image copyright Andy Gerrie

The Drum Up Scottish Cycling podcast 19: Closed road circuits

In this show I cover closed road cycling circuits in Scotland, including my own experiences at the much-loved Ingliston near Edinburgh. There is news about the Fife Cycle Park, which is starting to be built, and an interview with Matt Ball of the Linlithgow Development Trust about the West Lothian Cycle Circuit, which is entering its final phase of funding.

Listen on the player below or subscribe on Apple podcasts.

The West Lothian Cycle Circuit, Linlithgow

I spoke to Matt Ball of West Lothian Clarion about a new traffic-free circuit in Livingston that is being developed. West Lothian Council have ringfenced funding for this purpose-built facility after years of work by the Linlithgow Community Development Trust.

The design of the track includes several ‘pods’ that can be used separately, so that multiple coached sessions can take place at once.

The main use of the circuit will be for youth coaching and racing. Up to a certain age, youth riders can only race on closed roads, and this makes it difficult to put on the events to develop young cycling talent.

An interesting addition to the circuit will be a cobbled section.

West Lothian Cycle Circuit plans

The Trust needs to raise the final £25,000 to build this circuit, and you can donate here:

Or send a text to 70070 and include WLCC £10 in your text message (or the amount you wish to donate.

One novel idea to raise awareness about the fundraising effort is the roller challenge – people are filming themselves riding a set of rollers and spreading the word about the campaign. I tried this but failed miserably – I’m badly out of practice!

Fife Cycle Park

Fife Cycle Park is a facility that has secured funding from sportscotland and the Government, and has the go-ahead for construction to start. It is due to open in early 2018 on land between Lochgelly High School and Lochore Meadows in Fife.

closed road cycling circuit in Fife

Billed as Scotland’s first purpose-built cycle circuit, it will be 1.6km long and allow for a full range of cycling activities to take place in a traffic free environment all year round.

As you can see from the design graphic below, there are multiple corners and sub-circuits, that allow for a variety of course configurations, or for multiple coaching sessions to take place at one time.

closed road cycling circuit near Lochore Meadows and Lochgelly in Fife

Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling Chief Executive said: “Scottish Cycling is hugely excited to see ground broken today for the creation of the first regional level cycling facility in Scotland, The Fife Cycle Park. Closed road facilities are identified as a priority in Scottish Cycling’s Facilities Strategy for Cycling Development. They are fundamental in giving more opportunities for people to get on their bike and cycle in a safe environment.

“Having a closed road loop on their doorstep is going to make a huge difference to the communities and clubs in and around Lochgelly and Fife. It will be perfect for hosting training sessions and events which are suitable for all ages, as well as being an ideal location for coach development.

“With Lochore Meadows County Park not far for the circuit, Fife Council is continuing to grow its cycling hub for both on and off road riders, attracting cyclists from across Scotland.”


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Ingliston cycling circuit near Edinburgh

For many years in Scotland, if you mention closed road circuits, Ingliston just outside Edinburgh is the first place that comes to mind. It is on land next to The Royal Highland Centre, which hosts the Royal Highland Show, Scotland’s main agricultural exhibition, every year.

Every year there is a crit series run by Edinburgh Racing Club and it was at these races I was able to get the points to reach the heady heights of category 3 road racing license. In the podcast I reminisce a little about why I enjoyed this type of racing and mention a few tips I have previously posted about how crits can help new road racers improve.

Tips for 4th cat racers: get your 3rd cat!

I don’t know if this is still the case, but back when I was racing, crits were seen as an easy way to get the points to move up a category. I think that is true to an extent – there are various reasons that crit racing is a bit easier.
– closed road, a bit safer,
– short circuit, you get to know the corners and how to ride them
– less equipment, you don’t need to worry about spare wheels, yes you can take a lap out but
– smaller fields, a bit easier

On the other hand, to say that crits are easy isn’t true – it is one hour flat out with little or no respite. But the good thing about Ingliston was that I found that crits were a type of race that suited me. Club mates who would beat me on the road or give me a kicking in 50-70 mile group rides were getting shelled out half way.