THE countdown has begun for the UK's biggest bike festival to roll into the Tweed Valley.

TweedLove Bike Festival was officially launched last weekend with 72 young cyclists putting the heart into their sport.

Later this month up to 11,000 cyclists and supporters of all ages from near and far will take part and watch the events across what is now known as Bike Valley.

This year's TweedLove is made up of 35 different cycling events spread over three weeks.

The two key weekends of May 26 to 28 and June 9 to 11 will see Peeblesshire packed with some of the best riders in the world.

But TweedLove isn't just about the best - the programme includes everything from overnight trips into the backcountry to family rides on closed roads and fun events for tots on balance bikes.

TweedLove director Neil Dalgleish told us: "It’s our biggest festival yet, which reflects the fantastic continued growth in cycling participation.

“This is by far the best area in the UK for cycling and mountain biking, and we have an incredible local population of bike fans living here, delighted to welcome others to share the fun and sport the area offers.”

For the first time TweedLove will include a ‘mega bike demo’ weekend, where many of the world’s top bike brands provide the public with the opportunity to try out top of the range bikes - some worth up to £10,000 each – on the trails of Glentress and country roads around Peebles.

It will be the biggest event of its kind in the UK this year, with hundreds of different bikes available to try.

Mr Dalgleish added: “This is an amazing chance for people to spend some timing riding the most sought-after bikes in the world, bristling with the latest lightweight technology, all in the UK’s best cycling destination.

“It’s fantastic that so many of the world’s best bike brands are coming to Peebles with their latest kit.

"People can take some time finding out what the bike of their dreams is really like to ride, and enjoy the festival atmosphere and all the events afterwards.”

Other highlights of the event programme include the Shimano TweedLove International Enduro – the UK’s biggest mountain bike enduro race with pro athletes competing for the country’s biggest cash prize fund.

For road riders the Cycle Law Scotland Skinny Tweed sportive ride offers a beautiful 45 mile route beside the River Tweed, and a full programme of family and children’s cycle events ensures everyone is catered for.

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland 's director for the South of Scotland, said: “Tweedlove Bike Festival is now a firm fixture on the UK cycling festival programme and a great day out for families.

"The stunning scenery and award-winning bike trails within Glentress Forest and the surrounding area provide the perfect backdrop for the festival.

“Events like this provide a boost to the local visitor economy by enhancing our region’s tourism offering and showcasing the very best of what the region has to offer. I hope as many local people and visitors from further afield will be able to come along to enjoy the great entertainment, racing and events planned.”

TweedLove began eight years ago with some cycling fans organising events for friends to take part in - it is now the UK’s biggest cycling festival.

Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & 21: TweedLove Bivvy Night - An overnight adventure in the Tweed Valley backcountry

Sunday, May 21: Cranked Short Circuit - Cross-country race for teams of two chidren, ages under 16.

Thursday, May 25: Islabikes PCC Dirt Crit - A well-established XC race in Glentress for children under 16.

Friday, May 26: Odlo Glentress Eleven - A beautiful 11km trail run in the forest. TweedLove’s first ever trail run.

Saturday, May 27: Odlo Glentress Seven - Scotland’s most popular MTB endurance trail race. Seven hours of XC riding for solo riders or pairs. Love Club: The official after party.

Sunday, May 28: Islabikes Family Day - The UK’s most popular kids bike racing day. Up to 400 children having fun on their bikes in the park.

Monday, May 29: Ridelines Natural Tweed - Free event, taking mountain bike riders on a non-competitive trip into the wilds and back.

Saturday, June 3: The Chase - Mountain bike orienteering for the whole family.

Thursday, June 8: Film and photo competition & TweedLove Multi-media Night - Special guests and special screenings.

Friday to Sunday, June 9 to 11: Tweedlove On The Green - TweedLove’s big weekend.

Friday to Saturday, June 9 to 10: Shimano TweedLove International Enduro -Pro riders battle it out on the world class trails for the big prizes.

Saturday, June 10: G-Form Enjoyro -An enduro race aimed at the less experienced and younger riders. Full on fun without the fear.

Cycle Law Scotland Skinny Tweed - Probably Scotland’s friendliest road sportive event.

PCC Kids Skills Session - Fun skills and learning bike games for the kids, helped out by some big names of bike sport

SEStran Islabikes Family Ride - Kids, mums, dads, grandparents – on your bikes.

Love Cross - An ‘urban cyclo-cross’ race in the middle of Peebles with obstacles, water-pistols, thrills, spills and a lot of laughs.

Sunday, June 11: Shimano TweedLove International Race