On 17th-19th November 2016, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) hosted the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference - Innovation Edition. A 3-day event the with the aim of aiding the continued progress of mountain biking in Scotland, sharing our innovative successes with an international audience and learning from examples of good practice from around the globe.
Key Aims of Conference were to:
The conference focused on innovations in mountain biking, both from within Scotland and the latest innovations across the world. Innovation is traditionally associated with developing new physical products but we believe that the etho’s and attitude which are required to help progression and improvements can be applied to tourism, sport, increasing participation, alongside product development.
Held at the Macdonald Highland Resort in Aviemore within the phenomenal Cairngorms National Park, Day One focused on Tourism & Economic Development; Day Two on Sport & Participation and Day Three was an opportunity to visit case studies of mountain biking provision across the Highlands.
Working with event delivery partners VisitScotland, Highland Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Scottish Cycling and Cairngorms Business Partnership. The conference welcomed 277 delegates from 12 different countries to hear from some of the world's leading figures in mountain biking including Mark Torsius from the International Mountain Bike Association, Professor Geraint Florida James from Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland an Edinburgh Napier University and Andrew Denton from the Outdoor Industries Association. MTB Legends Gary Fisher and Tracy Moseley topped of a fantastic line up of speakers.
Delegates were also able to visit an exhibition from event partners Highlands & Island Enterprise, SBP Creative, Morrocco Media, Glenmore Lodge, MIME Technologies and Odysseon.
Around the conference we organised a media trip with the support of H&I Adventures, Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland (MTBCoS) and 11 Scottish mountain bike product companies. Click on the links to view some highlights of their riding adventures and the media's perspective on how Scottish mountain biking is developing.Back
Day one of the conference focused on the impact which mountain biking contributes to tourism & economic development.
The conference was opened by Lee Cousins, Chair of DMBinS and its board the ‘MTB Consortium’, welcoming delegates to the conference.
We were delighted that despite not being able to attend the conference due to other diary commitments the conference was considered of high enough importance to the Scottish Government that they pre-recorded a Ministerial address by Fergus Ewing MSP Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. Fergus spoke about the valuable contribution that mountain biking is making to the rural economy and Danny MacAskill.
The first presentation on the stage was from Graeme McLean project manager of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland with an update on the refresh of the National Strategic Framework for mountain biking in Scotland and the key actions and strategies which have helped increase tourism and economic development in Scotland.
Scott Armstrong from VisitScotland delivered a keynote speech looking at the impact of the first 6 months of the new era of Visit Scotland on promoting mountain biking and cycle tourism.
There followed an inspiring talk from Adrian Greiner, Bike Plan Switzerland, on the innovative methodology utilised to develop mountain biking destinations in Switzerland where advanced project planning systems are put in place to create sustainable mountain bike destinations.
After a short refreshment break, Andrew Denton from the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) joined the conference through a skype presentation and informed the audience on the impact of industry collaboration on changing Westminister Government policy. Demonstrating their belief that this approach will simultaneously grow the outdoor market, to the benefit of the industry, whilst contributing to reducing obesity and creating a healthier population.
From a more local perspective, two local destination management organisations, Mark Tate of Cairngorms Business Partnership and Frazer Coupland, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce/Outdoor Capital UK, shared their experience of the impact of mountain biking to the Highlands.
Then followed a presentation by Moira Forsyth of Scottish Enterprise and Steven Findlay of Frontline giving delegates an analysis of the economic impact of mountain biking in Scotland.
Professor Geraint Florida-James from Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University detailed how Scotland’s innovation centre is helping foster a culture of innovation in Scottish mountain biking businesses and is contributing towards the economy of Scotland.
Severin Schindler from Bike Plan Switzerland delivered a workshop on the Swiss model of Bike Hotels as an example of good practice and investigated hoe this model could be rolled out across Scotland. John Ireland from Forestry Commission Scotland, Frazer Coupland, No Fuss Events and Bob McFarlane, Scottish Cycling hosted an panel session looking at options of managing unsustainable singletrack, looking to find solutions to manage the growing trail network. Danny Cowe, Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland delivered an engaging workshop on the mountain bike industry in Scotland and looked at does it need an industry led association? To give a coordinated voice and promote interests?
The day closed with an incredible flick through the archives with full time legend, Gary Fisher.
Gary treated us all to some fantastic stories and photos that really showed the innovations in the sport, not just through his astounding career, but in the industry in general.Back
Day one of the conference featured evening entertainment with the inaugural Scottish Mountain Bike Awards.
After a fantastic Taste of Scotland Dinner, provided by the Macdonald Aviemore Resort, the awards were hosted by Graeme McLean, DMBinS and Danny Cowe, MTBCoS.
There was a relaxed atmosphere and the event focused not only on the winners of each award but on a celebration of the many achievements in Scottish mountain biking in all forms - from new & innovative products to mountain bike participation to our best cubs and athletes through to our tourism companies - there is a lot to celebrate in Scottish mountain biking at the moment.
Although it was a friendly atmosphere - it still was an award ceremony, and nerves were apparent, as the nominees were read out and the winners announced. The winners were selected by a mix of public vote and a panel of judges.
