After a well-received inaugural event earlier this year the Peeblesshire-based road cycling sportive event the Tour O' The Borders has announced its 2013 return with a choice of course lengths.
Packed with hilly terrain, quiet roads and classic mountain biking, the Scottish Borders is continuing to emphasise its identity as a major UK cycling destination. Following the visit yesterday of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and the Tour of Britain to the Borders (reported on the BBC here), another popular - and definitely more accessible - Borders cycling event has been announced for April 2013.
Starting from Peebles in the Scottish Borders, the ride will offer a 70 or a 49 mile course, both featuring quiet roads, great views and tough climbs throughout.
The event has been put together by two men with long experience of the Scottish cycling scene - Neil Dalgleish of the popular TweedLove Bike Festival, and John Anderson, the man behind the Bicycle Works bike shops and racing teams.
'We had a great first year,' says Dalgleish.
'Feedback from riders gave us a big thumbs up, but we thought we'd add the choice of a shorter course too. It's perfect for an event like this.'
'There are some exceptionally stiff climbs on the Tour,' says John Anderson. 'And a great advantage of this area is how quiet these roads are – you hardly see a car all day.'
The event is timed, but is not organized in a road race format. The aim is to give everyone a great day out on the bike on a scenic, rewarding course, say the organisers, with the fun and satisfaction of taking part in a shared challenge.
'Riders are all given their own timing results, and we make sure they're well looked-after' says Dalgleish.
Sports drinks and energy gels? Not likely - this is the Borders. And when in Rome...
'At the feed station this year we gave all the riders the local cyclists' secret carbohydrate weapon – Forsyth's hot macaroni pies. They're a legend and the riders devoured them.'
While there has been some recent controversy over the cost of this kind of event, with some road cycling sportives costing over £60, the Tour O' The Borders organisers claim they're doing what they can to keep costs down.
'Times are tough and good value is important' says Dalgleish. 'Events all over the country are reporting decreasing numbers, but our aim is to fight this by giving extra value and keeping costs as low as we can.'
A discounted 'earlybird' booking offer of £30 is available for the next few weeks (standard entry price is £35).
John Anderson explains: 'You can ride the Tour O' The Borders for less than half what it costs for some other events – and we reckon you get much more for your money too. We were pleased that so many of the riders this year seemed to agree.'
Tour O' The Borders, 14 April 2013, start/finish Peebles High School. For more info see the website.