Kingussie is perhaps best known locally for being near the geographical centre of Scotland. But now, thanks to a new community led initiative, it will soon be at the centre of a new cycling revolution!
Cycling has long been recognised as an activity with numerous benefits, from improved health and well-being to reduced congestion and environmental pollution. So you would be forgiven for thinking that jumping on your bike and joining the new ‘cycling revolution’ was a no brainer. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. For many, the barriers to cycling are numerous. Physical barriers – not owning a bicycle, concerns over fitness or ability, can combine with psychological barriers, such as a lack of confidence or a recent bad experience to make cycling a near impossible choice.
But help is at hand! Members of the Kingussie community have been working hard behind the scenes and in November, Kingussie Community Development Company successfully secured over £18,000 in funding from Cycling Scotland and ‘Cycling Friendly Kingussie’ was born.
So what’s it all about? Kingussie is one of only 4 pilot communities in Scotland, selected to help develop a new ‘Cycle Friendly Community’ award. The project aim is a simple one – to dramatically increase the number of people choosing to travel by bicycle around the community, whether it’s for their daily commute, for fitness or just for fun.
To achieve this, we are developing an activity programme which will promote the benefits of cycling, help remove barriers and encourage participation in cycling by all segments of the community. We have a range of initiatives taking place over the coming months based around cycling infrastructure, information, training and events.
One of the first things we are doing is awarding up to 100 per cent funding to local community members who wish to train as Cycle Ride Leaders. We will equip them with all the necessary skills and in return, they become our ‘cycling champions’ – helping to run a programme of activities such as led rides, confidence building sessions and bicycle maintenance workshops. The programme is being tailored so that there is something for everyone, irrespective of age or ability level. There will also be events to mark Bike Week and Cycle to School Week, and of course there is our annual festival Bikefest Scotland which takes place in Kingussie on Saturday 13th June.
Cycle tourism is becoming increasingly popular within the National Park and our programme of activities and events will help draw more cycling visitors into Kingussie and the surrounding area, which will be good news for local businesses.
Our project timing is perfect, with the new outdoor access strategy for the Park – Active Cairngorms – out for consultation now. The aim of Active Cairngorms is to make it easier for people to travel actively around the Park. To register your interest or for more information about ‘Cycling Friendly Kingussie’ email: [email protected].