THE Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland (MTBCOS) is supporting a multi-million pound economic boom as businesses create new and innovative products for the soaring number of cyclists taking to the great outdoors, business leaders will hear today. Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, will learn how the Borders-based centre has created money-spinning opportunities across a range of sectors.
The centre, at Glentress Forest near Peebles, opened in the summer of 2014 and is the UK’s largest mountain bike trail centre with more than 300,000 visitors per year. It is run as a partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Cycling. The picturesque setting has become a focal point for product testing and mountain bike-related training and research.
Now a new survey of the companies which have worked with the centre has reinforced an earlier study highlighting the value of mountain biking to Scotland’s economy. The survey of 28 companies, ranging from textiles firms and bicycle manufacturers to security devices firms and makers of specialist equipment, forecast a combined increase in turnover of £13.5million over the next three years.
This growth will create 69 new jobs and see a £7.4million increase in international sales over the same period. Fergus Ewing will today hear about developments at the centre from lead academic Dr Geraint Florida-James, Business Development Executive Danny Cowe and Scottish Funding Council Director Stuart Fancey at an event showcasing its achievements.
Dr Florida-James, a Reader in Sport & Exercise Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “The opportunities for knowledge transfer between business and academia in the mountain bike industry are huge. We are therefore excited that Scottish academics and in particular Edinburgh Napier University are taking a lead in an area that offers so many opportunities for innovation and research in real world scenarios.” Among the product developments linked to the centre is Scottoiler’s automatic chain lubrication system Cycle S1, which attaches to a bike and takes over the entire chain maintenance process, delivering the perfect quantity of fresh lubricant on to the chain exactly when required. Researchers who put the system through its paces found cyclists averaged a five per cent increase in power output.
Another development carried out in conjunction with the Mountain Bike Centre was SussMyBike’s monitoring device which gathers the data you need to accurately adjust your suspension for improved performance via a smartphone app. Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, said: “Scotland is blessed with some of the best mountain biking facilities in the world and the Scottish Government is committed to maintaining this international reputation. Mountain biking is not only an excellent way to stay fit and healthy but it is an exciting growth industry, as these new figures show.
“One of the jewels in Scotland’s mountain biking crown, Glentress attracts hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers to the Tweed Valley every year and I am pleased to be here today to see how the Mountain Bike Centre, industry and academia are collaborating to create new products and experiences which will allow this exciting sport to grow even further.”
Stuart Fancey, Interim Director of Research & Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said: “Getting the experts in Scotland’s universities working together with bright new businesses is something SFC actively encourages. It’s great to see how this initiative has already helped businesses to develop new innovations in every aspect of mountain biking – from where you change and what you wear, to improving your ride, new bikes, repairs and security.
“I am delighted that this collaborative enterprise is flourishing. It’s a great example of the positive impact that our world-leading universities have on our economy and communities.”
In 2013, a study by University of Highlands & Islands estimated that visiting mountain bikers spent £49million in the country, with indirect spending amounting to £130million.
UBS is a revolutionary bike protector that will dramatically reduce the time and hassle spent maintaining your bike. No more messing around with a multitude of degreasers, cleaners, lubricant, polish sprays and protectors. Just one spray, used whenever you need it and compatible with all materials and cycle components head over to there website for a full lowdown on all of their products Ultimate Bike Solutions
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