Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy was at yesterday's launch of the Glasgow Mountain Bike Circuit and said it could be springboard for cycle stars of the future. So long as they lay off the Mars bars...

Hoy urges Glaswegian kids to ditch crisps for bikes

Glasgow City council has developed a series of city park MTB trails.

The opening yesterday was supported by Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy who rode part of the inaugural race route with the Haghill Dirt Dawgs school mountain bike club and members of the West of Scotland Special Olympics team.

Graded to suit a range of abilities, the three circuits in Pollok Park provide trails suitable for novices through to experienced MTBers.

Developed as a partnership between Cycling Scotland, Glasgow City Council Land Services and the Scottish Executive, it is hoped that the trails will encourage more developments around Scotland in order to boost cycling confidence and ability.

Councillor James Todd said: "The aim is that people will increase their cycling skills and improve their health. This is also a great opportunity for people to get on their bikes and have fun. And with someone of the calibre of Chris Hoy as a role model, we will hopefully encourage Olympic stars for the future."

Hoy, 28, who took gold and broke the Olympic record in the men’s 1km time trial to add the title to his world and Commonwealth championships, urged Scottish children to help the country shake off its "sick man of Europe" tag.

He said: "Scotland does have a poor health record and if I can start influencing the next generation into getting active and out on their bikes and eating healthy food, it is a step in the right direction.

"I would be really touched if I could influence someone else to take up sport and become the next Olympic champion.

"I started my cycling career between off-road and BMX and I have real affinity for this kind of facility.

"It is fantastic, especially so close to the city centre but where there is no traffic around."

Pollok Park is served by the Glasgow Cycle Network, the National Cycle Network, and has good public transport links.

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