Highland perthshire - credit russell cheyne small

The programme for the week long 2012 Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival was lanched yesterday. Highland Perthshire Cycling (HPC), a community group who promote and develop cycling in Highland Perthshire, have put together a diverse range of (mainly) free road and mountain bike events, aimed at cyclists of all ages and abilities, that will be staged across the region from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th of May.

This year's Festival has a busy roster of races, guided rides (with local enthusiasts both on and off road), skills sessions, workshops, women's events, a schools programme, family fun days and cultural evens; all culminating in the legendary Etape Caledonia Sportive weekend.

Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival has been awarded funding from EventScotland to contribute towards the marketing and promotion of the event. The importance of the festival has also been recognised by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, Perth and Kinross Council, Cycling Scotland, Sustrans, Griffin Windfarm Community Fund and the Climate Challenge Fund. There has also been some healthy private sector support for this year's Festival with Alpine Bikes and Dewars World of Whisky all supporting festival events.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for cycling events, and the team at the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival have created a programme that will engage cyclists of all ages and abilities. From the BIG Day with the iconic Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, to the Women's Cycle Workshop and the Tay Titans Highland Perthshire Cyclo Cross, this family friendly festival will appeal to both the local cycling community and visitors to the region.”

Highlights of this year's family focused festival include:

For the family:
- The BIG Day with Graeme Obree, Aberfeldy - 12 May - A community and family focused fun cycle day with Scottish cycling legend Graeme Obree. The Clan stunt display team, a giant air bag to test jumping skills, races, demo's, an obstacle course, stalls, bouncy castles, cyclo cross, cycling polo competition music and food.
- Progression Bikes Cycle Fun Day, Dunkeld, 5 May and Highland Safaris Cycle Fun Day, Aberfeldy, 6 May - skills sessions, pump tracks and skills loop time trials, coaching, and bike hire.
- Tay Titans Fun Night, Birnam, 7 May - Tay Titans youth cycle club event for parents and the community with races, activities, refreshments. All welcome.
For women only:
- Women's Cycle Workshop, Aberfeldy, 6 May - A day workshop for women to improve skills and confidence run by Mission WOW
- Women's Guided Bike Ride, 4 May - a relaxed off-road cycle up and around Loch Ordie
Races and competitions
- Tay Titans Highland Perthshire Cyclo Cross, 5 May - A youth Cyclo Cross competition for individuals and clubs across Scotland.

There will also be skills courses including Etape Caledonia training, coaching sessions, talks, promotions and a programme of ride outs with local enthusiasts across the regions.

HPC, who were recently awarded Cycle Friendly Community of the Year 2011/12 by Cycling Scotland, works collaboratively with many local groups, schools and businesses in the region to promote and enable more locals and visitors to cycle more often in Highland Perthshire. They run workshops, clubs, school activities, and events to achieve this. The highlight of the year is the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival.

Emma Burtles of Highland Perthshire Cycling said: “Highland Perthshire Cycling works collaboratively with many local groups, schools and businesses in the region to make the festival a fun, inclusive and community focused event. This, combined with the fantastic support from the public and private sectors, has enabled us to put together a very strong events programme this year. We hope it will encourage cyclists from Highland Perthshire and all over the UK to visit, get involved and above all sample the fantastic opportunities for cycling on and off road throughout our cycle friendly Highland Perthshire.”

For more information on Highland Perthshire Cycling and The Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival - visit: www.highlandperthshirecycling.co.uk
You can find out more information on Facebook: CycleHighlandPerthshire and twitter: @HiPerthshire