Volunteers behind the West Lothian Cycle Circuit celebrated this week when it was announced that construction will begin in September on the £1.25 million world class facility in Linlithgow.
The new amenity at Linlithgow Leisure Centre is a 1km traffic-free, tarmac circuit made up of 4 loops that will be fenced and floodlit for all year round use by cyclists, runners and all-ability users.
The community-led project, managed by local charity Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) will provide an exciting range of supported cycling sessions for people of all ages and abilities from across West Lothian.
Carole Racionzer, Chair of LCDT, says “This amazing 1km facility is designed for the whole community. People will have access to a safe, traffic-free space for learning to ride, for cycle sport and for enjoying the outdoors.”
The total project is expected to cost £1.25 million. £636,000 has been provided via the Scottish Cycling and Sportscotland Cycling Facilities Fund, which aims to deliver a lasting impact from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, hosted in Glasgow and Scotland in August 2023. West Lothian Council is providing £349,000 with the remaining costs met by a range of external funders, including community fundraising.
Sophie McCall, Scottish Cycling Head of Development & Participation said, “Scottish Cycling is delighted to be able to invest in the development of this facility, and we look forward to continuing to work with local partners to bring the circuit to life and ensure it has a lasting impact for both the local community and the cycling community”
LCDT’s plans to build a 1km circuit began after a community consultation in 2012 and the charity have since been campaigning and fundrasing, with an impressive £77,000 donated through community fundraising.
Carole says, “After all the hard work and millions of hours of volunteer time, we are so excited to finally realise our vision in Linlithgow. This has been a true partnership between so many organisations and we can’t wait to see the facility in action, a fantastic outcome for cycle-sport, for community development, for active travel and for cycling tourism.
Local cycling club West Lothian Clarion have backed the project from the outset, with the new facility providing much needed space to deliver more coaching sessions and reduce its waiting list.
Clarion coach Matthew Ball says, “This will be a game changer for cycling in the region. We want to build a community around the the circuit and make it a ‘cycling hub’. The Clarion and other local clubs will organise races and coaching sessions for adults and youngsters, so Linlithgow will be a real hotspot for cycling.”
The circuit has a wide ranging user group including the general public, as Carole explains: “Cycling, running, triathlon and even skating groups want to book the facility. But everyone can use the circuit in public sessions, just like using the swimming pool. If you feel a bit wobbly on a bike, this is the place to build your confidence either with a bit of coaching or just riding about in a safe space with friends.”
The running community have been long time supporters, Angus Gallie, President of Linlithgow Athletics Club, says, “LAC are proud to have been involved and supportive of this project from its concept. We are looking forward to using the circuit for club sessions involving experienced runners, joggers and beginners. A great day for the power of community effort.”
Fraser Falconer, who spearheaded the project for 6 years as former chair of LCDT, says, “This is a great achievement for the Trust and all of the West Lothian Cycle Circuit volunteers. We wouldn’t be here without our funding partners, and the work West Lothian Council has done to procure and build this excellent facility. Many individuals and organisations have donated funds and time to get this project across the line. Thank you all so much.”