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Developing mountain biking in Scotland: review of mountain biking developments and potential opportunities in the Scottish Enterprise area


The review of Scottish mountain biking sought to establish the progress that had been made in the industry over the past few years and to provide recommendations for future development. In particular, it aimed to: assess progress made in the delivery of the objectives and key targets of the mountain biking national strategic framework, and the activities of the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) project over its first three years; assess progress in terms of economic growth, participation and sports development; and recommend future actions to secure the sustainable growth potential of mountain biking in Scotland for sports development, participation levels and tourism.


The methodology consisted of a literature review of existing data and reports, alongside an extensive consultation process involving face-to-face and online surveys with key stakeholders and organisations, mountain bike businesses, and riders themselves. The desktop exercise utilising existing data was based upon the methodology employed by EKOS in its 2009 report for Scottish Enterprise on the ‘Economic value of mountain biking in Scotland’.


The review’s evaluation of DMBinS and the national strategic framework for the sustainable development of mountain biking found that the project had been managed well, provided value for money and had delivered, or was in the process of delivering, on a high percentage of its outputs. An estimation of the progress against the targets and scenarios set out in the 2009 EKOS report was made and, as many of the conditions for ‘full growth’ of the sector set out in the report had not yet been realised, it was suggested that the increase in mountain bikers’ trips between 2009-12 was in the range of 7-10%; and the economic value of mountain biking in Scotland grew by an estimated £5.5 - £8 million over the same timeframe, equating to a value for the market, where mountain biking is the primary purpose for a trip, of £48.5 - £49.5 million per annum. It was also estimated that, if the conditions set out by EKOS for a ‘full growth’ scenario were to be met over the next five years, economic growth could be in the region of £22 - £26 million, or £14 - £18 million if these were implemented to a lesser degree.


The report made a range of recommendations for the development of Scottish mountain biking, covering the following areas: attracting visitors; strategic support and business development; participation; events; and developing bikers and facilities. These included: continued support for DMBinS, and financial support for new DMBinS regional officers; all Scottish cities should have their own jump park/pump track/BMX park that is easily accessible to the majority of the population, without the requirement of a vehicle; the development of an online guide to all key nature trails and trail centres in Scotland; the designation of a national mountain biking day; and greater levels of cooperation between the multiple agencies involved with mountain biking participation. A number of strategic options to be considered during phase two of the DMBinS project were also suggested. These included the consolidation and alliance of agencies, as carried out by British Cycling, who had adopted a cross-departmental approach to bring budgets together to benefit from combined investment.

Author Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, University of the Highlands and Islands
Published Year 2014
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors