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The enterprising people behind Scottish cycling projects

Written by Fiona March 02 2012

I like it when outdoorsy people have an idea to start something – and then actually find the time and energy to do so. Stuart Black has been a keen mountain biker for many years but his previous job meant he was off-shore for large chunks of time. When he then took an office-based position, working near Aberdeen, he realised that one of the perks could be having the time and consistency of hours to start a club.

He had always thought that Aberdeenshire’s mountain bike scene was a little behind the times  – and somewhat off the map as a top mountain biking position. That’s not to say that Aberdeenshire doesn’t boast an amazing array of natural cycling trials and singe track routes. In Stuart’s mind, the area is fantastic for mountain bikers but just hadn’t received the same level of promotion as other areas of Scotland.

So Stuart created The Up and Doon MTB Club. At the core of the club is a group of riders, including Stuart, who want to share their joy of mountain biking. With a wealth of experience and knowledge of Aberdeenshire, the friendly riders aim to guide other riders on trails and routes via regular group rides and trips.

Stuart says: “These is something for every mountain bike rider in Aberdeenshire, yet it’s one of those places that still seems to be a well-kept secret. While we don’t want to spoil the natural beauty of the area we are keen to let more people know about the brilliant opportunities for riding in Aberdeenshire, and to put this location more firmly on the map of Scottish mountain biking.”

From easy-going forestry tracks to high-adrenaline downhill blasts, the Aberdenshire trails promise a wide range of riding. The Up and Doon MTB Club will meet for weekly two-hour ride-outs and offer occasional multi-day remote and wild rides.

To find out more about the rides check out the Up and Doon website.

Let’s promote cycling in Scotland

Another cycling guy who is putting his ideas – and frustrations – into a new project is Neil Innes. His social enterprise project Cycle Tourism Scotland Ltd has a  principal objective of growing the economic benefit that cycle tourism brings to Scotland and spreading that benefit to all parts of Scotland.

Neil believes that while Scotland offers many wonderful cycling possibilities, the country is not promoted for its amazing cycling opportunities.

Neil says: “Scotland’s tourism efforts are concentrated on priorities which are seen by the authorities as our strengths.  But cycling is not one of them!  Scotland did have a publication to promote cycling day trips and holidays but it was axed in 2007.  Scotland did have a dedicated cycling website to provide routes throughout the country and to promote Scotland as a cycling destination but it was discontinued in 2010.  At this point we began work on an industry led website www.cycle-scotland.com. This is still a work in progress but we are very hopeful of raising the profile of Scotland as a superb cycling destination.”

Watch this blog for more news of the Cycle Scotland campaign.

A new cycling magazine

And a couple that has a passion for cycling (are you seeing a theme here?) are setting up another social enterprise company, this time a cycling magazine. It is called Unchained and work is going on behind the scenes in Glasgow to bring this magazine to fruition on-line. The magazine will focus on cycling of all kinds in Scotland – and mainly at the family market. Again, keep an eye on this blog for more news and follow Unchained on Twitter @unchainedmag

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