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Positive proposals are welcome news for cycle tourism in the Borders

Published 29 August 2016 by Jamie Wylie

Transform Scotland has recently responded to the Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) public consultation on their Cycle Tourism Strategy.

The Strategy sets out the SBC’s proposals to develop cycling in the Borders over the next five years, and features a number of welcome recommendations to improve cycle infrastructure and facilities to expand cycle tourism in the south of Scotland. Many of the proposals in the Strategy can be found in our Value of Cycle Tourism report (see links for full report).

The consultation runs until 16th September and welcomes comments from the public. To respond to the consultation, see here.

Our response to the consultation is as follows:

“We welcome the plans set out in Scottish Borders Council’s Cycle Tourism Strategy. The Strategy correctly identifies key issues which need attention over the next five years; actively addressing the issues raised will bring significant benefits for cycling across the Borders.
The Strategy correctly identifies that the Borders compete with other locations within Scotland around the world, and as such need to develop and improve services and infrastructure for the benefit of cyclists. We particularly appreciate the focus given to safeguarding former rail routes and ‘Quiet on road sections’, which would prove excellent off-road cycle routes and help to attract a wider group of people to cycling.

We are largely supportive of the key issues that currently exist with cycling in the Borders, and the approaches that need to be taken to resolve these issues. Many of the recommendations of the Strategy are in line with our 2013 ‘Value of Cycle Tourism’ report (available from our website. We agree that there is a need for:

– Greater collaboration and coordination between public, private and third sectors, as well as engagement with local interested parties
– The development of better monitoring and data on cycle tourism
– Improvements to the Cycle Scottish Borders website to appeal to a wider range of groups (e.g. mountain biking; different age groups)
– Recognition of and support for cycling events on a range of scales
– Increased development and marketing of cycle routes

We appreciate the acknowledgement of the need to cater to a wider range of groups (i.e. beginner, experienced) by promoting a range of routes and services. We would however appreciate the Strategy being more specific in the options which could be developed. Similarly, whilst we are in favour of developing themed cycle routes, we would like to see more specific details on this. In ‘The Value of Cycle Tourism’, we recommend that themed routes may include (i) multi-day, (ii) rural, less developed areas (iii) linked to established tourist attractions and (iv) a way to attract new market segments to cycling.

We understand that to fully capitalise on the potential for cycling in the Borders, more resources and finances are required. This is a legitimate concern; however we would like to see the Borders Council set out more specific proposals on how this problem may be resolved.”