PACKED with hilly terrain, quiet roads and apparently endless mountain bike opportunities, the Scottish Borders is continuing to emphasise its identity as a major UK cycling destination.
With the imminent visit of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and the Tour of Britain very much in the public eye, another popular, and perhaps more accessible, Borders cycling event has been announced for 2013.
After a well-received inaugural event earlier this year, the Peeblesshire-based road cycling sportive event, the Tour O’ The Borders, has announced its return for with a choice of course lengths and a discounted entry price for early sign-ups.
Set for April 14 2013 and starting from Peebles, the ride will feature a 70 or 49-mile course, both featuring quiet roads, some great views but some tough climbs throughout.
“Even the shorter course has some stiff climbing,” says organiser Neil Dalgleish. “The aim is to make the course tough but fun.”
The event has been put together by two men with significant experience of the Scottish cycling scene – Dalgleish is also responsible for putting together the acclaimed TweedLove Bike Festival, while event partner, John Anderson, is the experience behind the Bicycle Works bike shops and many Scottish racing teams.
“We had a great first year,” says Dalgleish. “Feedback from riders gave us a big thumbs up, but we thought we’d add the choice of a shorter course using the same area’s deserted, scenic roads. The Borders are perfect for an event like this.”
Adds Anderson: “There are some exceptionally stiff climbs on the Tour. And another great advantage of this area is how quiet these roads are – you hardly see a car all day.”
The event is timed, but is not organized in a road race format. The aim is to give everyone a great day out on the bike on a scenic, rewarding course, with the fun and satisfaction of taking part in a shared challenge.
“Riders are all given their own timing results, and we make sure riders are well looked-after”, says Dalgleish.
“At the feed station this year, we even gave riders the local cyclists’ secret weapon – Forsyth’s hot macaroni pies. They’re a legend and the riders devoured them,” continues Anderson.
While there has been some recent controversy over the cost of this kind of event, with some road cycling sportives costing over £60, the Tour O’ The Borders organisers claim they’re doing what they can to keep costs down.
“Times are tough and good value is important,” says Dalgleish. “Events all over the country are reporting decreasing numbers, but our aim is to fight the problems by giving extra value and keeping costs as low as we can.”
An ‘earlybird’ booking offer is available for the next few weeks – the entry price is £30 rather than £35.
John Anderson explains: “You can ride the Tour O’ The Borders for less than half what it costs for some other events – and we reckon you get much more for your money. We were pleased that so many of the riders in the event this year seemed to agree.”
Tour O’ The Borders, 14 April 2013, start/finish at Peebles High School.
More info and entry at www.tourotheborders.com
Entry cost: £35, earlyrider discount price until end September 2012: £30
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