Thanks to the LEADER Youth LAG funding, Scaladale has, over the last 2 and half years, run a highly successful mountain bike project, which is now drawing to a close. With the funding we initially purchased 11 high quality Whyte mountain bikes, which the young participants have REALLY loved. They have inspired at least 200 young people to try mountain biking, and many of them to take it up as a passion. In 2018 and19 we ran a series of free taster sessions in the Castle Grounds, providing transport from some of the islands' remoter communities, and a free Girls' MTB Camp at Scaladale.
During the autumn of 2020 we boiled this down to 3 mountain bike clubs, each meeting weekly in the Castle Grounds, and then progressing to enjoy some of the tougher riding to found in Harris, during November and December.
It was very lucky that we had the bikes, and the funding, to continue this project in 2020, as there were not very many options for us, or the young people, that would so easily comply with social distancing guidelines. The take up was absolutely brilliant, with all sessions full, and lots of great progression in riding from week to week. For this we have to thank Daryll Brown, the lead instructor for this section of the project. His stoke for riding, and endless knowledge of everything mountain bike related, has really rubbed off on the young people, and we now have our own little army of mtb fanatics!
I have recently applied to the Crown Estate for funding to keep our Harris Mountain Bike Club going, and was successful in a bid to Scottish Cycling's Active Travel Fund which will fund a bike workshop and store at Scaladale. We desperately need storage for the bikes as this funding means we now have a bunch of electric bikes coming for everyone to try, and will soon be providing bike mechanic training for at least 3 of our Young Leaders.
Watch this space if you would like to try an electric hybrid bike (with a trailer if you like!) as a way of getting about, or an electric mountain bike if you are keen to try mountain biking for the first time, or get back into it after an injury or a lapse of fitness. You don't need to be young! These are for everyone! Scottish Cycling and transport.gov.scot are encouraging us all to see travel as an opportunity to exercise and be sustainable in every way! Scaladale will be bringing the bikes to you to try, and also running demos from the centre during 2021.