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Grampian Cycling News 2008
Glenlivet MTB Trails
The Glenlivet Estate is to undertake a feasibility study on building mountain bike trails in woodlands near Tomintoul. The study is due to be completed by March 2009.
A spokesperson for the estate was quoted as saying "We would want to create something that draws people into the area. We would also hope the tracks would be interesting enough and challenging enough for enthusiasts to come to Glenlivet from a wide area".
Moray already boasts the finest trails in the North East, and these combined with the Glenlivet proposals and the proposals for trails at the nearby Lecht Ski Centre could help the sport take off as it has done in other parts of Scotland.
Update - see our page on Glenlivet Mountain Biking Centre.
Sanquhar Woods are Open
Ruaridh Cunningham 2007 junior world downhill was guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the Sanquhar Wood trails, Moray's latest MTB hot spot near Forres. The ceremony was followed by bike demonstrations, training sessions and the chance to try out the routes.
The woods have 3 trails - an easy free flowing blue route, a more technical red route complete with rock garden, and orange graded jump park.
The project to turn the 116 acre woods into a top class MTB park was first muted by the Forres FreeRider Group. The idea was picked up by the community youth development team at Moray Council. Together they worked to secure the funding and trail building skills necessary to move the project forward. £65,000 of funding was received from the Community Landfill Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Awards for All Lottery, the Robertson Trust and the woodland trust.
Peterhead to be Cycling Demonstration Town
Plans to radically increase cycle use as a form of transport in Aberdeenshire towns have moved forward with Peterhead being one of the first to benefit.
Aberdeenshire Council identified the need to raise the profile of cycling as a travel mode and to achieve travel behaviour change in their Local Transport Strategy 2007-10 document.
Officers within the council's transportation service identified towns across the area with the potential to radically increase cycle use, through the development of an integrated, targeted master plan.
The concept is to create a series of cycling demonstration towns, using various methods such as changes in infrastructure and educational initiatives to make cycling more attractive to residents.
Sixteen towns were initially measured against a range of indicators and Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie, Peterhead and Portlethen were shortlisted.
These towns were then assessed in more detail to determine the most suitable town to be taken to the master planning stage and used in a pilot programme.
The pilot will involve an extensive consultation exercise across a range of stakeholder groups within the town, to assist in the identification of measures to be included in the final master plan.
This plan will include physical infrastructure needs, e.g. cycle paths, and behaviour change initiatives, e.g. the development of work-based travel plans.
Improvements could include cycle-parking, off-road cycle routes, cycle lanes, traffic calming, traffic management measures and speed restriction zones, but this will depend on feedback from stakeholders.
The initiative will be subject to extensive monitoring and critical review, to determine which methods produce the greatest benefit. This would allow a suite of solutions to be developed that could be rolled out to settlements across Aberdeenshire.
At a recent meeting of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee, councillors approved a progression to the Master Planning phase for Peterhead.
Lessons learned in the development of the Peterhead Cycling Master Plan are expected to be used to develop a robust system for the development of further Cycling Master Plans for other towns in Aberdeenshire
As part of its efforts to promote sustainable travel, Aberdeenshire Council wants cyclists to submit short films in the run up to Bike Week 2008 which will be shown on the YouTube.
Participants should record a short film lasting no more than two minutes on the theme of What Cycling Means to them, and what they think should happen to make cycling in Aberdeenshire a more attractive prospect.
As well as broadcasting their creative talent and views on cycling to a potential audience of millions, they could win a £200 voucher for a cycle shop of their choice.
Aberdeenshire Council's Transportation Team has created and is developing a Sustainable Travel YouTube Channel to try to encourage more people to travel by sustainable means.
The best clips from the competition will be hosted on the dedicated Channel, with the competition winner announced during Bike Week (June 14-22).
Aberdeenshire Above Average
Aberdeenshire Council's commitment to cycling has been nationally recognised by an initiative which aims to ensure it becomes a realistic travel and leisure choice for the travelling public.
Cycling Scotland's National Assessment Project aims to encourage organisational cultures positive to cycling and inform action at a national level.
The council's investment in and promotion of cycling was scored far above the national average in the survey, which gathered information on the cycling policies and practices of local authorities.
Aberdeenshire Council has encouraged children to cycle where it is safe by delivering on-the-road cycle training at schools and investing in infrastructure around schools.
Good scores for the marketing of cycling were achieved due to the council's work promoting Bike Week, the Go For It initiative and its cycling web pages.
Great Drumtochty Challenge
For the first time ever the Great Drumtochty Challenge will not be held in May, the date for this year is the 1st of June.
Other changes include the support Edinburgh Bike Coop. They will give a free multi-tool to every entrant and a chance to win a £100 voucher to spend in any of Edinburgh bike Coop's shops. They will also have a shop mechanic onsite to help with those last minute tweaks or that flat tyre that you thought you had repaired.
Another first for this year is the Schools and Colleges category is finally getting off the ground with teams coming from Hazelhead Academy and hopefully some of the schools in Angus.
Lecht to go Downhill?
Operators of the Lecht Ski Centre, at Corgarff, have applied to Moray Council for permission to create mountain bike tracks on its slopes. The £100,000 plan is designed by renowned bike trail-building guru, Pete Laing, of Selkirk.
It is proposed that the two mountain bike tracks will be built between the chairlift and the first big lift on the Tomintoul side, as there are no ski runs there at the moment. One would be a red run and the other, a blue run. The top section will be a combined track which divides into two as it gets steeper. The tracks will have all the things involved in mountain biking - bombholes, jumps, tabletops and drop-offs.
If given the go ahead, the routes will be built over two years. The bottom half of one track will be built during 2008 and the other, next year.
Update - see our page on The Lecht Mountain Biking Trails.
Cycling Roadshows in Elgin and Forres
The Company of Cyclists Roadshow makes a week long visit to Moray ahead of the new cycling season to raise awareness about the benefits of cycling as an everyday means of transport, recreation and sport.
Over 40 different bikes will be available to try out ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary. Star of the show is undoubtedly the seven seater conference bike, of which there are only four in the world.
The roadshows will take place in Anderson's Primary School on Saturday 29 March and in Cooper Park, Elgin on Sunday 30 March. Both events run from 10.00 to 4.00pm and all activities are free. As well as the advice on offer from expert cyclists about maintenance and cycling safety there will also be the chance to get a free health check for your own bike with Doctor Bike.The event has been supported by Moray Council, Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity and Hitrans, the regional transport partnership.