A new £300,000 South of Scotland Cycling Infrastructure Fund has been created to support the region’s aim of becoming one of the leading cycling destinations in the world.
The Fund offers capital grants of £3,000 to £25,000 to support tourism businesses, social enterprises and community groups who own visitor facing assets to invest in cycling infrastructure.
The investments will aim to improve facilities for visiting cyclists taking part in the Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast cycling route, or riding the 7Stanes trail centres.
All applicants must be located within two miles of one of the Kirkpatrick C2C’s 22 named stop over locations or directly on the Kirkpatrick C2C route, or within five miles of the 7Stanes trail centres.
Eligible infrastructure projects include bike storage, bike racks, power charging sockets for cycle tourers, bike locks, bike washes, drying equipment and repair stations amongst others.
Full details including eligibility criteria and application form are available at www.southofscotlandenterprise.com/cyclingfund.
The Fund is being offered by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), and is supported by the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership.
The Partnership – made up of local and national organisations representing thousands of people across the region – has a ten year strategy in place, which aims to capitalise on the South of Scotland hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and recent UCI Bike Region Label title to create further economic, social and environmental benefits for local people.
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE, said:
“The South of Scotland is one of the UK’s top cycling destinations, and in the last 12 months we have made excellent progress with our partners to ensuring it becomes a world-leading cycling location.
“To achieve this, it is absolutely crucial we have the correct facilities in place to support more visiting cyclists to enjoy our wonderful region, which is why we have launched the Cycling Infrastructure Fund.
“The Kirkpatrick C2C and 7Stanes trail centres are both huge assets for the South. By providing improved facilities for cyclists on both these routes, we can use the power of the bike to bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the region.”
Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“This is a welcome initiative from SOSE, supporting the development of infrastructure to help cycling tourism play a greater role in the local economy and giving a valuable boost to local businesses.
“Our tourism industry, with its diverse range of businesses, is a priority for the Scottish Government, and I am delighted to see SOSE helping to drive the ambitions we have for sustainable and responsible tourism.
“Cycling is already providing a vital boost to the local economy, and the passion for this thriving sport was evident when I launched the Scottish Mountain Biking Strategy at Glentress.
“This Fund will help to build on the interest generated from Scotland’s hugely successful hosting of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.”
Councillor Scott Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Community and Business Development, said:
“This new fund is a fantastic opportunity for local communities and businesses to develop or expand on existing cycling infrastructure which will support riders and tourism. This really is a win-win for everyone.
“We have some of the best on and off road cycling routes and trails in the country and we must continue to capitalise on that to support and grow our local economy, and continued investment in cycling infrastructure is a key part of that.”
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said:
“We welcome this new initiative. Anything that encourages people to get on a bike in our area of the country can only be aa positive and I hope the uptake is high and we reap the positive impacts, both short and longer term.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of the Communities Committee added:
“The new cycling infrastructure fund is a fantastic idea. We’ve seen the South-West grow in cycling stature in recent years and this new fund can only enhance our reputation and offer to locals and tourists alike.”
David Hope-Jones, Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, said:
“As the proud home of the bike, the South of Scotland is not only blessed with a rolling, rural landscape that is perfect to discover on two wheels, it is also home to countless high-quality tourism and hospitality businesses ready to offer cyclists a warm welcome.
“This new fund will help even more places to embrace the benefits of cycle tourism, as our region cements its bike-friendly reputation in the UK and beyond.”
Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director said:
“The South of Scotland’s reputation as a leading cycling destination has been strengthened in recent months after receiving the dual honours of hosting 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships events, and the recent UCI Bike Region Label.
“The launch of this cycling infrastructure fund will provide a further boost for the region and allow businesses to capitalise on these opportunities.
“This will in turn help support the development of the South’s cycling offer even further and inspire more visitors to the region, supporting our valuable tourism and events industry while promoting sustainable travel experiences to the benefit of visitors, communities and our environment.”