Innerleithen and District County Council is working with police to cut down on anti-social behaviour by mountain bikers, BBC News reports
Innerleithen was included in the British EWS rounds in 2014 and 2015 and is a popular destination for British mountain bikers. Tens of thousands of riders visit the destination each year but local residents have recently complained about a small minority of "muddy bikers stripping off in residential streets," using "foul language in response to reasonable representations" and using public land as a toilet.
Jackie Couchman, community councillor, told Peeblesshire News
, "The residents' primary concern is parking directly outside their houses and when there are events on in the town, they hardly dare move their cars because they won’t be able to park anywhere near their houses. PC Burniside said that if anyone sees this or any other anti-social behaviour, it should be reported. It’s only if the police have a record of these offences do they then have a feel for how significant the problems are.
She added, “There was talk about producing a leaflet basically welcoming people to the town and giving a code of conduct. I put something on our facebook page about it, there was an outpouring of people who don’t feel it’s a good idea. We need to tread with caution because there’s a danger that in intending to do good, it completely backfires.”
We've all been there though, sometimes the best trails don't have a car park or toilets and on a muddy day you just have to try and be as discreet as possible hunkered down in your boot. Neil Dalgleish, of events organisation Hill Outside, said that he had not heard of mountain bikers using public land as a toilet before but he believed the complaints were due to a lack of infrastructure for mountain bikers.
He told BBC News, "this issue would suggest there's a real need for better facilities. After all, who would choose to strip to the skin in a car park in January? The bike community will get the word out about this and I'm sure the riders will react well. I believe Innerleithen is a busier, more vibrant and probably a healthier community as a result of mountain biking's development here."
He also said the vast majority of riders respected the community they visited and "responded positively" to any issues or requests for co-operation.
There could be some good news on the way for all though as plans are currently being drawn up for a new bike park and innovation centre at Innerleithen. A public consultation will be held in town later this month with a full business case due to be published on January 24. An action plan has also been drawn up to look at increasing parking and using a small schemes budget to deliver improvements in facilities, hopefully everyone can ride and live in harmony until they come in.