NEW funding totalling £175,000 has been secured over the next two years from the Scottish Borders LEADER Programme to develop and enhance the work of the Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Project.
The project, which initially secured funding support from Scottish Borders Council, LEADER and Scottish Enterprise in 2009, involved the creation of the Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Group and has supported a host of activities to promote the Scottish Borders as a cycling destination.
Key achievements to date have included training and workshops for businesses involved in the cycling tourism supply chain; product development - including the Borders Bike Kit; and route guide itineraries such as the new Southern Borders Loop.
Over the next two years the group will use the LEADER funding to continue to support activity to grow cycling tourism in the Scottish Borders and in particular maximise the potential of high-profile cycling events in the region such as the Tour of Britain, the Tour Ride and local Sportive events. It will also be used to help develop the on-line offering through www.cyclescottishborders.com.
Councillor Vicky Davidson, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic development, said: “The Scottish Borders’ reputation as a road cycling destination has been greatly enhanced by events such as the Tour of Britain.
“The Grand Depart of the whole tour will be in Peebles this year and events like this provide an amazing platform to showcase road cycling in the region.
“The Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Group, supported by the council’s economic development team, will work with local businesses so that as much of the expenditure as possible is retained in the local economy.
Nicola Watt from Scottish Enterprise said: “We have seen a real step change in leisure cycling in the Scottish Borders as a result of this project. By businesses working together, gaps in the Borders cycling product were identified and tourism businesses have developed or new startup companies moved in to fill these gaps.
“The region now has several businesses offering bike transport services. More cycle hire facilities and more businesses are taking part in the Cyclists Welcome Scheme than any other area of Scotland.
“This second phase of funding provides an excellent opportunity to generate even greater impact on the progress made so far.”