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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 16/10/2020

The Scottish Mountain Bike Gathering is going virtual for 2020 through the digital platform, XPONORTH, taking place as a free online, one-day event on Wednesday 25 November. The event will be opened by Fergus Ewing, Tourism Secretary at Scottish Government, to demonstrate the support for the growing sector.

The digital event will include a range of sessions exploring opportunities to develop the sector, examining case studies of good practice and planning for a new future after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gathering 2020 will virtually bring together individuals from across the industry. Delegates will be able to choose from a variety of presentations, interactive workshops and screenings. There will be a wide variety of topics to explore, including trails, destinations and innovations, and health and sport. There will be a specific session on the upcoming UCI World Cycling Championships 2023, to investigate trail development models and highlight good practice.

Throughout the current pandemic, the mountain biking industry has experienced both soaring demand for product and bike shops, where demand has outstripped supply, but also mountain biking tourism has had a challenging time. However, there are early and fragile signs of recovery as the number of riders at key destinations has increased.

To reflect the permanent changes that will be made to the industry following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gathering provides a platform to accelerate plans and actions within the Scottish MTB Strategy 2019 – 2025.

The increase in sales and folk riding bikes around Scotland has been very encouraging this summer.

As lockdown restrictions began to lift, it became apparent that key cycling destinations such as the Tweed Valley, Fort William and Cairngorms were going to see benefits from the growth in this easy to physical distance activity.

There is a need to capture this enthusiasm for cycling and ensure that we maximise the opportunities whilst exploring how we mitigate against any negative impact such as conflict with other land and road users in addition to any environmental impact.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to open The Scottish MTB Gathering – a vital forum for discussing the key opportunities and issues affecting this sector.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Secretary, Scottish Government

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone on a personal and professional level. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen mountain biking, and cycling generally, grow beyond what anyone could have predicted.

The MTB industry has seen a mix of fortunes with product developers and bike shops seeing demand outstripping supply. On the counter side, our mountain bike tourism industry has faced very challenging times although there are early and fragile signs of recovery with numbers of riders at key destinations being very high.

The opportunities and challenges that face our industry and community will fundamentally change the mountain bike scene. Indeed, now is arguably the time to accelerate many of the plans and actions within the Scottish MTB Strategy 2019 – 2025. We believe the Scottish MTB Gathering will help us to do this, give us a platform to pull together, aim high and collectively build our community and voice.

Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland