Organisers behind the West Lothian Cycle Circuit have raised £30,000 through a 4 week crowdfunding campaign, not only that, they did it with 2 days to go before the campaign closed.
The money raised by the crowdfunder will be used to erect 27 floodlights around the perimeter of the circuit, so that cycling can continue all year round, throughout the whole day.
Over £0.5million has been raised to date and planning permission has been granted. The community-led project, managed by local charity, Linlithgow Community Development Trust, has almost got enough funds to build phase one, a 0.5km tarmac traffic-free circuit featuring two loops
Matthew Ball, lead volunteer, said “We are overwhelmed by the response, the total just kept going up and up! We are so grateful to all 400 of our crowdfunder backers who helped us to achieve the £30K target.
Donations were made by people as far away as London and Spain, but it’s the local community who really got behind our campaign”
“We would like to extend huge thanks to everyone who has shown their support via pledges, donating rewards or helping out behind the scenes.”
The campaign received sizeable donations to enable us to reach the target. These include West Lothian Clarion, Richard Docherty, Bill Young, The Fulton Family, Iain and Susan Elliott, Pedal Power, Deeside Thistle Cycling Club and Dunfermline Cycling Club. We are also thankful for previous contributions from local cycling clubs – Falkirk Bike Club, Falkirk Junior Bike Club, Edinburgh Road Club, Livingston Cycling Club and Kinross Cycling Club.
Mhairi McMahon, from Crowdfund Scotland said “coaching the West Lothian Cycle Circuit project has been very exciting! It’s the biggest project that we’ve seen as part of the Crowdfund Scotland initiative and we’ve loved seeing their campaign succeed”.
The cycle circuit is one of the flagship projects of local charity Linlithgow Community Development Trust. The Trust aims to make Linlithgow a better place to live and work through a community led plan of action and support to local initiatives.
Pamela Barnes, Development Worker for Linlithgow Community Development Trust, said “This is a great achievement for the Trust and all of the West Lothian Cycle Circuit Project team volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has supported the project to date!
We are really grateful for the ongoing support from our main funders, West Lothian Council, SportScotland and Scottish Cycling. We are now in discussions with them to finalise funding so we can push ahead with building phase 1 of the circuit as soon as possible. We anticipate construction commencing later in the Summer and look forward to the circuit being open to the public by Spring next year.”
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The West Lothian Cycle Circuit will be the perfect safe space for anyone new to cycling to build up their skills and confidence says Melanie Toner, the Participation Programmes Officer at Scottish Cycling
One of our strategic aims at Scottish Cycling is to grow the number of women and girls involved in cycling. The Breeze programme is helping us do this, by supporting more women to (re)discover the joys of cycling. Nothing beats that feeling of freedom on your bike, with (hopefully) the wind at your back and the sun on your face.
Our volunteer ride leaders, known as Breeze Champions, support women in their local communities to ride their bikes by offering friendly, supported led rides. However, we’re engaging with women who already know how to ride a bike and feel confident enough to join a ride. There is a step before this for many women (and men) who’ve never learned to ride a bike, or it was so long ago they doubt they will remember how to, despite what the famous phrase says!
A purpose-built cycle-circuit, free from traffic, fenced and floodlit, provides a safe space for anyone new to cycling to have a go and build up their confidence and skills on a bike, free from the worry of cars, pedestrians, dogs and other hazards. Cycle skills sessions can help new and nervous cyclists to learn the balance and coordination needed for joining led rides and progressing your cycling, whether you want to ride to the shops, to work every day, ride long-distances or enter a sportive or race.
We’d love to work with local clubs and the community at the cycle circuit to support the growth of Let’s Ride participation programmes, including Breeze, and ultimately get more people on bikes.
Only 20% of UK Go-Ride members are female and there is a marked and recognised drop-off moving from U12 and U14 categories.
There are currently less than 40 girls racing in U14/U16 categories across Scotland and they are spread across mountain biking, cyclocross, road, track and BMX.
This small but mighty group carry a broad range of attitudes and ability towards riding and racing. Ride Race LikeALassie is an initiative working to create a social and information-sharing network for Scottish female cyclists under 16.
Some clubs have a lone rider, others have larger groups, but wherever they are, we hope building links across this community will influence a positive environment to help girls enjoy and remain in cycling.
We are supporting the West Lothian Cycling Circuit because a centrally located cyclists’ facility could provide a fantastic focal point for this group to support and spend more time together, for more regular coaching sessions, info sessions and cafe-time.
We also see a facility such as this as an opportunity to help with key integration across the age groups, with opportunities for older girls being more visible to younger ones.
Recent initiatives by clubs such as Edinburgh Road Club to bring teenage girls into assistant coach roles and create programmes of mentoring have the long-term goal of strengthening the link into U14 where many girls are lost to cycle racing.
A regular meeting place for larger numbers of riders could be influential in this goal.
Our first event, Race LikeALassie, is on 7th March and will see female U16/U14 riders from 10 clubs across Scotland come together to spend a day of fun, friends, food and to meet some experts – experts to give specialist girl-specific advice on being an athlete – fuelling, training, avoiding injury, keeping motivated.
We are also planning events for younger riders later in the year and hope this project will continue to encourage young female cyclist across Scotland for years to come.
Graeme Cross is passionate about cyclo cross and road racing, the 2015 Scottish Veterans Road Champion explains why he wants the to see the cycle circuit built.
I’ve always been a bike rider. From a young age, it’s what I loved the most. The freedom it gave me to go anywhere I wanted, when I wanted, as fast as I wanted was so empowering, it still does this for me even at age 45.
I enjoy racing, It’s my passion and I regularly take part in Road and Cyclo Cross events.
Many of my skills were developed at a young age; we had quiet streets in our estate, so had the run of the place. I picked up much confidence on the bike from riding as a youngster.
In my early teens, I dabbled with some MTB racing but lost my interest as I neared my legal driving age. I got back into mountain biking in my mid-twenties for social riding and camping trips away with friends.
When my first daughter was born I bought a road bike so I could continue cycling but not spend so long away from home.
I entered various sportives as my fitness grew. In early 2013 a friend of mine said I should enter a road race, I thought why not? Sounds fun!
My first race was a massive shock to the system I hung on for an hour before getting dropped but I was hooked!
I took part in a few crit races and with improving fitness and race craft, I won the support race at the Scottish Champs.
I then started doing some track cycling at the now demolished Meadowbank Velodrome and latterly in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. I loved the short and fast style of racing as well as the development of new friendships.
These same friends persuaded me to try another discipline – cyclocross. My bike’s mech hanger broke in my first race and I didn’t finish but I was now hooked on another style of cycle racing.
Why is this all relevant? Well, I didn’t have access to a cycle circuit when I was young, and despite that, I was able to find a way to enjoy my bike riding and work to a decent competitive standard.
Imagine what benefit a cycle circuit would give to cyclists (of any age)? People wanting to get on a bike for the first time or those that haven’t touched a bike for a while could get on two wheels in a safe environment and build their confidence.
A purpose-built tarmac track would also provide an accessible entry into racing from beginner to elite standard. And, like all cycling does, it will provide the connection to other like-minded people and friendship of all ages. What’s not to love about this?
How would I personally make use of this circuit? Beyond actually racing crits at the circuit, there is definitely scope to hold cyclocross races, even a league held in the summer or winter, or both hopefully.
The opportunity to train away from the busy roads e.g. solo efforts or arranged group training sessions that would improve fitness and bike handling would be fantastic.
I think bikes are simply ace. I want as many people to feel like this too! Let’s build it!