TweedLove’s Transcend Festival is not just fun for cyclists but families too!

Family hobby...has turned into a passion for the Birks, with the boys competing in TweedLove events and Jamie and Sarah working for the organisers.
Family hobby...has turned into a passion for the Birks, with the boys competing in TweedLove events and Jamie and Sarah working for the organisers.

There’s far more to TweedLove’s Transcend Bike Festival than just serious racing.

Now in its 10th year, the bike festival is moving to a new home at Nether Pirn Farm, near Innerleithen, from June 7 to June 9.

Master of ceremonies...Jamie Birks admits to being petrified when he was asked to MC initially but he's now an old hand and jokes people are sick of the sound of his voice by the end of Transcend! (Pic: Courtesy of Out of Office)

Master of ceremonies...Jamie Birks admits to being petrified when he was asked to MC initially but he's now an old hand and jokes people are sick of the sound of his voice by the end of Transcend! (Pic: Courtesy of Out of Office)

While it will attract big names on the enduro circuit, such as local heroes Katy Winton and Lewis Buchanan, the Tweed Valley event has far more besides.

Master of ceremonies Jamie Birks, who has become the voice of the festival, knows more than most what Transcend has to offer.

He competed in his first enduro event at TweedLove nine years ago and became its MC five years ago.

The Birks family have all since come to love the festival, including Jamie’s wife Sarah and their three children, twin boys Ally and Billy (13) and Johnny (9).

In the thick of it...Jamie competing in enduro before he became the MC.

In the thick of it...Jamie competing in enduro before he became the MC.

The Traquair family attend the event together and love every minute of it.

Jamie said: “I took part in the Glentress Sevens in the festival’s second year and have been involved ever since, albeit the last few years as MC.

“When the boys got into cycling, Sarah thought she might as well too so it’s something we all enjoy now, as a family.

“The festival is so family-oriented, we have a great time over the three days.

“There’s something for all ages to enjoy and this year there’s even more entertainment and events for families.”

A hobby has since become a passion for Jamie and Sarah, who both work for festival event directors Fiona and Neil Dalgleish.

Sarah runs Easy Riders, a group which encourages mums and grans to get back on their bikes.

And, as well as running his own car body repair firm, Jamie acts as MC at many TweedLove events and also coaches the TweedLove Collective, a new initiative this year.

He said: “It’s a team of seven young riders who show real promise and compete in national races across the UK.

“Our two older boys are part of the collective, as is national champion Phoebe Gale who is already competing at a very high level.

“The aim of the collective is to nurture talent and help them fund their cycling, as it can be an expensive sport.

“Local pro riders, including Gary Forrest and Sam Flockhart, have also given up their time to help support the team.”

It was actually coaching that secured Jamie the MC post at TweedLove.

“I landed the gig, almost by accident,” he said.

“I was coaching a local kids’ club, Kicc, which joined forces with another club, Cranked, to organise the first TweedLove family day.

“Because someone had to do it, I ended up as MC. Neil and Fiona spotted me and asked if I’d be happy to MC the main event.

“I was petrified the first year but I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m MC at most of the TweedLove events now throughout the year.

“Transcend is obviously the big one though – by the end of it people are well and truly sick of my voice!”

Being local undoubtedly helps though as Jamie knows many of the businesses and people in Innerleithen who support Transcend.

And without their help, the festival may not have survived to celebrate its 10th year in 2019.

“Transcend could not happen without the support of the community,” said Jamie. “If people didn’t buy into it, it woud be impossible to stage, not least because we need so many volunteers.

“Luckily, we get a huge amount of support from local people and businesses, with hundreds volunteering every year to lend a hand.

“It truly is a community event and we’re very grateful for all the support we have received over the years.”

So what can festival-goers expect this year?

There will be more action for cyclists including the sold-out Transcend Epic, the UK’s first two-day, multi venue, uplift-served enduro, as well as the Transcenduro, Transcenduro Boost and Enjoyro.

It will also host gravel event Bergamont Gritopia, sessions with local MTB coaches, a guided history ride with Swift Trails and a Pumptrack championship.

Visitors will have the chance to test some 250 bikes from brand leaders while wee ones enjoy the Frog Bikes Kids Adventure Zone – a mini bike festival all of their own!

The free GO e-bike family ride will also see hundreds cycle along the traffic-free Tweed Valley Railway Path.

Jamie added: “There will be live music all weekend, a food village and Tempest’s beerfest bar.

“It’s going to be a great weekend for cyclists and spectators alike – so make sure you don’t miss it!”

For more details or to enter events, visit tweedlove.com.