Kevin & Bike Innovation Scotland

CIE’s CEO Kevin Mayne with our partners Bike Innovation Scotland

29 Aug 2023

We talk a lot about “Ecosystems” in our work at CIE, mainly using the word to describe the complex interconnectivity of companies and services that form the cycling industry in Europe. It is a big part of our work to enable all the contributors in the system to meet, collaborate and improve our impact.

However, it is much easier to talk about an ecosystem approach when you see it in action, industry, academia, and government all striving for a common goal of more cycling and a thriving economy, using cycling as a tool for innovation, regeneration, and investment.

That was the biggest takeaway from CIE, as well as our members to Scotland in August, when we attended a series of business support events alongside the UCI Cycling World Championships.

CIE members were hosted by our colleagues the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, which took our CEO Kevin Mayne and our partners on a two-day trip to the Tweed Valley. This scenic area, which was the venue of the Cross-Country Mountain Biking championships, will become the site of a world class Innovation Center in 2025. Combining the technical and academic expertise of Scottish universities, with a unique Trail Laboratory built into test tracks in the surrounding hillsides.

Previously, we were shown the research facilities at Edinburgh Napier University and “Beyond Bikes: Unlocking Scotland’s Pedal-Based Transport Industry” in Glasgow, all part of the extensive support program for the sports events. In turn, showing that  the business potential for cycling was not just narrowed to MTB, transport, health and manufacturing all have access to integrated research support.

At the “Power of the Bike Innovation Summit” over 100 attendees from global companies to exciting local start-ups discussed the building blocks that will encourage and support innovation in the industry, with our CEO Kevin Mayne leading the session on data. Showcasing the impact of the event Richard Lochhead MSP, the Scottish Government Minister of Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade attended to highlight the government’s support for the economic potential of cycling and launch both a new mountain biking strategy for Scotland and a new umbrella brand to unite the innovation threads as “Bike-Innovation Scotland”.

The atmosphere was inspirational, leaving no doubt in the minds of any of the international attendees that the setup in Scotland is world-leading, with few countries or regions able to point to a comparable ecosystem approach.

And What Next?

CIE will actively continue our partnership with Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland because they are creating services which benefit the whole of the bicycle sector in Europe. We encourage our members and other companies to reach out to them too, the academic back up that they have for innovation is a great resource. We will be there when the Innovation Centre and Living Lab open in Innerleithen in 2025 for a proper Scottish party!

We are also really encouraged by the attitude to collective development that is shared by all the current and emerging clusters and innovation centres in cycling. They recognise each other’s strengths and see a great basis for mutual success. If that means innovating in Scotland, Portugal, Berlin, or Milan and sharing expertise then there is scope for growth for everyone. CIE supports this through our Cycling Innovation Network and we are working to strengthen the interconnectivity between centres in coming years.

Finally, we all must intensify our lobbying for more industrial capacity in the bike industry. At European level we are far behind other sectors such as automotive in building sustainable regional clusters to support industrial development, so we have made capacity building the core of our proposals to the EU for a cycling industry masterplan. The Scottish Government knows they have a world-leading opportunity, but as always budgets get reviewed and priorities change, we can all speak up to ensure that their momentum is maintained as part of our European industrial resources.

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