Report - Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018 - Day 2


Download all the presentations from the conference.

The day opened with a fantastically supportive keynote speech from Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture Tourism and External Affairs.  Fiona explained the benefits that mountain biking can bring, explaining that mountain biking is an important contributor to Scotland’s tourism industry and is recognised as a rapidly growing sector that presents real opportunities for the Scottish economy. 

She applauded the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference as being a great occasion to enable partners to work closely to strengthen relationships across Scotland and internationally. She also reported that mountain biking is helping the Scottish Government achieve its targets within the national performance indicators in many areas including economic development, health and the environment.

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This was followed by a keynote presentation from Craig Burn, CEO of Scottish Cycling and Julie Harrington CEO British Cycling , focussing on the priorities of building a world class system of mountain biking at all levels and showing just how together both British and Scottish Cycling are transforming Britain into a great cycling nation. British Cycling were keen to show that as a priority they wanted to protect MTB funding in Scotland to protect future sustainability and spread the learning in Scotland to the rest of the country. 

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There then followed a thought provoking series of presentations from Edinburgh Napier University, on the research into the health benefits and impacts of mountain biking on mental and physical health and wellbeing. Professor Geraint Florida-James introduced Tony Westbury, Lewis Kirkwood and Dr Lesley Ingram each providing insights into their research areas. Effects on the immune system, positive and negative effects of vibrations and applying psychology to performance and physiological health and wellbeing. 

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There then followed an exceptional presentation by Surfers Against Sewage CEO Hugo Tagholm . Seeing a surfer on a mountain bike conference line up may have surprised some people, but when Hugo explained how the Surfers Against Sewage movement created a culture of people being part of and investing in their campaigns and wanting to protect the environment they loved and used, the message was clear. Hugo gave a perspective on how the mountain biking community could replicate this movement with the protection and stewardship of their trails. 

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Aneela McKenna – Go Where Scotland and Tweed Valley Trails Association , was up next continuing a thread running through the conference - inclusivity and diversity. Aneela gave a great talk on how to make mountain biking more welcoming for women, which drew on what she called her “grown-up job” as Equalities Manager at the Scottish Parliament. 

The stage was then taken by Chris Ball, Enduro World Series and Fanie Kok, Global Specialized. Highlighting the work that Specialized and the EWS machine are doing to promote trail sustainability across the globe. Their joint talk described some of the methods they’ve used to engage mountain bikers and teach them about trail stewardship.

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Workshops were then delivered by Scottish Natural Heritage and Edinburgh Napier University- MTB and Scottish Natural Health Service, asking the question, how do we effectively integrate mountain biking into more community and professional health environments? DMBinS - Future of Campaigning and Support, asking the question, to ensure we maximise the benefits of mountain biking, how do we work together to create a more sustainable and effective support structure? Finally Scottish Cycling and British Cycling - MTB Leadership. Growing the number of leaders will be crucial in helping more people access the sport – the question was asked – how do we achieve this in a sustainable manner?

Day 2 ended with an inspirational talk from 3 young mountain bikers Isla Short, Brodie Hood and Douglas Carchrie . Each told their story showing how mountain biking has enhanced their lives and created their very different career paths. They gave an insight into the current state of Scottish Mountain biking from their perspective and how they thought the sport should develop in the future.  

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On the evening of Day Two, Bothy Bikes and Glenmore Lodge led night rides for delegates. 

Together with the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland we hosted the Scottish Mountain Bike Awards 2018 - a fantastic night celebrating the many success stories within Scottish mountain biking.