Edinburgh is losing out on as much as £60 million a year in cycling tourism according to a report from its city council which urges that an action plan be drawn up to boost its profile as a destination.
The Scottish capital is pushing cycling both as a mode of transport through the development of cycle paths and as a sport, last year hosting a round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.
In the longer term, it aims to stage the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, having missed out to Yorkshire last year.
According to the council’s report, the city will initially aim to attract tourists through online videos showcasing some of its leisure cycling routes, reports The Herald.
It is also considering setting up ‘hubs’ to make it easier for visitors to explore the city by bike, with cycle hire and other bike-related businesses involved in drawing up the plan.
In the report, the council’s director of economic development, Greg Ward, noted that while mountain biking locations were promoted close to the city, “a report into the value of cycle tourism produced by Transform Scotland suggests a large captive market is being missed with regards to leisure cycling.
"Comparisons were made with Dublin, Berlin and Amsterdam - all capital cities where tourism has traditionally been based on culture and heritage but whom are now committing to a focus on cycling tourism.
"Despite the growth of this market and increasing popularity for mountain biking in the area, Edinburgh is not yet considered by visitors to be a leisure cycling destination.
"There are currently no cycling promotional campaigns directed expressly at visitors and there is little information readily available specifically targeting and encouraging tourists to make spontaneous decisions to use leisure cycling as a way to explore.
He added: “The Action Plan will concentrate on leisure cycling specifically and is initially focused on maximising awareness of the existing network of cycle paths and promoting areas safe and fun to explore which will complement the ongoing improvements to cycling infrastructure throughout the city."
But with a number of cyclists had been injured due to coming off their bikes due to the tracks of the city’s tram line, or crashing as a result of potholes, a Green Party politician said the council should fix the city’s roads before trying to encourage visitors to take to bikes there.
The party’s transport spokesman, Nigel Bagshaw, said: "This cannot be done in isolation with existing cycle paths and old railway routes.
“The roads would have to be made safe for cyclists and we are going to have to a lot more before promoting existing routes will work."
As the Herald points out, however, Edinburgh does have two ready-made ambassadors for cycling should it need them.
Those are native son Sir Chris Hoy, the most successful British Olympian of all time, and Danny MacAskill, who was propelled to fame in a video shot in the city that has now had more than 36 million views on YouTube.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.