10 years ago, this February the world’s first national strategy was launched in Glasgow with the legend Steve Peat, the former Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Public Health and Sport - Shona Robison, members of the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium (the MTB Consortium) and young people from Bannerman High School in Glasgow.
This initial national strategic framework defined why mountain biking was important to Scotland and how we should organise, collaborate and communicate better together as a community of riders, businesses and public sector bodies at national, regional and key local areas.
The results of the this improved way of working have been impressive with over £5.5m worth of new trail development, a stronger advocacy and lobbying voice for mountain bikers, a growing business community both in tourism and product development, international events, the sport being diversified into urban areas and more women participating and Scot’s continuing to excel on the mountain bike sporting world stage.
Lee Cousins, independent chair of the MTB Consortium for the last 4 years, said:
“I took over as Chair because I was impressed by the level of co-ordination at national and regional levels that was implicit and embedded in the National Strategy. What became apparent as especially notable was that this co-ordination was, and continues to be, leading to tangible benefits to increasing the number of participants, growing the sport, helping our riders achieve on the world stage and growing the economic impact of the sport.
I would like to personally thank everyone who has been involved in helping to deliver the strategy from the funders*, the members of the MTB Consortium and riders who have given up their time to help grow the sport.”
Responsibility for overseeing the national strategy falls with Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), part of Scottish Cycling – the governing body for the sport in Scotland. Working with Scottish Government, members of the MTB Consortium and with consultation with riders, in April 2019 DMBinS helped launch a new strategy for Scottish mountain biking to run from 2019 to 2025.
The new strategy has a vision for Scotland to be the European leader in sustainable mountain bike development.
Graeme McLean, who has spent the last 10 years as the Head of DMBinS, explains the journey mountain biking has been on over the period:
“After the incredible growth in the early 2000’s with 7stanes trail centres, Highland trail centres and the growth of the UCI World Cups and World Championships in 2007, there was a need for Scottish mountain biking to set up structures and a way of working across the country to help the sport move sustainably into the future. The strategic framework launched in 2010 really helped define why and how we should begin to work together at national, regional and local levels. This led to many needed projects such as urban trail developments, including the explosion of pump tracks across Scotland, and growing the participation base and clubs across Scotland.
This solid structure has allowed our new national strategy to be very ambitious, develop a co-ordinated and monitored action plan and it is fantastic to see many, if not all, of the projects contained within that plan being taken forward, not only by DMBinS, but a range of stakeholders across Scotland.
It is incredibly exciting times for Scottish mountain biking.”