Even as a Fife resident I’m surprised to find out it’s Scotland’s most popular region for walkers and cyclists.
“We’ve held that title for years!” says Sarah Roxburgh, from Fife Cycle Park. “It’s the accessibility – less than an hour and a half away from most people in Scotland.”
Sarah is the community use team manager at Fife Cycle Park and I’m in the park’s clubhouse chatting to her, cycle park supervisor Joe Fowkes and the active communities team manager Emma Broadhurst.
Fife offers variety. Visitors can travel from a sandy beach to a decent inland hill in no time, and the park is a great addition.
“We’re in the heartlands of Fife,” she says. “The hope is that it’ll help bring people into the area – and they’ll want to stay a bit longer and explore.”
Fife Cycle Park has got off to a good start. As well as regularly hosting events for cycling clubs from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dunfermline, they’ve had visitors travel from as far afield as Newcastle.
“The thing that makes us unique is that it’s not just a cycling facility, but a community facility,” Emma says. “It’s not only for elite riders. It’s for everyone.”
The schedule says as much. Mondays see the local Nordic Ski Club practise on roller skates, kids’ classes run throughout the week and there are development sessions for adults to improve confidence on a road-like environment.
When I visited, the park was just about to celebrate its first birthday.
“When we posted the news online, we had 12,000 reactions,” Joe says.
One of the park’s real assets is the clubhouse. The bright, clean building houses a large social space, plus changing rooms with showers and accessible toilets. Next door is Lochgelly High School, which is also a community-use building, hosting classes and events in evenings and at the weekend.
Working with schools is a part of the park’s ethos, and it’s an advantage for young learners to build up their confidence.
A figure of eight circuit with road markings helps the coaches explain the rules of the road to the children.
Joe points out that we’re also only a short hop from the Lochore Meadows Country Park, which has a number of its own off-road trails.
Distance: From a few hundred metres to 1.6km (1 mile).
Ascent: Negligible, but not completely flat, either.
Maps: Available at the centre.
Parking: Plenty of on-site parking at the centre, plus shower, changing and toilet facilities.
Top tip: If you’re planning a visit to Fife Cycle Park, keep an eye on the Facebook page at facebook.com/FifeCyclePark for new events, opening times, and changes to the session schedules.