Fife cycle park first in Scotland

Jim Leishman and Mark Beaumont joined some young cyclists at the park.
Jim Leishman and Mark Beaumont joined some young cyclists at the park.

Fife now has the first purpose-built cycle circuit in Scotland - and it has been opened by record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont.

The long-distance cyclist was getting practice in on a penny farthing at Lochgelly ahead of an attempt to break 127-year-old record of riding further than anyone else in an hour.

Mark Beaumont gets some practice in.

Mark Beaumont gets some practice in.

He was joined by the Provost of Fife Jim Leishman in opening the impressive £2.4m facility.

The 1.6km long circuit is a tarmac road, built to ‘A Road’ standard that allows for a full range of cycling activities to take place in a traffic free environment all year round.

It is hoped that it will attract regional, Scottish and British championship events.

Funded by Fife Council, sportscotland and the Scottish Government, the purpose built cycle park is set to put central Fife at the forefront of Scottish cycling and further bolster the Kingdom’s position as the number one destination in Scotland for outdoor activities.

Fife Cycle Park is an outdoor floodlit cycle facility that allows for a full range of cycling activities to take place in a traffic free environment all year round. It’s 1.6km in length but offers various circuit layout options within this. Customers are able to choose from a variety of circuit configurations and several groups or sessions can use the facility at the same time.

Jim Leishman said: “Fife Cycle Park is already attracting the attention of regional and national events but it truly will be a facility for all ages and abilities. The Cycle Park team are developing a very inclusive programme which will offer opportunities for everyone to have the chance to be physically active on a bike.

“It’s great to see the reaction of everyone here today who has had the opportunity to try the circuit out, from cycling royalty like Mark Beaumont to local youngsters who are just beginning to develop their skills. Learning to ride a bike is an important life skill and this will be an invaluable facility in helping to break down inequalities and the barriers people face in trying out or returning to cycling.”

Mark Beaumont added: “I’ve really enjoyed opening the Fife Cycle Park.

“This is a first for Scotland and a wonderful facility available to everyone, not just skilled cyclists.

“I believe it will encourage people of all abilities to get on their bikes and have fun.”

A funding contribution of £300,000 of National Lottery investment was made from sportscotland and £300,000 from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Mark plans on breaking the existing penny farthing record in Surrey next month.

The current record, set by Frederick J. Osmond in 1891, stands at 24 miles and is just the latest in a series of impressive feats attempted by the Scottish cyclist.

The ultra-endurance cyclist circumnavigated the globe in just 79 days last year and his friends came up with the idea for his latest challenge.

He covered a whopping 18,000 miles, completing an average 240 miles and 16 hours in the saddle per day, to stay on schedule.

The dad-of-two cycled through northern Europe to Russia, Mongolia and China, then across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and North America before returning to Europe.