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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 16:38 GMT
Study predicts mountain bike boom
Pic by Andrew Robertson
Officials want to make the area a key centre for mountain bikers
The Tweed Valley could be developed into one of the world's top mountain bike settings, according to a study.

The report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Borders, said 200 new jobs would be generated by the move.

Installing the world's first dedicated mountain bike chairlift in Innerleithen is seen as vital to the proposals.

That could bring up to 100,000 visitors a year to the Scottish Borders and help bring an annual income of more than 6m into the region's economy.

The Tweed Valley Development Group has set up a working group to take forward the proposals in the report.

Members include SEB, Scottish Borders Council, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Tweeddale Business Consortium.

Visitor numbers

A company is currently being sought to operate a bus-based transport system to take bikers and their bikes to the top of downhill routes at Innerleithen.

It is hoped that could take visitor numbers from the current 8,000-a-year to at least 25,000.

The report then recommends installing a detachable quad chairlift system between Elibank and Traquair Forests.

Dr Julian Pace, director of strategy at SEB, said the area was fast becoming a favourite with mountain bikers of all levels.

"This report demonstrates there is now a real opportunity to capitalise on that success and position the Borders as one of the world's leading mountain bike destinations," he said.

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