Investment in cycling to meet demand

Group activity at the cycling network event
Group activity at the cycling network event

An ambitious vision for the future of cycling in Fife has been outlined at a community networking event.

Around 100 people took part in the discussions about shaping the future of cycling in in the Kingdom, with just under £5m in funding already secured to expand cycle routes in and around Glenrothes and Dunfermline.

Also revealed at the event was an investment proposal of £1m for a closed loop cycle track on Council land near Lochgelly High School. If approved as part of the Council’s budget for next year, the facility would be the first dedicated cycling circuit in Scotland.

Kirsteen Torrance, the Council’s cycling development officer said: “The event was testament to the upsurge in interest in cycling – I was overwhelmed with the positive response.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for all aspects of cycling and now have a framework that will help us to develop new, innovate and cost effective initiatives to get more people on bikes and help those on bikes to go further.”

Councillor Mark Hood, executive committee member, is keen to give prominence to developing cycling over the next few years.

He said: “We now have a cycling framework in place that will allow us to ensure the ongoing development of cycling in Fife.

“We will maximise resources, expertise and knowledge to deliver on this.

“I hope that it will put us firmly on the map in terms of delivering top quality cycling experiences for Fifers of all cycling disciplines.

“The proposed circuit at Lochgelly would be a multi-use facility. If approved, it would allow us to deliver a wide range of cycle activities. This would include toddlers on balance bikes, older people returning to cycling, cycle skills and confidence builders.

“Studies show that for every £1 invested in sport and physical activity, it saves around £3.20 in future health costs, so this really would be a spend to save initiative.”

Fife projects promoting cycling

Fife is already making its mark with projects such as Cyclestart which delivers cycle rides for new cyclists in many of Fife’s towns and villages. There are currently 23 trained volunteers who deliver the 55 Cyclestart rides on a regular basis.

Events and races are being established too, such as the community club mountain bike races for children and young people, known as a ‘Dirt Crit’. This year the Kingdom Crits series of events had around 80 participants at each event and is now led by community volunteers.