A VISION to make the south of Scotland the country’s leading cycling destination and the ‘Home of the Bike’ has started to become a reality this week.

The south’s first cycling partnership strategy aims to ensure the region becomes the most popular choice for shorter, everyday journeys by 2032.

The document has been created by the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership, made up of a range of local and national partners who represent thousands of local people and aims to capitalise on the arrival of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland, with the south hosting three of the 13 categories.

The strategy has a 10-year time frame and covers all aspects of cycling in both the Borders, and Dumfries and Galloway.

The delivery plan has three distinct time frames, with immediate opportunities presented by the UCI championships next year, followed in the medium term by improvements in cycling infrastructure and, over the long-term, it will look to deliver on the region’s Net Zero commitments and make cycling an inclusive and accessible transport option.

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The partnership was endorsed on Monday in Hawick by the Convention of the South of Scotland (COSS), after being rubber-stamped last month by Borders, and Dumfries and Galloway councils.

Councillor Euan Jardine, the leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The new strategy, developed together by a range of partners, is hugely exciting for the south of Scotland and marks a new dawn in changing our region for the better through cycling and the power of the bike.

“It builds on the region’s unrivalled cycling heritage and our well-established worldwide reputation for on and off-road cycling. It also capitalises on past, ongoing and future investment, from the 7stanes off-road network to the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre in the Tweed Valley.

“There is truly an opportunity to make the South of Scotland the ‘Home of the Bike’ and exploit all the benefits that can bring for our residents, businesses and visitors, from health to the economy – this strategy is the first step in making that happen.

“When just over 200 years ago humble blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan from Dumfriesshire went into his workshop and created the ‘velocipede’, he could not have dreamed of the incredible things the bicycle could do for the south of Scotland’.”