South Scotland

Concern in Innerleithen over mountain bikers' behaviour

Mountain biker Image copyright Getty Images

Mountain bikers in a Borders town are "stripping off" in residential streets and using public land as toilets, it has been claimed.

A community council was told a minority of cyclists coming to Innerleithen was giving cause for concern.

It is working along with police and event organisers to try to tackle the issue.

The head of a group behind a number of events said most mountain bikers were a "friendly and responsible bunch".

The Scottish Borders is a popular destination for the sport and its trails attract visitors from around the UK and beyond.

Image copyright Jim Barton
Image caption Innerleithen attracts large numbers of visitors for mountain biking throughout the year

However, their impact on the area was raised at a meeting of Innerleithen and District Community Council this week.

It was told there had been an improvement in behaviour last year but there had been recent examples of "muddy bikers stripping off in residential streets".

It also heard that "foul language in response to reasonable representations was creeping back".

An action plan has been drawn up to look at increasing parking and using a small schemes budget to deliver improvements in facilities.

Neil Dalgleish, of Hill Outside, said he was sure that if there was a problem it was with a "tiny minority" of the tens of thousands of mountain bikers visiting the area each year.

His organisation is behind a number of major events in the region.

'Responded positively'

"We've never previously heard of issues regarding people using public land for toilets," he said.

"But this issue - and people getting changed out of muddy gear in public - would suggest there's a real need for better facilities.

"After all, who would choose to strip to the skin in a car park in January?"

He said the vast majority of people respected the community they visited and "responded positively" to any issues or requests for co-operation.

"The bike community will get the word out about this and I'm sure the riders will react well," he said.

"We welcome these people to the Tweed Valley, alongside the economic good news story they represent for this area.

"I believe Innerleithen's a busier, more vibrant and probably a healthier community as a result of mountain biking's development here."

He added that if "proper facilities" were provided the potential was huge for the area.

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