On 11th-13th November 2014, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) hosted the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference - International Edition. A 3-day event the aim of aiding the continued progress of mountain biking in Scotland, sharing our successes with an international audience and learning from examples of good practice from around the globe.
Held at Peebles Hydro within the phenomenal Tweed Valley, Day One focused on Sport & Participation; Day Two on Tourism & Economic Development and Day Three was an opportunity to visit case studies of good practice in mountain biking provision across Scotland.
Working with event partners Scottish Borders Council, Visit Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University, the conference attracted over two hundred delegates from 13 different countries to hear from some of the world's leading figures in mountain biking including the General Manager of Whistler Blackcomb/Crankworx, Darren Kinnaird; adventure rider, Hans "No Way" Rey; Commonwealth Games star, Grant Ferguson; and a key driver behind New Zealand's growth in mountain biking participation, Chris Foggin.Back
Day One of the conference focused on Participation & Sport. The conference was opened by Ian Ross, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage, followed by keynote speeches from Chris Foggin of Bike NZ, Commonwealth Games athlete Grant Ferguson and Angus Duncan from Falkirk Council. Workshops were delivered by Tweed Valley Bike Patrol, Scottish Cycling (participation programmes), sportscotland (building, managing & maintaining MTB trails) and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (supporting trail repair). Day One also included a presentation on the nominations for Scottish MTB Community or School Club of the Year which was awarded to Larbert High School.Back
The first presentation was delivered by Graeme McLean from Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland with an update on the implementation of the National Strategic Framework for mountain biking in Scotland and the key actions which have helped increase participation.
This was followed by a presentation from Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling, on Scottish Cycling's vision for the development of the sport in Scotland - creating a world class participation and sporting pathway.
Angus Duncan, Outdoor Access Officer for Falkirk Council, delivered a keynote speech demonstrating good practice in creating and supporting a network of informal recreation opportunities for off-road biking. View this presentation here (images removed to reduce file size).
After lunch, Chris Foggin from Bike NZ took to the stage with a lively presentation on how the governing body for cycling in New Zealand has worked alongside mountain bikers to achieve community-based approaches to mountain biking provision and promotion; integrated city-wide developments and programmes to increase participation and sports development.
Following a break for workshops, Scottish Cycling Commonwealth Games athlete and Scotland's leading cross-country mountain biker Grant Ferguson took to the stage with a personal story of how he got into the sport and the key development milestones enroute to becoming British champion. Grant also spoke about the importance of inspiring more people to participate in mountain biking at a higher level and of his personal experiences mountain biking in Scotland and abroad. Download Grant's presentation and notes here.
Following Grant's inspirational talk, there was a presentation on the 2014 School or Community Club of the Year. Larbert High School were announced as winners and were presented with their award from Grant Ferguson.Back
Tom Nash from Tweed Valley Bike Patrol delivered a workshop on the potential for bike patrols to be rolled out across Scotland. Jim Riach from Scottish Cycling delivered a workshop on participation programmes and how Scottish Cycling as the governing body in Scotland can improve engagement with a range of partners to increase participation in cycling. Kate Matthews from sportscotland delivered an engaging workshop on the current development of a good practice guide on building, managing and maintaining mountain bike trails to develop local and regional facilities. Graeme McLean from Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland delivered a workshop on how DMBinS and partners can support communities to help maintain and repair local trails.Back
Day Two of the conference focused on Tourism & Economic Development. The conference was opened by Paula McDonald from Visit Scotland followed by keynote presentations by Chris Ball (Enduro World Series), Lesley Beck (Fort William Downhill World Cup), Lee Musson (7Stanes), Darren Kinnaird (Whistler Blackcomb) and Hans Rey. Workshops were delivered by SUSTRANS & Paths for All (long distance trails); Wild Scotland & Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (good practice guide for MTB tour operators etc.); Scottish Cycling (the future of Enduro); and Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland & Scottoiler (business support for MTB innovation in Scotland).Back
Day Two of the conference focused on Tourism & Economic Development. Paula McDonald, Scottish Borders & Dumfries and Galloway Regional Director from Visit Scotland, opened the conference with an overview of the importance of off-road biking and mountain biking in creating tourism and subsequent economic growth which follows. View this presentation here.
Graeme McLean from Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland delivered a presentation on the implementation of the national strategic framework for mountain biking in Scotland and the key actions which have helped increase tourism and economic development.
This was followed by keynote presentations from Chris Ball, founder of Enduro World Series, and Lesley Beck from Rare Management, the company responsible for organising the Fort William Downhill World Cup. Both Chris and Lesley delivered inspiring presentations on the importance of world class mountain biking events in creating a global platform for Scottish mountain biking. They also gave their opinions on how such events can be used to inspire more Scots to participate and how these events can be used to promote mountain biking in Scotland more effectively to enhance Scotland's reputation around the world. View Chris Ball's presentation here and Lesley Beck's presentation here.
Lee Musson from 7Stanes CIC gave a presentation on the successes and challenges of marketing mountain biking in the South of Scotland.
This was followed by an inspiring presentation from Darren Kinnaird of Whistler Blackcomb on the development and key successes in running Crankworx - the world's largest bike festival which attracts over 140,000 people per year. Topics included the partnership involved in promoting a complete destination, promoting a complete brand, community engagement to develop the brand, the future of mountain biking globally, his experiences of mountain biking in Scotland and how Scotland compares globally.
Later in the day, the world's foremost adventure rider, Hans 'No Way' Rey, took to the stage to tell of his experiences riding his bike across the globe and how Scotland compares globally.Back
SUSTRANS and Paths for All led a joint workshop on expanding the resource of the network of long distance trails for walking and cycling to responsibly promote to mountain bikers.
