Mountain biking in Scotland is world class, with a great network of trails, purpose built trail centres, an outstanding natural environment and some of the most progressive access rights in the world. Graeme McLean, project manager at Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland explains what this could mean for businesses in the region…
"Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) is a project, which is working hard to ensure Scotland’s businesses are ready to take advantage of the amazing resource which is mountain biking in Scotland.
What are we doing to help businesses? Last year we supported Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS) to develop ‘Mountain Biking Tourism in Scotland Guide’. The guide contains, in an easy to read and understand format, the key understandings of all the research, which has been undertaken to highlight the opportunities which mountain biking offers tourism in Scotland.
We have also created a website (DMBinS.com) which has a specific section dedicated to business development. This section has case studies, guides (such as the TIS guide), toolkits including marketing and promoting mountain biking and guidance on businesses using social media. We also host resources such as free images and posters, which businesses can utilise.
The website is ultimately intended to become the ‘one-stop shop’ where good practice and information can be spread across Scotland. Going forward we hope to extend this section to include further resources and toolkits and would be keen to hear the industries perspective on elements of knowledge or training which could be fitted to the format.
Realising there was also a need to capture the ‘fun’ side of mountain biking (did I just imply business wasn’t fun?) we have a ‘Riders’ side to the site too. This section contains the largest listing of trail centres and promoted routes in Scotland, a basic guide to the different equipment involved, regional information, events listings, a fairly comprehensive list of skills and guiding companies (clubs to be added this summer) and links to help you visit the incredible mountain biking and come on holiday to Scotland. We will also be launching a new computer game and guide aimed at increasing riders’ awareness of how to be a responsible mountain biker, which will be hosted on this side of the site.
We are in the process of setting up regional clusters across Scotland. The aim of these clusters is for businesses, local authorities, national agencies and community groups to work together to provide enhanced regional and local co-ordination, share good practice and ensure a joined up approach to development.
The pilot cluster is Tayside and Fife and although it is only a year old it is already producing joined up, well thought through projects including sets of route cards across the area and a 2012 events guide for the area.
A survey during 2011 highlighted that DMBinS has been very helpful in working with partners within the cluster to achieve their aims. It should be noted, however, that the exciting developments happening in the area are the result of the hard work, dedication and professionalism of all who are involved in mountain biking in the area.
DMBinS have also created a cluster in Highlands with partners deciding the initial step should be to do an audit on existing provision, identify any gaps, quantify the potential for economic growth, growth in participation and sporting benefits then provide a recommended course of action to maximise these benefits.
We are also in the early stages of setting up a cluster across Central Scotland and a successful initial meeting highlighted the key projects the cluster should work through, the key members and the next steps to work through. All three clusters have LinkedIn groups to aid communication.
We are organising our Biennial National Mountain Biking Conference in Perth on 26th September. This meet up will provide an opportunity for the mountain biking community in Scotland to come together and collectively decide on the key advancements needed for Scotland to remain world class.
Our vision is from the ‘National Strategic Framework for Sustainable Mountain Biking Development in Scotland’ (Framework). The Framework was devised by the national agencies involved in mountain biking, after a large and extensive consultation exercise, to ensure mountain biking has a strategic approach in Scotland. It is DMBinS’s remit to deliver the framework, which is gratefully funded by CTC, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage and Sport Scotland.
Any businesses in Scotland, either existing or potential, with innovative ideas for mountain biking products can come to us for advice and support. We work in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Sporting Chance, Universities and Colleges across Scotland to work with entrepreneurs to take their ideas and help get them to market. If you have an idea you think would work then please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org."