British Cycling and the Forestry Commission have signed a 10-year, preferred partnership agreement that is designed to bring more cycling events to forests across England. In its capacity as Forestry Commission's preferred partner, British Cycling will authorise and help manage cycle events across 250,000 hectares of English forests and woodland overseen by the organisation.
As a result, British Cycling-affiliated event organisers will benefit from preferential rates and a standard process for staging cycle events, from local club rides to major international competitions such as the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup which took place in Yorkshire's Dalby Forest in April.
The agreement will also improve the development of new trails and event venues and will make 24 visitor centres nationwide more bike friendly for cycling clubs, tourists and local communities.
"This partnership is crucial to the development of off-road cycling and mountain biking," said Ian Drake, British Cycling's CEO. "By working together with the Forestry Commission we can further drive participation in our sport and identify areas of funding for future investment in trail centres and event venues.
"The new course in Dalby Forest, which was created for the recent World Cup, is now open for anyone to ride and is a good example of how the partnership will work to create new opportunities for more people to enjoy cycling in England's most scenic beauty spots.
"The agreement covers all mountain bike disciplines of cross country, downhill and four cross and is a significant step in driving the development of mountain biking in this country from the grass roots to a world-class level."
"Getting more people doing more things in our forests for their enjoyment, excitement and keeping them healthy is incredibly important to the Forestry Commission," said Simon Hodgson, CEO at the Forestry Commission. "Cycling is a great way for people to get out and experience woodlands whatever their level of experience.
"We are very excited about this partnership that will improve what we can offer from everyday cycling to full on mountain biking.
"Together we will be able to organise more high-quality events and the recent mountain bike World Cup event at Dalby in Yorkshire is a fantastic example of what we can achieve. Not only does it raise awareness of cycling and the Forestry Commission but brings welcome income that we can reinvest to improve facilities locally."