Scottish Mountain Bike Community Project of the Year

This award was designed to showcase the amazing work which is being delivered outside of the formal club structure.  It is aimed at groups/associations/people/hubs who come together for the benefit of their local MTB community (eg trail builders, participation programmes, volunteering).  The award recognises local communities who encourage and develop mountain biking in their area. 

We received some incredible entries and this was your shortlist for 2019 and the winner was Inverness Royal Academy Cycle Hub!


Aberdeenshire Trail Association

Ata (2)

Extract from ATA submission :- 

The ATA works with landowners/managers to adopt trails and improve them. The focus has been to maintain both authorised and unauthorised trails to increase safety and create working relationships with landowners. A critical part of this is improving the quality of the trails for riders. Beyond just improving safety and durability we wanted to make the trails more fun, flow better and give riders a great experience on ATA maintained trails.

The foundations of the project began through a bringing together of likeminded professional individuals who shared a vision for adopting natural trail assets and developing a culture of custodianship amongst the rapidly growing mountain bike community in Aberdeenshire.

Established in late 2018, the project seeks to address the conflicts surrounding unauthorised trail digging by bringing the community forward in parallel with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Since this time the Aberdeenshire Trail Association has become internationally known for its innovative and proactive approach to natural trail management. The work has concentrated on the environmental, social and economic benefits of accessing natural trails on mountain bikes as well as promoting the values of community, quality and positivity.

Aberdeenshire Trail Association rapidly moved to adopt a small community asset trail along with a network of informal natural trail networks upon public forestry land. Through over 1500 hrs of voluntary effort, the ATA has proven that active and proper maintenance will actively reduce liability, increase durability and engage a spectrum of the community who would have otherwise endorsed unauthorised trail building; as well as benefit local communities.

From the outset there has been a focus on doing things the right way. It’s critical to show a change of approach from the way trails were created previously. Working in a professional way builds trust with landowners and helps ensure were effective in the way we work. That is why we have a trained group of 15 coordinators to inspect, plan and coordinate all trail work. All the ATA work is carried out under a formal agreement with each respective landowner and the group has its own insurance to carry out the work. The trail days and nights are planned and structured events for volunteers to work with the group to improve their trails.

The ATA involved as many stakeholders as possible including: Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (a key supporter), Forest and Land Scotland (a key liability holder), a range of private landowners, the North East of Scotland Mountain bike Industry Cluster group, race event organisers, local mountain bike businesses including retail, guiding/coaching, a trail centre developer, a trail construction company, and of course the riding community targeting as wide and diverse a demographic as possible.

The ATA has actively maintained formal community trails at Pitfichie and Tarland Trails as well as adopting and maintaining natural trails at Pitfichie, Glen Tanar Estate, a section of the iconic Heartbreak Ridge in the Cairngorms National Park, and now embarks on a collaborative partnership with Birse Community trust to maintain and enhance their natural trail network.

Inverness Royal Academy Cycle Hub 

Extract from the Royal Academy submission:-

In 2018 we identified that there were very few mountain biking opportunities at Inverness Royal Academy (IRA) which is a school of approx. 1200 pupils. The IRA Community Sport Hub was successful in receiving sportscotland’s Go Live Get Active funding & a grant from Cycling Scotland. The purpose of the cycle hub was to grow and promote cycling opportunities within the school and wider community, particularly targeting those who were not engaged in sport and from a deprived area.

The meaningful collaboration behind this has allowed a wide range of new cycling opportunities to be developed for the first time. We have taken best practice & learning from other schools and community projects showcased by DMBinS/Scottish Cycling such as Grantown Grammar, Dingwall Academy & Larbert High School. This has meant that we have managed to achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time and built strong foundations for a sustainable project.

The ethos of a sports hub is that resources and energy are pulled together for the greater good. This has been fundamental to the ongoing success of the project. Key to this is the involvement from PE & Nurture base staff, school pupils, Scottish Cycling, Cycling Scotland, High Life Highland Hub Officer & Active Schools, Youth Development, Velocity Café & Bike Workshop, Sustrans and The Adventure Syndicate. This collaboration is unique in Highlands if not all of Scotland.

We have had some outstanding results:-

A new fleet of 14 mountain bikes based at the school, supported by a local business. 

 A new fully equipped workshop with procedures & guidance from local supporters & businesses. 

The school nurture base has been delivering mountain biking with 12 pupils & have successfully renovated the bike workshop. 

 S4-6 pupils have had mountain biking inc overnight bike-packing during the school week. 

Dr Bike session at Hilton Community Centre (within a deprived community) in March with 9 families attending and in school with 19 staff & pupils bikes fixed. As part of school bike week the school completed Match the Miles. 

