THE sight of muddy bikers stripping off at cycling events in and around Innerleithen should be a thing of the past as community leaders are backing proposals to create changing facilities.

The move comes following claims that mountain bikers were undressing in residential areas - to the annoyance of locals.

Innerleithen is fast becoming a popular destination for British cyclists with tens of thousands visiting events each year.

And although community leaders welcome biking enthusiasts, the problem has highlighted the lack of facilities in the town.

The biking community are also keen to resolve the problems, and Adrenalin Uplift has indicated it will financially support the refurbishment of a council-owned building.

Speaking to members of the town’s Community Council, Tweeddale Councillor Stuart Bell said he had spoken to Gordon Hodge from the Innerleithen-based company about the issues of bikers undressing in the street.

He said: “Gordon has come back to me and said one idea is to place a form of screen, almost shed-like changing facility in each car park, ie Leithen Road Co-op and Hall Street.

“Adrenalin Uplift is putting something of that nature down at the Red Bull carpark, it’s almost like a gazebo arrangement.

"It is understandable what Gordon is saying, guys are soaking wet, they are going to get back in the van, they want to change their clothing quickly so they don’t sit soaking wet whilst they are driving.”

A disused toilet block in Victoria Park has been identified as the perfect building to create a changing facility.

Councillor Bell continued: “I have established that some of this unit is used by the resilience group. However, if not all of it is being used perhaps half of it could be used as a changing room for the bikers.

"Gordon is saying that Adrenalin Uplift could look at donating finance to help renovate it. He is dead keen to sort problems.

“The council intimated that if it fits with the resilience group, it will be supportive of this proposal. Given that it has been divided down the middle it looks like a viable solution.”

Innerleithen Community Council is backing the proposal but some concerns were expressed regarding toilet facilities.

Community councillor Jackie Couchman said: “I’m not trying to be negative, but the practicality is if you are a wet biker and you come back and want to change, you probably need the toilet, so if you have some sort of private cubicle is it going to be used for changing. It just worries me.”

This concern was acknowledged and it was suggested the Scottish Borders Council allows free use of the toilet facilities during cycling events in the town.