Wild Scotland and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland delivered a workshop on the newly-launched good practice guide for mountain biking tour operators, guides, coaches and skills instructors. The discussion focused on how mountain biking businesses can deliver a quality experience to every mountain bike visitor.
Scottish Cycling led a workshop on the future on Enduro with an esteemed panel consisting Chris Ball, founder of Enduro World Series; Darren Kinnaird, from Whistler Blackcomb; local elite enduro athlete Katy Winton; and Neil Dalgleish from TweedLove.
Danny Cowe, Business Development Officer from the newly-opened Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, led a joint workshop with Chris Simpson from Scottoiler on the support available for mountain bike businesses from idea through to attendance at international trade shows such as Eurobike. The workshop also gave delegate the opportunity to discuss whether there are gaps in the system or improvements to be made in supporting the growing mount bike innovation culture in Scotland.Back
On the evening of Day Two, the newly-opened Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland hosted a social evening with Hans Rey which included a showing of Scottish mountain biking videos; 'Mountain Biking in Scotland' photography competition sponsored by Lemon Digital Design; a signing session with Hans Rey; and a specially branded 'Hans Rey IPA' beer brewed by local brewery Freewheelin'.Back
Day Three of the conference consisted of a selection of optional field trips demonstrating good practice in mountain biking provision and support across Scotland. From Fort William to Glentress, delegates had the opportunity to view urban trail networks, the 2014 Commonwealth Games trails and much more.Back
Nevis Range, Fort William - Trails from beginner through to world cup champion
Damien Forster and Heather Negus from Nevis Range, Fort William gave a presentation on the process of creating a trail network which can take a rider from beginner to World Cup champion. This included a brief history of mountain biking at Nevis Range; the funding of the trail network; their work with FCS to secure a lease for the trail network; the creation of new green and blue trails (including the tourism opportunities from offering a wider selection of trails and the challenges in promoting entry level trails and their future development plans.
Templeton Tangle Trails, Dundee - A whole city approach to mountain biking development
Lucy Ryan from Dundee City Council gave a presentation on the story of their mountain bike development. This included how they integrated the development of trails into their outdoor access strategy; the production of city wide route cards linked through a largely off-road cycle way; their city wide approach to understanding where and what the trails should look like through a feasibility study; their work with Active Schools, Discovery JCC and Dundee Association of Mental Health to increase participation; the creation of the Templeton Tangle; their involvement in the Big Tree Campervans Tayside & Fife Regional Youth MTB Series; and their future development plans.
Callendar Estate, Falkirk - Innovative ideas to create, sustain and maintain an urban trail network
Guy Wedderburn from Bespoke trails, Callendar Estate, Falkirk gave a presentation on the innovative ideas they have employed to create, sustain and maintain an urban trail network. This included their motivations behind creating a mountain bike trail network in Callander Estate; funding the trail network; engaging the local community to volunteer to maintain the trails; the creation of an Event role with the Community Interest Company to coordinate activity and increase usage of trails; their work with the Employability Team at Falkirk Council, using apprentices to maintain the trail network and create new jobs in the local community and the erection of a cafe, bike shop and skills area to create a destination. This was followed by a guided walk around the trails.
Cathkin Braes, Glasgow - Creating a mountain bike culture after the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Jake Lovatt from Glasgow Life gave a presentation on the creation of the Cathkin Braes mountain bike trails and the future of creating a mountain bike culture as a legacy of the Commonwealth Gmaes trails. This included an overview of the trail itself, its quality as a race venue, the plans for the future development of the site including the hosting of local, regional and national events; the use of the facility for quality coaching provisions and club sessions and linking the venue with other facilities nearby to improve the mountain bike culture in the West of Scotland. this was followed by a guided walk around the site.
Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore - Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre, supporting the development of mountain biking
Glenmore Lodge gave a presentation on how they, as the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre, support the development of mountain biking. This included their support for SMBLA award through to the new UK Mountain Bike Leader Award; how they have integrated the development of trails into their existing site; their MTB workshops and their use of the Velotech training scheme; their dedicated 'bike' team and their hosting of the CTC Volunteer Trail Repair Co-ordinator courses and Trail Inspection courses.
Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Glentress – Creating a community to develop business, sport and participation in mountain bikingIn this well attended workshop, lead academic for the Centre, Geraint Florida-James, gave a presentation on the development of the mountain bike innovation project and the various uses of the newly-opened Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland. This was followed by a video analysis exercise by Morrocco Media, looking at line choices with Hans Rey on the adjacent trails at Glentress. Back
Through a survey issued following the conference, we were able to gather information on how participants and delegates found the content, format and organisation of the conference. We are pleased to report that the vast majority of our delegates found the conference enjoyable and well organised, and that the majority of delegates left the conference feeling more knowledgeable on Scotland's position as a world-class mountain biking country. Delegates commented on the benefits of having a 'state of the nation' style event, finding the sharing of best practice/ ideas amongst international delegates and various sections of the mountain biking community very useful.Back
Our sincere thanks go to our event partners Visit Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, Edinburgh Napier University, Ian Linton Photography, Morrocco Media and ZTZ Trails. Thanks also to Peebles Hydro for hosting the conference. Thank you to all our speakers and workshop leaders who travelled from far and wide to share their experiences with our international delegates. Thank you to our photography competition sponsors Lemon Digital Design, and to local brewers Freewheelin' for providing the Hans Rey IPA especially for the event.
Finally, thank you to our delegates who, through our shared passion for mountain biking and your contributions to the many discussions that took place across the three days of the conference, have helped us to move mountain biking further forward in Scotland.Back