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£10K funding available to run Caithness cycling events

By David G Scott

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Caithness-based community organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to organise free, beginner-friendly cycling events in 2022.

In 2021, Cycling Scotland supported four organisations to deliver Pedal Ayr, Pedal Lerwick, Pedal Falkirk and Pedal Highland Perthshire, with funding from Transport Scotland. These events helped make cycling accessible to more people across Scotland, with a particular focus on families and people new to cycling. Despite the challenges of planning in a pandemic, the organisers delivered successful events with 72 per cent of participants giving the route top marks in a post-event survey and 73 per cent giving the same highest marks to the atmosphere of the event.

A bicycle outside Thurso railway station. Picture: DGS
A bicycle outside Thurso railway station. Picture: DGS

Fifty per cent of participants were taking part in their first cycling event. The survey of participants suggested a quarter (26 per cent) cycled less than once a month before the event. When asked how often they planned to cycle in the months after the event, the most popular answer was "several times a week" with 42 per cent. "Less than once a month" had dropped to 4 per cent.

Cycling Scotland also provided funding to nine smaller events across Scotland, from Dumfries and Galloway in the south, to the Highlands and Islands in the north.

Organisations can now apply for up-to-£10,000 grants to run local Pedal for Scotland events between May and September 2022, for between 250 and 700 people. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2022.

Pedal for Scotland events will:

  • Be inclusive, free and non-competitive.
  • Be held on beginner-friendly cycling routes that don’t require technical cycling skills or high fitness levels and can be cycled on with adapted bikes and tricycles wherever possible.
  • Showcase local cycling infrastructure.
  • Be community-led and provide opportunities for local groups to work in partnership.
  • Support the development of local skills and resources.
  • Be delivered with minimal environmental impact.

There are also up-to-£1,000 grants for community organisations to support local cycling events for between 50 and 250 people. Funding can be used for event set up, equipment, insurance and route support.

The events will support participants to access bikes to help more people participate.

Cycling Scotland head of training Christopher Johnson commented: “We’re keen to build on the success and learning from last year’s events to support even more people new to cycling to give it a try in a safe and fun environment.

“More people are considering cycling for the first time for their health and happiness, and as a practical and environmentally-friendly way to travel short journeys.

“We’re encouraging community organisations to apply to the Pedal for Scotland fund and to establish cycling events in their local areas.”

Since its inception, more than 110,000 people have taken part in Pedal for Scotland, an initiative that developed from the original closed-road Classic Challenge fundraising event between Glasgow and Edinburgh to include longer and shorter rides for different abilities.

2019 saw the last Classic Challenge before Pedal for Scotland evolved into a series of shorter, free events in different locations to support more people to cycle.

For more information on the funding and how to apply, visit www.pedal.scot

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