THE events organiser who brought TweedLove to the Borders is leading calls for the region to become Scotland's first National Park for Cycling.

Neil Dalgliesh has helped stage and promote hundreds of two-wheeled events in the area over the past decade.

And the closed-road sportives, downhill races and international enduros have boosted the local economy by millions.

Now the Peebles-based businessman feels a move to national park status would enhance the region's reputation even further as a cycling destination.

He told us: "It was a Scot – John Muir - who invented the concept of national parks, and another Scot - Kirkpatrick Macmillan – who invented the pedal bicycle, so it seems fitting that we should invent the first National Park for Cycling.

"We have something internationally unique and extremely valuable right here in the Scottish Borders, and it’s the envy of many places around the planet – not least just over the border in England.

"Not only do we have a world class collection of mountain bike trails and off-road tracks, we also have access legislation in Scotland which gives everyone the right to roam on them.

"It’s also extremely significant that we have a huge network of quiet tarmac roads through stunning countryside – it’s an undiscovered road cycling heaven.”

TweedLove's 2018 events alone produced economic benefit valued at £740,000 by Scottish Borders Council.

While the Tweed Valley - Peebles and Innerleithen in particular - enjoying the financial benefits from cycling, Mr Dalgleish believes national park status would spread the two-wheeled windfall further.

He added: "There’s a chance to spread that benefit and give recognition to a wider area.

“The areas surrounding the ‘cycling honey pots’ are usually overlooked, but have amazing scenery, beautiful hill tracks and most importantly some fantastic road cycling to offer.

“We need to be proud of these assets and let the world know what we have to offer.

"Declaring ourselves a national park for cycling would be big news for cyclists all over the world, but it wouldn’t need millions of pounds of investment to deliver.”