A new, state-of-the-art outdoor cycle track, the first of its kind to be built in Scotland, offering traffic-free cycling for all ages and abilities, is now just a couple of laps from completion.
Scheduled to open in early 2018, the enclosed 1.6km track is set to put central Fife at the forefront of Scottish cycling, further bolstering the Kingdom’s position as the number one destination in Scotland for outdoor activities.
Situated close to Fife’s most visited outdoor attraction in Lochore Meadows Country Park, which is also home to Fife’s Outdoor Education Centre, it’s expected that the completion of the new track facility will provide a huge boost for tourism in the area.
But more importantly, it will cater for a range of cycling activities for every age group and ability across every section of the community, a fact that Kirsteen Torrance, Fife Council’s Cycling Development Officer is particularly proud of.
“This project is six years in the making and has involved the community at every level,“ Kirsteen told the Fife Free Press.
“While built to British Cycling standard, every aspect of its design is focused on what the public have said they want from such a facility.
“The track will be all-inclusive in what it offers to the public and furthermore there will be no barriers to age or ability and certainly won’t be just another elite sports facility for the few.
“We are now in the process of putting the events and sessions programme together which will included everything from school involvement and afterschool activities, right through cycle club involvement.
“What we want is to invite more people to take up cycling and they can do that here and we’ll even provide the bike.”
At a cost of £2.4m, the track is on budget and on time and despite some initial reservation over the cost, Kirsteen is both confident and proud of the progress made in bringing the ambitious project to fruition.
“While Fife Council will foot the majority of the bill, there has been years of planning and finance and people must remember that a considerable proportion of the cost - £600,000 of which has come, from SportScoland and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund,” said Kirsteen.
“That in itself is a massive endorsement in the facility.
“Now that we have the overhead image and the public can see the scale of the centre, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m pleased but I’m not surprised at people’s response now they can finally visualise what is being created.
“When finished this will be a huge asset for Fife.
And backing up Kirsteen’s confidence, the project has attracted the support of some of the main cycling organisations across Scotland.
“The Fife Cycle Park’s closed road facilities are identified as a priority in Scottish Cycling’s Facilities Strategy for Cycling Development,” said Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling Chief Executive
“They are fundamental in giving more opportunities for people to get on their bike and cycle in a safe environment.
“Having a closed road loop on their doorstep is going to make a huge difference to the communities and clubs in and around Lochgelly and Fife.
“It will be perfect for hosting training sessions and events suitable for all ages, as well as being an ideal location for coach development.
“With Lochore Meadows County Park not far for the circuit, Fife Council is continuing to grow its cycling hub for both on and off road riders, attracting cyclists from across Scotland.”
CEO of Triathlon Scotland Jane Moncrieff added: “It is great that Fife Council value cycling as much as we do, and we are delighted that the local community will have such a fantastic facility to use all year round.
“The Fife Cycle Park is also a welcome addition to the already great facilities for triathlon in Lochgelly.
“The Lochore Meadows Country Park has played host to numerous triathlon participation and Scottish Championship events over the years and the addition of the cycle loop will help us to develop more opportunities for children to take part in our sport.
“We will also be able to use the new facilities to provide bespoke coach development opportunities, such as our popular cycling skills for women session, and our members will benefit too by being able to book the site for club training sessions.”
With completion imminent and bookings already flooding in, it’s a sign of the tracks potential to become a focal point for Scottish cycling.
“We already have 26 bookings and will be the venue for the 2018 Scottish Criterium Championships, and have interest from schools and clubs wanting to get involved,” she said.
“What better endorsement could we possibly wish for?”