IT has had Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy and mountain bike daredevil Danny MacAskill as ready made international ambassadors.

But Edinburgh has failed to tap the cycling tourism market that could be worth £60 million a year to the Scottish capital.

A plan of action has been set up after an Edinburgh City Council report revealed the city has missed out on "high value" tourism income related to leisure cycling, despite miles of cycle paths, canal, river and park and lochside routes in the city alone.

It is thought it could help towards the city hosting a leg of the Tour de France after it lost out to Yorkshire last year.

The first stage of the push will be promotional, with plans to show videos of the capital's routes online.

It comes as some cyclists are locked in dispute with the council over allegations cyclists have suffered injuries as result of falls caused by tram tracks and potholes.

Hubs designed to encourage visitors to spontaneously explore the city by bicycle like Amsterdam, where heritage tourism has been linked with leisure cycling, are also being considered.

Edinburgh Green transport spokesman Nigel Bagshaw said the city would need to repair its roads before it could sell itself as a destination for cycling tourism.

He said: "This cannot be done in isolation with existing cycle paths and old railway routes.

The roads would have to be made safe for cyclists and we are going to have to a lot more before promoting existing routes will work."

The report to the city's economic development committee said cycling represents a high-value untapped market and is "worth targeting by Edinburgh in order to enhance the visitor economy and support businesses and jobs".

Tourists who come to cycle, those who pick up hire bikes on a whim and riders passing through on cycling holidays will all be targeted.

Existing tours and bike hire firms have been inolved in the plan.

Greg Ward, Director of Economic Development said in the report: Mountain biking is already widely promoted in areas around Edinburgh, for example at Glentress.

"However a report into the value of cycle tourism produced by Transform Scotland suggests a large captive market is being missed with regards to leisure cycling.

"Comparisons were made with Dublin, Berlin and Amsterdam - all capital cities where tourism has traditionally been based on culture and heritage but whom are now committing to a focus on cycling tourism.

"Despite the growth of this market and increasing popularity for mountain biking in the area, Edinburgh is not yet considered by visitors to be a leisure cycling destination.

"There are currently no cycling promotional campaigns directed expressly at visitors and there is little information readily available specifically targeting and encouraging tourists to make spontaneous decisions to use leisure cycling as a way to explore.

The Action Plan will concentrate on leisure cycling specifically and is initially focused on maximising awareness of the existing network of cycle paths and promoting areas safe and fun to explore which will complement the ongoing improvements to cycling infrastructure throughout the city."

Economy Convener councillor Frank Ross, said: "Tourism is very important to the Edinburgh economy, bringing in more than a million pounds each year, and we aim to cater to all sectors through the Edinburgh Tourism Strategy.

"We are continuously investing in cycling infrastructure in the capital, making it as easy and accessible as possible for residents and visitors, so it makes sense to promote our miles of cycle routes to a broader audience.

The Cycling Tourism Action Plan will not only capitalise on our existing facilities but will result in new and creative ways of attracting cycling enthusiasts."