Scottish Mountain Biking Local Hero

This award celebrates and recognises a local hero nominated by someone in their community. We were looking for the local hero who has made the most impact to their local MTB community.  We asked you to nominate the person in your community, whom you believe contributes more to the local MTB scene than anyone else, without whom things just wouldn't happen. Someone whose absolute passion, dedication and  determination makes them stand out.

Well, you did!  We were blown away by the entries.  There really are some incredible people out there passionate about this sport we all love.  These folks, on this shortlist, are particularly special.

Winner 2017

 Barbara Murray and Euan Speirits

Scottish Mountain Bike Awards 17 Rb 44 Local Hero Small

The full shortlist is:

Chris Bryant - KICC  Chris 2

Chris has set up, established and runs a local MTB club for kids called KICC. This club has this year received full Go-Ride Club status from the sports UK governing body British Cycling due to the excellent work lead by Chris. He also organises in conjunction with Borders live a fantastic annual kids MTB event the Scottish Schools MTB XC Championships. Whilst KICC is the not the first MTB club in the area, it has expanded the capacity and opportunity for children to join an MTB club, and develop their MTB skills through a structured, well disciplined and fun approach. The huge amount of personal time Chris puts into making sure it all works.

There are no doubt many who deserve recognition. The likes of Chris are often overlooked because they are such an obvious candidate.

Dorothy Carse - Petalpower Biking  Dorothy Carse

Dot is a stalwart of our local MTB group and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of routes in the area. She is very modest and jokes about getting us lost in bogs but actually she has shown us places we’d never have visited otherwise and is fondly known as “the oracle”. Her quiet, unflappable nature and sound knowledge of the outdoors has given many a wary novice rider the confidence they need to come out on new routes.

Dot has expanded the horizons of local riders within Petalpower Biking by encouraging women to explore routes they wouldn’t have had the confidence to attempt otherwise.  Dot can produce a map or route file for any location in Strathspey and has happily shared this information, even when her taxing family circumstances have meant she’s been unable to join us herself.

Dot has recently retired from work in order to care for her elderly parents. What she gives freely is local knowledge and wisdom which can’t easily be measured and quantified, and as a result would probably be overlooked in any other category, but is no less beneficial to mountain biking than more concrete contributions. But as someone who was mountain biking before mountain biking was even a thing, her superlative experience and generous nature are hugely appreciated by members of our club.

Barbara Murray - Velodees Aberdeen  Barbara 7

Barbara has been a key promoter of MTB in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire community. Firstly, as an assistant manager in an outdoors shop she regularly promotes mtb to passers-by and has directed female cyclists to local cycling groups to encourage them to get out cycling more.
Secondly, Barbara is a founding member of Velodees Aberdeen. Without Barbara, the female specific cycling group would never have started. She contacted local cycling consultant Jon Entwistle to coach the group which has spurned on to become a well established cycling group in the area with over 300 female members. This group is a focus point for all cycling disciplines but there is a large focus on MTB. Barbara will encourage people to go ride their mtb, point them in direction of appropriate local trails, offer advice on what bike, clothing etc. She also organized rides for women to go out and ride their mtb together through the Velodees group. 

Thirdly, Barbara did Strathpuffer in 2017 whilst breastfeeding her 3 month old baby. Through this she has inspired other mothers of young children to ride their mtb regularly, taking turns to watch the children whilst the others ride. These snippets of mtb action although small, provide a lifeline to women who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to ride their mtb.

Velodees Aberdeen cycling group would not exist without Barbara. Through this group women are riding their mtb with other women, making friends and spreading the word that mtb is not only good exercise but fantastic fun! There are weekly mtb rides happening, organized by Velodees that just wouldn’t happen had Barbara not set up the group. I personally have benefitted from this and the difference to my life is phenomenal.  More women are entering MTB competitions because they have been inspired by Barbara doing events with a young family. Examples include Ride Like a Girl race at Glenlivet and Strathpuffer and setting up Velodees Aberdeen female cycling group really has been fundamental in getting more women to ride their bike and consequently ride their MTB!

