Alex MacLennan, recreation and tourism manager with the Forestry Commission, said: “Purple Mountain’s vision for the future matched ours in terms of ambition. They are a dynamic organisation, with the right kind of track record to help us take biking onto the next level. A new blue trail is set to open in the summer, adding to the red and black routes built over the past three years, along with a skills area. That means we offer something for all abilities. We are already seeing an influx of new bikers to Kielder and this new centre run by Purple Mountain will ensure cyclists get the most out of their trip.”
The centre is due to open on July 1. The Kielder Bike Centre will provide bike hire, including a demo fleet of Lapierre bikes, and also run training courses, guided tours, corporate events and mechanical servicing.
Purple Mountain is owned by 34 year old Vicky Griffin, who started her own bike hire concern as a 17 year old in the North York Moors village of Castleton. Later she set-up a new company with late partner Chris Flintoft and opened the Dalby Forest Bike Centre in 2006, which now employs 15 people.
Vicky Griffin said: “Taking biking to new audiences has been one of our hallmarks and that’s what we aim to do in Kielder Water & Forest Park. We were bowled over by the new trails. There’s a massive amount of energy locally to make the venue one of the best for biking in the UK. A key selling point is the amazing wilderness feel you get when riding in the forest. It’s something you link with places like Canada, but which Kielder Water & Forest Park also delivers in abundance.”
Elisabeth Rowark, director of Kielder Partnership, which awarded the contract, added: “The opening of the Bike Centre is another milestone in developing sustainable tourism and world class facilities in Kielder Water & Forest Park. We are delighted to have Purple Mountain on board. This is a key time with so many trails opening, including the 26 mile Lakeside Way, allowing family bikers to circumnavigate Kielder Water for the first time.”