Continuing in our series of guest blogs by supporting organisations, Gillian Lambie of Scottish Cycling explains what they’re doing to be a voice for cycling in Scotland – and not just those in Lycra
You may view Scottish Cycling as “them in lycra,” the athletes, the medals, but it is so much more than that. Scottish Cycling works to promote and develop cycling in Scotland through many different channels and is happy to be supporting Walk, Cycle, Vote.
Membership of Scottish Cycling is growing every day and currently at around 10,000 individual members with an additional 5000 individuals who are members of one of our 183 clubs – together making a 15,000 strong voice for cycling in Scotland. The voice can only get louder.
Scottish Cycling provides the support and framework to these clubs which helps to keep them running, growing and organising events and local cycling activities. It is important that Scottish Cycling continues to offer the support to these clubs as people who participate in sport through a club cycle more often and for longer than non-club members. Clubs provide further benefits including social cohesion, community engagement and involvement. Increased social interaction creates a sense of belonging and therefor a happier, more confident nation, so stronger more effective cycling clubs are good for Scotland
The Education and Training programmes offered by Scottish Cycling which includes programmes for Leaders, Coaches and Officials not only offer technical skills for people to become good Coaches, Leaders and Officials, but also opportunities for riders to grow and develop their skills and personal proficiency – prolonging their interest in cycling and therefore getting people cycling for longer. Offering these vocational qualifications is a huge benefit to the economy; it makes people more employable, gives people more opportunity and helps to build a skillful, aspiring nation.
Another huge part of what Scottish Cycling does is creating opportunities for people to grow and develop and in particular a pathway for cyclists to become the best they can be and to help progress elite riders onto the world stage. The performance development programmes do not only benefit the athletes who are training with the Scottish Cycling coaches but also those across the country. Sport can also inspire participation – following the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 84% of people have participated in sport since the Games and 94% of people plan to be more active in 2015. By seeing Scots doing well on the world stage provides an inspiration for cyclists and non-cyclists to continue or get into the sport – again this means more bums on saddles, and a healthier more active nation.
The 600 or so events on the Scottish Cycling calendar provide opportunities to participate all year round as well as opportunities for volunteers. Offering as many sporting events as possible reduces physical inactivity, which costs Scotland’s economy around £91 million annually. Events cannot run without the help of clubs, communities, volunteers and local councils and therefore promote working together as well as building employable skills within communities. Sporting events are a huge impact on the economy; the Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William alone generates around £2.4 million annually, Activities such as mountain biking generate some £120 million pound annually to the economy
To find out more about what Scottish Cycling has done, and plans to do, please read the 2015 Scottish Cycling Annual Report: Across the Regions.