for novice or born-again cyclists to help build confidence on their bikes. 

“The information is particularly handy for cyclists who maybe haven’t considered cycling as a possible option for commuting a couple of days a week or for those who’ve not been on their bike for a few years.”

All the video and website content is totally free to access from the project website at www.easyriders.cc.

Scottish Borders Council is also taking forward a Spaces for People 20mph trial on all town and village streets in the area.

The trial aims to make it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle and wheel for everyday journeys during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. More information is available at www.scotborders.gov.uk/20mph.