Cycling start chain reaction among youngsters

There has been a huge increase in cycling for recreation and transport around Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow

There has been a huge increase in cycling for recreation and transport around Scotland. Picture: Jane Barlow

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With Team GB’s recent cycling success and that of Team Scotland at this year’s Commonwealth Games, cycling in Scotland has seen an unprecedented rise in interest at all levels.

Here at Scottish Cycling, we have had a 142 per cent increase in membership since 2009.

On top of the interest in cycling as a sport, there has been a huge increase in cycling for recreation and transport.

This increased interest and the Commonwealth Games venues have meant a higher standard of facilities being built. The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome not only provides an incredible training facility for our athletes, it also hosts community sessions, allowing cyclists of all levels to get involved in a safe and world-class environment.

The team here at Scottish Cycling provide leadership for anyone interested in cycling. We are striving to provide a pathway for cyclists of all levels to progress towards their goals by maximising the opportunities available.

It’s an exciting phase of growth for the sport.

We want to help develop cycling among young people and our ScottishPower National Youth Racing Series offers an age-appropriate flavour of competitive racing.

ScottishPower’s sponsorship, now into its second year, has provided the platform to really lift the standard of youth racing in Scotland.

The higher the quality of the races, the more kids want to be part of it.

It’s a snowball effect which leads to more kids getting involved in cycling. It means that local club membership goes up, and the clubs become more of a social hub, in turn attracting more kids.

It’s a positive cycle of events.

Ultimately, though, it’s about health and wellbeing – helping kids get active and happy. Adding more formality to recreation makes it sustainable – if you have an event to work towards, it motivates you, helps you stick to your goals and connect with others through fitness, regardless of your age.

I am hopeful that, with Scottish Cycling’s continued advocacy of the sport, we will continue to see an increase in cycling throughout the country. It’s an exciting time and the future looks bright for cycling in Scotland.

• Lynne Munro is head of development for Scottish Cycling

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