Forest biking on the right track

18.01.2010

The Forestry Commission is urging more bikers to put themselves to the test and take up the challenge of improving their biking skills.
 
Purple Mountain, who run the new £250,000 bike centre near Kielder Castle in Kielder Water & Forest Park, have become the first outlet in North East England to be accredited by the Mountain Bike Instructor Award Scheme to run ′Right Track′ awards.
 
Youngsters aged between 11 and 18 years old can now use the acclaimed trail network in the 155,000 acre wilderness to gain specialist training and progress through five levels of instruction, earning certificates along the way. 
 
Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Tourism Manager with the Forestry Commission, commented:
 
“It’s one thing creating trails, but we also need to offer opportunities for bikers to polish their skills and develop better technique, while becoming safer riders.  We’re also committed to broadening the appeal of biking in the forest, which can deliver significant health benefits. That’s why we are delighted that Purple Mountain has gone down this road to achieving accreditation.”
 
Biking is riding on the crest of a wave in Kielder Water & Forest Park.  Last year a new 33 kilometre cross border route was fully opened by the Kielder Partnership, along with a pulse-quickening trials area with jumps and turns.  The last section in the 26 mile Lakeside Way multi-user route also opened and a ‘blue route’ targeting novice cyclists will be unveiled next year.
 
Vicky Griffin, who runs Purple Mountain, added:
 
"The Right Track scheme is aimed at schools and youth groups and allows bikers to upgrade skills and even follow their own dreams of stardom.  It can be designed to dovetail with NVQ and syllabus studies and counts towards pupils′ records of achievement. Gear selection, braking and tackling drop-offs are all covered and the top level of the Right Track awards includes competition riding.”
 
Kielder Water & Forest Park was recently voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Note to Editor

Purple Mountain is offering 25% discount on Right Track training sessions.  Each level comprises up to eight modules, each lasting around three hours.  For further details contact Purple Mountain on 01434 250532.
 
Funding for the new mountain bike trails in Kielder Water & Forest Park has come from the Northumberland Strategic Partnership via Single Programme funds from One NorthEast, European Regional Development Fund, Forestry Commission, the former Tynedale Council and the Kielder Partnership. 
 
The Kielder Partnership is a public, voluntary and private sector collaboration working to develop Kielder Water & Forest Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun.  Partners are the Calvert Trust Kielder, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water, plus representation from community groups. The Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an associate member.  For more go to  www.visitkielder.com.
 
Media calls to: Richard Darn on 01226 246351.  Mobile 0775 367 0038.

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