Welcoming guests on two wheels is key goal for inn

Gary Turner, Berwick town councillor Gordon McLean, Berwick North councillor Gavin Jones, Alnwick councillor Gordon Castle, and Jude Leitch, from Visit Northumberland.
Gary Turner, Berwick town councillor Gordon McLean, Berwick North councillor Gavin Jones, Alnwick councillor Gordon Castle, and Jude Leitch, from Visit Northumberland.

A north Northumberland pub unveiled its new cyclist-friendly facilities as it hosted the launch of a Cycle Tourism Toolkit last week.

On Thursday, the Lindisfarne Inn, at Beal, wheeled out the work it has put in place to gear up to being a cyclist-friendly stop-off at its Welcoming Inn Cyclists event.

Located on the edge of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), on the 120-mile Sandstone Way mountain-bike route and the Coast and Castles cycle route, the inn has experienced a massive upswing in cycling tourism since putting the spotlight on this expanding market.

It secured match-funding from the Northumberland Coast AONB Sustainable Development Fund to help boost its facilities and offer for cyclists. It invested in safe and secure bike storage, bike stands, repair kits, pumps, bike wash-down equipment and distinctive signs to show passing cyclists it is there to welcome them.

The special service extends to the food on offer too. The inn worked with 24-hour mountain-bike endurance rider Rich Rothwell to create a special Explorer menu of high-energy, homemade dishes to eat at the inn, snacks to take away as a packed lunch or as portables to eat on the go.

Cyclists staying overnight have the option of keeping their bike in the brand-new Cycle Cabin or taking their bike into the inn’s en-suite bedrooms which also have handy plastic trays for muddy footwear.

The inn will help to dry wet clothing too and a collection service for cyclists operates through the inn’s courtesy vehicle, subject to availability.

Gary Turner, from The Lindisfarne Inn’s parent company, The Inn Collection Group, said: “We’ve really tried to put ourselves in the pedals of customers arriving by bike and being prepared and ready to offer the facilities and extra touches they need to make their time with us as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.”

Iain Robson, of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, said: “We have an aim of getting visitors to the Northumberland coast out of their cars and onto two wheels.

“Alongside walking and using the bus, cycling is a great way of exploring the coast and we know that cyclists, like walkers, spend more money with local businesses than car-borne visitors.”

Tourism businesses at the launch were able to try out The Lindisfarne Inn’s cycle-friendly facilities including a new Cycle Cabin with bespoke cycle store rails, charge points for electric bikes and bespoke Sheffield stands sourced from local bike store M Steel Cycles.

Cyclist toolkits for businesses can be downloaded from www.cyclenorthumberland.org.uk
Graham Vickers, director of Cycle Northumberland, said: “The Cycle Tourism Toolkit has been created to help businesses, whether they provide food, accommodation, services or are a visitor attraction become cyclist-ready and friendly.

“Becoming cyclist-ready means not being caught out by their needs. The toolkit is packed full of resources to help businesses make the cyclist’s experience of Northumberland good and memorable, which will encourage repeat business and recommendations. This is an expanding segment of the visitor market and one which can really benefit Northumberland’s tourism industry.”