New bike centre in Dalby Forest set to launch

�  Tony Bartholomew ' 07802 400651/mail@bartpics.co.uk''October 4th 2012''Mike Hawtin (CTC Cycling Development Officer) with Becky Mayo ( Dalby Forest Visitor Centre Manager) and Sophie Carter of Pace Cycles in Dalby Forest
� Tony Bartholomew ' 07802 400651/mail@bartpics.co.uk''October 4th 2012''Mike Hawtin (CTC Cycling Development Officer) with Becky Mayo ( Dalby Forest Visitor Centre Manager) and Sophie Carter of Pace Cycles in Dalby Forest
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A National Centre of Cycling Excellence is set for its official launch in Dalby Forest on Saturday.

The new facility, called Dalby Bike Barn, will provide a base for a National Centre of Excellence for the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), the national cycling charity.

It is being operated on the Forestry Commission’s behalf by the charity and Pace Cycles, which has been manufacturing bikes and components for 25 years in North Yorkshire.

The contract was awarded to Pace Cycles following a rigorous selection process which drew interest from 15 businesses across the UK.

The process hit the headlines locally when Purple Mountain, who had run Dalby’s cycle centre for six years and hoped to continue, lost out to the rival bidder.

Saturday’s launch will be marked with a Dalby 13 Expo event featuring free cycling taster sessions throughout the day.

There will also be an exhibition of the latest bikes and gear together with guest appearances by biking celebrities.

Dalby Forest has emerged as one of the UK’s pre-eminent mountain bike destinations since the Forestry Commission opened a 55 kilometre (35 mile) single track network in 2007.

The 8,600 acre site, near Pickering, has staged two rounds of the UCI World Cup Mountain Bike championships and a stage of the Tour of Britain.

Becky Mayo from the Forestry Commission said: “You don’t need to be Bradley Wiggins or dress in Lycra to have fun.

“Biking is for everyone and the CTC will be running courses aimed at women, youngsters and the over 50s, together with a host of other skills sessions.

“That very much fits in with the Forestry Commission’s aim to broaden access to Dalby’s bike trails.”

A new full-time CTC cycling development officer has also been recruited in the shape of 42 year old Mike Hawtin, from Pickering.

Mike, who has been cycling for over 20 years, said: “The centre is the first of its kind in the UK for the CTC and many of the initiatives we pioneer here will be rolled out elsewhere.

“Sometimes people get a bit fearful when they hear the word ‘mountain’ in mountain biking, but in reality if you can ride a bike you can ride in the forest.

“My job is to break down barriers and encourage people to experience the thrill of exploring the forest on wheels, whatever their ability.”