A SMALL Walkerburn firm has put Tokyo on track to become the next big mountain biking nation.

Bike Track People, who operate out of a small workshop in the Peeblesshire village, are one of only two companies in the world who make the specialist equipment.

And this week they shipped off their first order to the capital of Japan.

The bespoke pump track, which has been commissioned by bike manufacturer Strider, will help introduce cycling to pre-school children.

Richard Latimer from Bike Track People told us: “Strider Japan got in touch to see if we could design and manufacture a pump track for them to use in Tokyo.

“We worked seven days a week to design and manufacture the track to be used specifically by small children on balance bikes.

“The track, which is the first of its kind in the world, quickly took shape and we are delighted with the finished product.

“We have been making pump tracks commercially for a few years but this is the furthest any of our tracks has gone.” Bike Track People employs a handful of part-time bike enthusiasts at its Walkerburn workshop.

And the latest commission also involved sub-contracting help from neighbours, DCB Welding Design, and joiners George Oliver & Sons from St Boswells.

They also pulled in the expertise of Innerleithen signwriter Gary Millie to help with the hand-painted finish.

Bike Track People also rent out tracks and equipment to festivals and exhibitions.

And gradually over the past three or four years business is beginning to boom.

Although the Tokyo contract is their first big export, they now have orders and interest coming from Norway, Italy and Spain as well as all over the United Kingdom.

Last year the company designed and manufactured four tracks and they are expecting to complete a further six during 2015.

And it all started with an idea hatched up in a Canadian college.

Richard explained: “Ben Wills from Peebles went over to Vancouver to do a university course and during his time there, the students were asked to design and build a track for a bike show.

“When he returned to Scotland he came up with idea of us building tracks as well.

“Pump tracks are great for cyclists and non-cyclists - they improve fitness and balance. It’s not everyone who can get to Glentress so we’re sort of taking a bit of Glentress to them.

“Our first efforts five years ago weren’t great but we improved and now we have a growing commercial business.”