Friday afternoon mtb coaching sessions with Scottish Cycling North, 30 pupils at the taster event and 10 regular attendees, many of whom do not own a mountain bike. They were also sign-posted towards Dirt Crits. 

1 new volunteer recruited with mechanic & leadership qualifications. 

1 new velotech mechanic trained to help look after the fleet, 2 new Mountain Bike Leaders trained. 

Partnership working with Velocity & Sustrans to develop bikeability in the cluster, active travel mapping and more Dr Bike events 

The school was awarded a cycle friendly school award by Cycling Scotland and has had inspirational visits from Katie Archibald, Lee Craigie & Jenny Graham.

Platform Girls


Extract from the Platform submission:-

This project began in 2017 to boost cycling opportunities for girls in Fife. Girls and young women are not participating in the same numbers in club level activity and in SIMD areas no girls attend. Cycling uptake by females is low nationally (8% of women; Scottish Household Survey, 2016). This project aims to tackle this on a local level in Fife.

Kirkcaldy has good cycling infrastructure; a thriving community club (Middleden MTB Club), community facilities (newly upgraded MTB trails, paths, and shared use paths and routes) a community youth Bike Club and Gallatown Bike hub (with new pump track on its way). This makes the area perfect for developing opportunities in the community.

Platform is a unique health and well-being cycling project delivered by Fife Council that creates a ‘Platform for Success’. Platform is aimed at encouraging young women and girls age 9- 16yrs to develop a love for cycling and be inspired to enjoy the outdoors in Templehall (top 5% SIMD Datazone 2016), Kirkcaldy. It develops life skills, raises awareness of positive mental health and attitude, and a safe space for participants to grow. Most importantly it makes cycling fun and easy.   

Platform creates a safe, friendly and welcoming space for inactive girls and young women to develop fundamental skills from body self-esteem, friendships, physical competence and confidence as well as learning to ride a bike effectively and develop physical fitness. Participants are carefully referred through a questionnaire with comments from school staff based on existing activity levels, reduced involvement and girls at risk of disengagement. 

Platform cycling activities are delivered weekly, during the school day locally in Kirkcaldy. We store our bikes and equipment in Middleden’s container and go out on local paths and the MTB trails.  We have also attended the Fort William Downhill World Cup, Glenmore Lodge for a residential experience, Lochore outdoor activities and Fife Cycle Park.

Particular focus is on tackling poverty and inequalities,and improving health and well-being. We remove the financial and physical barriers to participation. Execution of this project has involved extensive planning and precision delivery. It is delivered to tackle local issues such as poverty, inactivity, inequality and poorer outcomes in life and is built around the lives of the participants to ensure it is easy to access and free. Success lies not only in the inspirational delivery of the activities but in the ease of accessibility and a pathway that supports each individual.

 Sessions are delivered away from the school grounds to ensure the girls don’t experience any negativity or worry about on lookers. We explore their local neighbourhood on bikes exposing them to new areas that are walking distance from home but they were unaware of them, or their perceptions were negative. 

The exceptional partnership work and positive relationships has elevated this project to achieve excellence. Delivered in partnership with Community Learning, the schools, club and groups. The project has been specifically planned to work with the school Curriculum for Excellence, the Plan for Fife and national priorities which has meant that partners recognise and value the project’s ethos – embracing and encouraging its development. This enables the project to be delivered to its full capacity with 100% support for each aspect.   

Key to its successes is the attention paid to ensuring each participate is made to feel welcome and an integral member of group. Equipment and specialist clothing are provided to all. Cycling is introduced in a relaxed and friendly environment. All activities are interactive, and participant led creating opportunities to form friendships, develop confidence and self-esteem. Participants are continually consulted on planning, delivery and execution of sessions as well as the choice of trips. This includes designing the Platform logo and trips such as the residential in Aviemore and attendance at Comrie Croft festival. Participants become active, empowered and confident over a period of sessions, their success is rewarded and recognised at each step. Deliverers pay particular attention to ensuring that participants develop a positive attitude towards physical activity, each other and cycling.   

Platform has incorporated an accreditation element with an opportunity to gain certification – Dynamic Youth Awards and Leadership qualifications; I Can Lead, Bike Leadership, Education Through Cashback Training. These lifelong skills and far reaching opportunities will equip our group for a positive destination

Some amazing things happening across Scotland - now over to the judges to decide who should be the Community Project of 2019, tough one. 

Previous Winners -

Scottish Mountain Bike Community Project of the Year 2018 -  Skelf Bike Park

 Scottish Mountain Bike Community Project of the Year 2017 - Bespoke

Scottish Mountain Bike Community Project of the Year 2016 - Stirling Cycle Hub