South Scotland

Peebles to host mountain biking summit

Biker Image copyright Ian Linton
Image caption Mountain biking experts from around the world are expected to attend the conference in Peebles

A conference for hundreds of mountain biking experts from around the world is to be held in the Scottish Borders later this year.

The full programme for proceedings is being unveiled at Peebles Hydro.

It will host the event - which aims to generate more than £250,000 for the economy - from 11 to 13 November.

Among the speakers will be Commonwealth Games cyclist Grant Ferguson and Swiss rider Hans Rey, known as the "world's foremost adventure rider".

As well as speeches and workshops, the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference will also include a number of field visits throughout Scotland.

They will travel to the Scottish Mountain Bike Centre at Glentress, the World Cup trail at Fort William and the Commonwealth Games trail at Cathkin Braes in Glasgow.

Among the topics on the agenda will be the ongoing development of mountain biking tourism.

'Key innovator'

The conference is being headed by Graeme McLean, project manager at Developing Mountain Biking for Scotland, part of Scottish Cycling.

He said Scotland was a "key mountain biking innovator" but also wanted to learn "best practice from around the world".

"We believe that the conference will help this growing sport reach its full potential," he said.

Mr Ferguson said that having grown up in Peebles he appreciated the world-class trails on offer in the area.

He added: "I have also ridden and raced my bike across the world and have a wide range of experiences to share with the Scottish audience.

"To be asked back to my hometown to speak about the events I have participated in, including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, is a real honour and I am thrilled to be involved in the conference."

Stuart Bell, of Scottish Borders Council, said the conference could build the area's "growing worldwide reputation".

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said outdoor sports were an important part of the economy and it was "no surprise" people were drawn to Scotland for pursuits like mountain biking.

The conference is being supported by the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund and Scottish Borders Council.

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