A COMBINATION of the “Danny MacAskill effect” and upcoming major events means the future is looking bright for cycling in Scotland, according to the national tourism organisation.
Since MacAskill’s film The Ridge was released online, the incredible video has been viewed over 26 million times on YouTube.
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Skye Adventures, based in Portree, said they have had “a huge increase” in bookings - up to a 20 per cent increase, with many getting in touch to say how much they enjoyed the film.
The company, run by Matt Barratt and John Smith, were involved with The Ridge, thanks to their extensive knowledge and experience of mountain guiding in the Cuillins.
The film showed Danny taking a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillins ridgeline.
Skye-born MacAskill climbs - seemingly with little effort - to the top of the Inaccessible Pinnacle with his mountain bike over his shoulder.
With beautiful country landscapes, seascapes, towns and cities, the National Cycle Network and top-quality mountain biking facilities, cycling in Scotland is proving very popular - as well as being worth millions of £to the Scottish economy.
Now, VisitScotland is looking to build on the cycling success into 2015 - with estimated figures showing 11 million people in the UK own a bike, they want more people to come to Scotland to enjoy cycling.
7stanes, a series of seven mountain biking areas located in the forests of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, welcomed more than half a million visitors in 2013, with day visitors on average spending £10-19 and overnight visitors spending £32-49.
VisitScotland research also showed that domestic visitors to Scotland, who take part in mountain biking or cycling, on average stay over two million nights and spend £109 million each year.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Scotland has a global reputation for cycling and in the UK alone it is estimated that there are 11 million people who own a mountain bike.
“From cycling tours around the incredible Highlands to mountain biking in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, there is a huge opportunity for Scottish tourism.
“The Ridge took cycling in Skye to a global audience, and with our endless miles of forest tracks, cycle trails, country paths and top-quality facilities, we need to continue to show the world why Scotland is the place to jump on a bike.”
Matt Barratt, Mountain Guide at Skye Adventure, said: “The Ridge really showed just how amazing the scenery in The Highlands is, and whatever level of outdoor adventure you are after, whether it’s out riding mountains like Danny or something a bit closer to the ground, you’ll find it in Scotland!”
Mandy Layden, 7stanes CIC Development Manager said: “7stanes has something to offer to all riders, from beginners to expert. Bikers/families looking for trails with breathtaking scenery to adrenaline junkies that are looking to be challenged on more technical trails.
“With Glentress being quoted as a “Mountain Biking Mecca” by Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Adventures and the other stanes having something different to offer, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders should be top of your to do list.”
VisitScotland is continuing to provide significant investment through directorate EventScotland towards events that raise the profile of cycling in Scotland. These include The Tour of Britain, the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup and TweedLove Bike Festival.
Throughout 2014, EventScotland supported a number of mass-participation cycling events including the Tour o’ the Borders, Ride the North and Etape Loch Ness.
The estimated economic impact of Tweedlove and Tour o’ the Borders was £1.7 million.
In November, the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund helped support the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference 2014 - International Edition. The event at Peebles Hydro generated an estimated £250,000 for the economy and was attended by more than 200 mountain biking experts.
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