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Here for the gears; Annual Bike Festival adds music and food and drink to its many attractions; CREAM O' THE CROFT BIKE FESTIVAL.

Byline: FIONA RUSSELL

What is it?: Comrie Croft, near Crieff in Perthshire, plays host to the "best yet" Cream o' the Croft Bike Festival 2018.

Taking place over one long weekend, from June 15 to 17, Cream o' the Croft will include a host of popular mountain biking challenges.

And this year there will be more festivals at the event, with the addition of a music festival and a food & drink festival.

Aaron Gray, of organiser Muckmedden Events, said: "Cream o' the Croft is back with even more fun and frolics for all the family, both on and off the bike. We've all the great festival tenets of the great outdoors, music and the 'consumption of deliciousness' covered.

"Added to this, the three-day event is set at an award-winning campsite, hostel and mountain bike trail centre, with beautiful surroundings and family friendliness.

"We think it will be the best edition of Cream o' the Croft yet." Bike Festival: Cream o' the Croft Bike Festival, with support from EventScotland, promises a great programme of mountain biking activities.

The first race will be the Cream o' the Croft Enduro on the Saturday. The multi-stage race is on Comrie Croft's mountain bike trails with the winner taking the Cream o' the Croft 2018 title.

For female riders, there will be a Muckmaiden coaching session and ride-out that includes some of the Enduro stages.

Young mountain bikers are invited to race in the Mini Enduro on the Sunday.

Riders aged six to 13 can ride in an Enduro mountain bike race on mellower trails. There are also opportunities for younger riders to get their race faces on, with toddler bike competitions and open track sessions across the weekend.

Other bike festival activities include a pumptrack challenge and bunny hop competition.

And new for this year, there is a road cycling event. The 100-mile (160km) Audax, the Breadalbane 160, will showcase the best roads and views of Perthshire. Off-the-bike activities: In addition, there will be plenty of other activities such as yoga and wellbeing workshops, a giant water slide, trail running, circus workshops, quad pods, Segway tours and even a rodeo bull. Gourmet Food & Drink Festival: The weekend event has been extended to include a Gourmet Food and Drink Festival selling the best locallysourced products.

Comrie delicatessen Hansen's Kitchen and Comrie Croft's own Tea Garden will team up with many of Scotland's finest food and drinks producers to serve food over the three days.

Title sponsors Black Isle Brewery will ensure beer lovers are well catered for and there will be an array of local spirits and fresh juices at the bar too. Music Festival: This event will offer with a great line-up of entertainment including Banjo Lounge 4 and Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5. You can try a steel band workshop, dance at the family

ceilidh or boogie at a silent disco. Anything else to know?: In celebration of Scotland's Year of Young People 2018, Muckmedden Events have organised a number of exciting opportunities.

A new Monster Balance Bike Challenge takes the form of a collaboration with several Scottish bike recycling centres.

It calls for young people to design and build a Monster Balance Bike under the expert guidance of their local bike recycling centre.

They will then compete against other teams at Cream o' the Croft Bike Festival, as well as The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival, being staged in Fife later in the year.

To level the playing field, the challenge is not just about getting a fast race time. Teams will also be scored on their ingenuity and imagination. Cream o' the Croft cost: There are a range of tickets and price options for festival passes and camping at Comrie CroftFor further details: See www.muckmedden.co.uk/our-events/cream-o-the-croft/

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CHAIN REACTION " Cream o' the Croft Bike Festival is fun for all ages
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 13, 2018
Words:643
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