A MOUNTAIN biker says he was abused by cyclists attending an event in the Borders.

Ali Dow recently went to a biking race at Gatehouse of Fleet, in Dumfries and Galloway.

But upon returning to Innerleithen he said he faced a struggle to get a parking space due to a race associated with TweedLove, a festival organised by Peebles-based firm Hillside Outside, taking place.

And he claimed that he was abused by cyclists who were using the pavements to ride on.

In an email to Innerleithen and District Community Council (IDCC), Mr Dow wrote: “TweedLove, I believe, had an event in Innerleithen and arriving back in town it was very hard to get parked.

“We live on the High Street and normally use Hall Street to park. We don’t have any more right to a parking space than anybody else, but most spaces were full of event vehicles.”

He added: “As I drove down looking for a space I almost hit one rider, washing his bike in the middle of the road. He gave me a disgusted look and abuse followed.

“Once I got parked I challenged quite a few event riders cycling on the pavement and got nothing but abuse back.

“I was told Tweedlove had said in an email to riders not to park in the streets or ride on the pavements, but the riders paid no attention.

“The event we attended (at Gatehouse of Fleet) asked us not to park in the town, a farmer’s field was laid aside and we paid for the weekend, the farmer made money and the town had a relaxed atmosphere.”

IDCC chair Susan Meikle said: “Unfortunately your comments and observations are not unique.”

She added that she thought that some events like the Enduro World Series (EWS), which has been held in the Tweed Valley, were well organised.

Tweeddale East councillor Julie Pirone said: “You probably need to forward Mr Dow’s email to the Scottish Borders Council (SBC) officer who deals with that event and send it to the event organisers. We need some sort of council policy for these events. It needs to be right for both those coming and those who live here.”

On the complaint, Hillside Outside’s Neil Dalgleish said: “This is news to us, but we do of course apologise if the behaviour described was related to a TweedLove race.

“We were not aware of any problems in Innerleithen over the weekend. It was a small event with 300 riders taking part – so the trails at Caberston had few if any more riders than an average weekend in May.

“I can confirm that all official event vehicles were parked in or beside Victoria Park, none at all on Hall Street. We’ve not been told what day or time the problem occurred but will happily investigate. Our staff regularly checked Hall Street and in most cases there were, surprisingly, empty parking spaces available.”

He added: “It’s misleading to compare our event with either the Gralloch event in Gatehouse of Fleet or the Enduro World Series. The former was one of the UCI’s biggest gravel races with over 1,000 participants and large-scale international status.

“The EWS (which has certainly attracted its fair share of public complaints) is majority owned by Warner Bros Communications, and enjoyed major public funding from SBC and Scottish Government to help mitigate community problems.

“As this event was run by Hillside Outside, a small, unsupported local events business, it’s hardly a like-for-like comparison. But we’re very proud of how we run our events, and are happy to answer legitimate criticism.”

He also called for an end to “unsupported comments” about how much the events make.