Cycle park for Ayrshire’s Alps

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South Ayrshire’s ambition to host the first ‘road cycling park’ in Scotland moved closer to fruition with the launch of a new website.

Commissioned by South Ayrshire Council via the South Carrick Community Sports Hub, the Ayrshire Alps Cycle Park website at www.ayrshirealps.org is now online.

The new website is the first step towards the creation of an on-road trail centre, climbs are graded green to black, to attract new cyclists and also to appeal to new sportive riders and experienced racers.

Information on all the climbs including downloadable GPS files, journey planning details, details on local facilities and the option for cyclists to log on and register each climb they complete is there to access any time of the day or night.

The official launch took place in the car park in Straiton, where many people start their cycle ride when tackling the famous Nick o’ the Balloch cycle route.

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “The site showcases the fantastic cycling in and around the South Carrick area, with 15 categorised climbs that will inspire people to get out their bikes, settle into their saddles and experience the Ayrshire Alps.

“Cycling is an environmentally friendly way to travel whether it is for competitive cycling, to improve mental or physical health or to and from work.”

The concept for the park came from Christopher Johnson, a local race organiser, he said: “I was speaking to partners in the Council about creating a legacy from the cycling events in the South Carrick area when it struck me that there is nowhere else in Scotland that offers the same fantastic road cycling. Within a fifteen mile radius we have an amazing selection of testing hill climbs, on quiet roads and in beautiful scenery − far more than even most local cyclists are aware of. It is not unusual for me to cycle 40 miles in the park and come across less than 10 vehicles – that’s one for every four miles travelled.”

The area is well known to racing cyclists, with top professionals including Mark Cavendish and Chris Boardman, who have competed in the Girvan Stage Race.

A live pilot website has now been running for over six months and has attracted huge interest from cyclists across the UK and beyond. South Ayrshire Council commissioned the new site and is currently investigating signage options for the area. It is hoped that with the huge popularity of cycling and rise in sales of road bikes, many cyclists will choose to come to South Ayrshire to sample the fantastic terrain, and tranquil environment.

Councillor Bill Grant, Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder said: “The new website will benefit local cyclists and people thinking about planning or visiting South Ayrshire for a cycling challenge. With increased numbers of cyclists travelling to the area local businesses will have an opportunity to get involved.”