The event was such a success it is highly likely that this will become an annual event.
The winners of the inaugural Scottish Mountain Bike Awards are:-
Product Innovation of the Year – FlaérBest Scottish Business to Academic Collaboration – Flaér and Edinburgh Napier UniversityBest Scottish Exporter – EnduraMTB Friendly accommodation provider – Comrie Croft, ScotlandMTB Tour operator, guide or skills instructor of the Year – H+I AdventuresEvent of the Year – TweedLoveClub of the Year – Arran High SchoolCommunity Project of the Year – Stirling Cycle HubLocal Hero – Sally DevlinScottish Female Rider of the Year – Katy WintonScottish Male Rider of the Year – Greg WilliamsonLifetime Achievement Award – Gary FisherHall of Fame – UCI World Cup, Fort WilliamBack
Day two presentations focused on mountain biking participation and sport development, in particular looking at a range of innovations and good practices existing in Scotland and globally.
Graeme McLean project manager of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland delivered a presentation on the refresh of the national strategic framework for mountain biking in Scotland and the key actions which have helped increase participation and sport development.
This was then followed by a keynote presentation from Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling, explaining the priorities of building a world class system of mountain biking at all levels here in Scotland.
After a tea break there followed a presentation from Mark Torsius, IMBA Europe, who presented on a range of initiatives and innovations from across Europe which are helping to increase participation in mountain biking. He was then joined on stage by IMBA Europe and the Danish Cycling Association MTB Advocacy Officer who has supported, over the last 15 years, the Danish trailbuilding scene which has risen from zero trails and zero volunteers to more than a hundred trails and thousands of volunteers. This is the result of an innovative approach from the governing body and landowners that both allowed and invited trailbuilders to start trail projects in the national forests across the land.
Pete Crane, Cairngorms National Park Authority, provided an inspiring presentation showcasing just what the Cairngorms National Park has to offer. He also highlighted just what the Authority were doing meet the growing needs of the many visitors across the Park.
Following lunch Lee Craigie, Cycle Therapy and The Adventure Syndicate, wowed the audience with an inspirational introduction to her innovative project Cycle Therapy and ended with a fantastic short film.
Nicki Diggins from the University of Highlands and Islands gave a presentation on mountain bike leadership and how MTB leadership can be used to create links between school, college and work. She used the recent Level 1 leadership pilot study in Kingussie as an example of good practice.
Pamela Barclay, Endura, then delivered a insight into the world of Endura and the innovative new project the Endura Lifecycles Barn. The vision being through the vehicle of mountain biking, help unlock the broader potential in the lives of those less able to access the great outdoors.
There then followed 3 workshops. The first focused on responsible access with Highland Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Open MTB and British Cycling. Looking at the implications of outdoor access in Scotland and how would these be implemented in England and Wales.
The second, facilitated by Scottish Cycling and The Adventure Syndicate was looking at increasing woman’s participation in mountain biking and how the roll out of a plan for women’s cycling is being delivered.
The third, facilitated by British Cycling, Scottish Cycling and Glenmore Lodge looked at options for growing mountain bike leadership to increase participation and ensure leadership contributes to the wider sporting pathway.
The conference day ended with an inspirational talk from 3 X World Enduro Champion,Tracy Moseley. Tracy was able to share some fantastic photos and stories of highlights in her career so far and talked about her love of riding in Scotland.
On the evening of Day Two, the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland hosted an amazing and relaxed social evening. After a delicious 'Scottish BBQ' provided by Macdonald Aviemore Resort, the main event of the evening was the fantastic screening, on the Macdonald Aviemore Resort 4K cinema, of Blue Hippo Media’s ‘Mountain Biking – The untold British Story’.
The screening was introduced by one of the stars of the film, Gary Fisher.
After the cinema everyone returned to the bar to complete the voting in our photography competition which was sponsored by Lemon Digital Design. The amazing top 10 entries are now on display at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland including the winning entry - an amazing shot of Joe Barnes riding trails above Fort William - congratulations Brodie Hood!Back
Day three of the conference consisted of optional case studies which highlighting areas of Scottish mountain biking which require greater levels of discussion and ride-outs after the formal sessions.
Delegates were given the option of visiting High Burnside, Aviemore, where Land Managers, supported by Scottish National Heritage, are working and communicating with the local mountain bike community to establish boundaries around trail development, responsible mountain biking and responsible land management. The field visit involved a discussion the practical measures the estate has undertaken to engage with the local bike community. After lunch the delegates were offered the choice of two rides.
The second option was a visit to Glenlivet Trail Centre to meet the land managers and hear about they are overcoming the challenges of sustaining a trail centre in a rural area. The delegates were then taken to Ballater, where local bike shop owner, Richard Watts, Cycle Highlands took the group on a guided local ride where they heard about the balance that a local bike shop undertakes to ensure that there are sufficient levels of promotion to sustain a business whilst not damaging the amazing ‘natural’ singletrack that the area has to offer.Back
We would like to thank al our event delivery partners, Macdonald Aviemore Resort, event partners, all our tremendous speakers, Gary Fisher and Tracy Moseley for being legends and all the delegates who helped create a memorable and inspirational conference.