US mountain biking pioneer Gary Fisher touched down in Scotland and enjoyed a tour of Edinburgh Napier University’s cutting-edge sports science facilities.
Gary Fisher casts an eye over Sighthill facilities
Fisher, one of the inventors of the modern mountain bike, flew into the country to deliver the keynote address at a major industry conference in Aviemore, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.
One of sharply-dressed Fisher’s first stops was the sport and exercise science labs at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus, which include a human performance laboratory, a biomechanics laboratory and an environmental chamber where researchers can test athletic performance in extreme conditions.
Gary meets Scottish professional mountain bike racer Katy Winton at Sighthill
Fisher, now 66, grew up in California and in 1979 co-founded MountainBikes, the first company to specialise in the manufacture of this type of bicycle. He had been competing in road and track races since the age of 12, at one stage getting suspended because his hair was too long, and – more than half a century later - he remains evangelical about the benefits of exercise.
He said: “It’s truly astounding how we are now wrapping our hands around this thing called the human body and really starting to figure it out, and sport is the performance of the human body.
“We have a crisis going on worldwide over health, but what we offer on a mountain bike is something a grown-up can do with a kid. It’s a screen-free experience and we all need this. It’s like pushing a giant reset button – it helps you forget and it helps you remember.
“Cyclists find a lot happiness. People watch them on the road climbing up a hill and say ‘that guy’s got to be miserable’, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Edinburgh Napier helps fund the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, near Peebles, and the university’s Professor Geraint Florida-James is at the forefront of Scottish innovation and product development in the sport.
He said: “We are extremely proud and excited to host a legend of the mountain biking industry and to showcase the facilities and expertise we have at Edinburgh Napier University. We are also very pleased he is going to attend and do a keynote address at the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland event in Aviemore.”