Barbara is incredibly passionate about MTB – within minutes of meeting Barbara she will have asked you if you ride a bike, given tips on where is good to ride and even offered people to ride with. A great example of this is how she makes new MTB friends – if she bumps into out on the trails it won’t be long before you’re out riding with her having a blast riding yer bike.

Euan Speirits - 4XWednesdays  Euan 3

Euan started a group called 4xWednesdays. It was started a year ago over Facebook to encourage mountain bikers to come to the Cumbernauld BMX track and get some fitness and new skills over the winter months. Since beginning a year ago, 4XWednesdays have had over 2000 attendees!   I had never met Euan before, and I don’t remember how I heard about it, but myself and a few friends attended from the first week. It was really relaxed and great fun so within a few weeks it was getting busier. Euan encouraged, promoted and updated the group on a pretty much daily basis. Each Wednesday would have some structure with choices of activities. What was great to see was within a few weeks there were a lot of kids attending and a lot of females. Euan really made everyone feel welcome, no matter their skill level. 4xwednesdays has now become a really popular meet up, not only every Wednesday but special training and exhibition events. Some with hundreds of riders of all ages. It has introduced 3 women into racing at 4xprotour level, got a young girl selected for regional BMX. It is in the process of becoming a registered charity to help juniors get into racing. The format was noticed over social media as being really successful and had now spurred 3 other UK locations doing 4xwednesdays. So in short Euan has created a meeting point that welcomes everyone to drop in at their choice and have great fun on their bike.

Every MTBer I know has been and will return to 4xwednesdays. So we have a meet up place that didn’t exist before, we have access to advise and skills that couldn’t be accessed freely before. For the folk that want it they will have support into racing where before they wouldn’t have known they would have been good enough.

During the first few months I was attending every week. Euan was always there, if the weather was terrible and the track was closed he would move the session to an indoor skatepark. At Xmas there was a special Xmas night with some prizes and a few top riders to help coach and show what can be done. At this point my group of mates were starting to wonder what was in this for Euan. There is no charge to attend 4xwednesdays, so every week Euan was there giving advise, operating the gate, organizing everyone over social media, doing the bigger events. The time involved in doing this is not insignificant! I then discovered that Euan is a surgeon working in the NHS. So on top of his job he devoted all this time to try and introduce folk to try 4x and then commit to it as it grew without reward. The group now has some sponsors, I am one. Being an optician I have sponsored the group by giving Euan some goggles to race in. But this didn’t happen until the summer, so until this point Euan was helping riders every week without any reward. Luckily there are a lot of selfless people who love mountain biking. The trail builders that spend the evenings digging so we have new and sufficient trails, the folk that give up their time to groups to campaign for MTB to the government, the local bike shop owners that struggle in a world of online discounts and fix kids bikes for free. Euan is definitely one of these selfless folk that MTB is better for having.  Every Wednesday regardless of the weather Euan is always there ready to share his knowledge of skills, bikes, and the sport. I have seen him stand around for hours in the cold and rain just to help improve other riders.

In addition to providing a place for adults and children to develop their mountain bike skills Euan has now founded a charity in order to support young children who want to get into racing 4X but who do not have the funds to do so. There are a lot of low income areas around Glasgow and this charity will be a huge help towards giving kids an opportunity that would normally be off limits from them.

Your Scottish Mountain Biking Local Hero 2016 - Sally Devlin

Lots More In Email If Required Sally 21st

Sally was nominated for this award by a number of unique individuals. They told us of her ambition to better her own biking skills and knowledge, by competing in road races, sportives and the enduro series across Scotland which also includes supporting other biking events held by others. They believed that by doing so, she brought home experiences to pass on to others within the local female MTB & road cycling community.

Over the last few years Sally has developed not only relationships with local and professional riders but also numerous bike companies. This has resulted in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, ambassador status for Madison Clothing, recognition by Specialized Bikes UK and appearing in top MTB publications.