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Last weekend (Sunday 23rd January) saw the first of three ‘women only’ introductory sessions to ‘off road’ cycling being run at the world famous 7stanes mountain bike trails in South Scotland.
The series of Women on Wheels events have been designed to encourage more women to take that first step into off road cycling in Dumfries and Galloway within the extensive 7stanes trails networks.
The event at Ae Forest was a huge success and the organisers said they could have filled the first course nearly three times over.
The Women on Wheels events are funded and supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland. Forestry Commission Scotland’s 7stanes team organises and hosts the courses.
Ruth Asbery, one of the female tutors for the event said “We knew there were a lot of women out there, who for one reason or another, had previously felt a little put off on trying the trails for themselves for the first time.
“As a result we really wanted women who had never tried off road cycling at the 7stanes sites to feel comfortable signing up for the chance to experience off road cycling in a friendly and welcoming environment. The events are in the company of other like minded females with tuition provided by female instructors.”
The event gave female cyclists the chance to learn basic mountain bike riding techniques and bike repair. In addition to this, local charity cyclist Mavis Patterson provided a lunch time presentation on her epic cycle across Canada which she undertook to mark her 70th birthday in 2008.
The 7stanes team had previously conducted research into the use of the internationally acclaimed 7stanes trails in South Scotland and established that use of the cycling trails by women was much less then the use of them by men.
Demand for the Ae Forest event significantly outstripped the number of places available.
Forestry Commission Scotland’s 7stanes Project Manager Doug Knox added:
“We were delighted with the take up of places on the event and we’re really sorry we couldn’t accommodate all of the ladies that applied. Forestry Commission Scotland is however looking at how we might be able to work with our other 7stanes partners to try and meet this demand through possible additional events.”
There are only a few places left for the follow up half day events at Mabie Forest (20th Feb) and Kirroughtree Forest (13th of March) so women who missed out on the Ae Forest event still have a chance to try off-road cycling in one of these events. The costs for each event are £15 with bike hire or £5 if bringing own bike.
Ruth Asbery, concluded by saying:
“Hopefully by the end of these three taster sessions, those ladies taking part will have enough confidence to sign up with their friends and families to take part in the British Heart Foundation’s 10km charity cycle at Kirroughtree, near Newton Stewart, on the 26th of March 2011.”
Potential applicants for the remaining two Women on Wheels events are asked to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Margaret Bryden on 01387 272440 to register their interest be kept informed of future Women on Wheels events. Further information can also be found on at www.7stanes.gov.uk/womenonwheels
A Women on Wheels Facebook group has also been set up which the 7stanes team will use to keep interest female cyclists informed of events and information on off road cycling for women. The site can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/womenonwheels
Notes to Editors
1. The 7stanes project is being managed by Forestry Commission Scotland with partners Scottish Enterprise, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Borders Council, Solway Heritage and VisitScotland. For more information on the project and where to ride, log on to www.7stanes.gov.uk
2. Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland is a project coordinated by the Scottish Mountain Bike Development Consortium. To read more about the project and strategic framework visit http://www.scottishmountainbikeframework.org/
• The aim of the project is to provide a strategic approach to facility development, co-ordinate activity, ensure best practice is spread and maximise the potential of mountain biking in Scotland.
• Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland’s partners are Scottish Cycling, Cycling Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, CTC, EventScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, IMBA UK, Scottish Enterprise, sportscotland, Visit Scotland, NHS and a representative from The Highland Council, acting as a local government advisor.
• Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland’s funding partners are Scottish Cycling, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, CTC, Scottish Enterprise and sportscotland
3. Mavis Patterson also know as Granny Mave has raised over £55,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Her website is www.grannymave.co.uk
4. For further information on the British Heart Foundation’s charity cycle at Kirroughtree on the 26th March 2011 visit www.bhf.org.uk/heartride
5. Media enquiries to Doug Knox, Cycling Manager for South Scotland on 01387 272440 or Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.