It’s not often that mountain biking gets a mention in the mainstream press. So seeing two articles about our beloved sport in The Times on Saturday was something of a shock! The first article Mountain biking in the UK, a familiar sounding title if ever there was one, was based around the Scottish Seven Stanes project. However they’d expanded it into a brief round up of some of the “more than 400 marked cycling trails in Britain, ranging from easy rides for the family to downhill tracksfor [sic] professionals” The five trails listed covered the full range from Alice Holt Woodland Park; “An easy three-mile trail for families, through picturesque woodland” to more familiar venues including Coed-y-Brenin; “This complex of routes is home to two famous trails, MBR and Karrimor. It is a hugely popular centre for mountain bikers and the birthplace of purpose-built trails in the UK”.
Ok, so it was basic and they’ve missed out the Red Bull from CyB and a whole load of riding spots elsewhere, but it’s a lot better than nothing. Plus, if landowners see this much positive press coming out of mountain biking then they’ll be a whole lot happier to invest more money in facilities.
The second feature “The black runs of the cycling world” By Rob Penn is also centred on the Borders cycle routes in Glentress, hats off to the efforts of the Forestry press guys up there. It’s essentially a jolly story of boy meets bike, but you can’t argue with his conclusion: “Riding singletrack trails, I quickly discovered, is tremendous fun, though not easy.” The article also includes full how to get there and where to stay information.
We all know the mountain bike industry took a massive hammering last year thanks to foot and mouth. If even 1% of The Times readers take any notice of these features, that’s a lot more business for the trails, the areas that host them and the bike shops we rely on. So don’t get grumpy about the thought of more newbies on the trail – we’ve all been there, and what we needed was encouragement or just a friendly smile –so do the same and lets get the sport growing and prosperous again.