Pedal on Parliament

Roseburn Park feeder ride to Pedal on Parliament

As per my previous post about Pedal on Parliament, I’ve finally gotten around to arranging a feeder ride to the main event. Come join myself and fellow Edinburgh Belles ride leader Puck on a relaxed group ride to the Meadows from Roseburn park on the morning of Saturday 25 April. We’ll be meeting at 10.30am for 10.45am, next to the cricket hut and friends of Roseburn mural.

All are welcome, blokes and bairns included. We would love your friends and family to come along with us to Pedal on Parliament. Dress your bikes up, wear something fun, get in the spirit of things! Flags with political messages relating to active travel are always good too, we like flags 😉

If you would like to come but haven’t been on your bike for a while, PLEASE check it before attending. Ensure gears, brakes and tyres are functioning okay and bring along a spare inner tube.

We plan to take a leisurely pootle along to the Meadows. No rush. There will be on-road riding and a couple of right turns. We’ll take Russell Road and then cut through Dalry, to get us up along Gilmour Place and into the Meadows. We should arrive for around 11.15am, giving us time to meet up with other attendees and Belles from across Scotland.

There is on-street parking around Roseburn Park in the surrounding streets. If you’re coming from further afield then this is a good place to get chummed into town.  Any questions, just add a blog comment and I’ll do my best to help.

The Belles and I look forward to seeing you there and asking our politicians for better, safer cycling infrastructure in Scotland! Learn more about Pedal on Parliament and its manifesto.

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The countdown to Pedal on Parliament begins!

Pedal on Parliament, Scotland’s biggest, most weighty and visually impressive cycle campaigning event, is coming up on the horizon. Pencil the 25 April into your diary and come along to the mass cycle and walk on the Scottish Parliament. I’ve been for the past two years running and have written about how it’s influenced me previously, so will be there this year with bells on.

PoP is about more than just cycling provision, though. It’s tying to show politicians and the non-cycling public that the bike can make massive positive societal changes, from more connected local communities, to safer streets, to a healthier population and better environment. To that end, the campaign has produced this little animation called Katie Cycles To School:

If you’d like to get involved with PoP but can’t make it along personally, maybe you could share this video on your own blog, Twitter or Facebook page? The message can be spread with more than just you and your bike on the 25 April 🙂

I look forward to meeting lots of new like-minded people at PoP this year. If you’re planning to attend, drop me a comment below and we can maybe sort out feeder rides – I’ll be organising a Belles feeder ride likely from west Edinburgh and all are welcome!

2014 was a good year in cycling

I have some diverse bike things in the pipeline for 2015, with a weekend residential for Belles on Bikes in March, Pedal on Parliament in April, an 11 day cycle tour around the Outer Hebrides booked for the summer, various CTC Scotland bits and bobs, and the ongoing irritation of trying to strengthen my offending right knee. I am also in the market for a road bike and nervously look forward to clipping in for the first time in 2015. So many exciting things!

Saying that, 2014 was far from a write off from a two-wheeled perspective. So, as I cycle away from 2014 and welcome all these new events and challenges, now is an excellent time to recap my last year in cycling.

Highlights of 2014 include my two-day visit to Arran in May with the Lothian Cyclists, my first ever cycle touring experience. I think I caught the touring bug on this stunning island…

Mountains at the peak of the hill after Lochranza

Mountains at the peak of the hill after Lochranza

Triumphant at the summit of the hill after Lochranza

Triumphantly knackered at the summit of the hill after Lochranza

I had a brilliant 2014 with Belles on Bikes Edinburgh, helping to get the women’s cycling group off the ground with some other dedicated women in the city. We now have over 160 members and the group continues to grow, showing a real need for relaxed cycling opportunities for women.

I was trained up as a Belles ride leader, learned first aid, achieved a Velotech Bronze mechanics qualification and made new friends and connections through all the female participants and other ride leaders across Scotland. Plus, we got to cycle around Edinburgh and its local environs and take to the roads on a two-day residential in Perthshire. What’s not to love?

The tourer in Pitlochry

The tourer in Pitlochry on the Belles on Bikes weekend

Amazing routes in Perthshire

Amazing low traffic routes in Perthshire

As well as Perthshire and Arran, the bike took me to a wide range of spectacular locations throughout the year…

Cycling in Skye

Cycling the quiet B roads of Skye in an enormous helmet!

Cycling in the Pentlands

Two-wheeled Pentlands visit during winter.

Mount Tiede National Park

Jumping on the bike at the top of Mount Tiede National Park in Tenerife – what a view!

Cycling in Tenerife - Mount Tiede National Park

Big smiles in the desert landscapes of Mount Tiede National Park in Tenerife, just before cycling 22 miles downhill

Winter views across Threipmuir Reservoir

Winter views across Threipmuir Reservoir in the Pentlands

On top of exploring and touring, I managed to rack up around 2,000 miles of utility cycling coupled with my daily commute. Miles that accumulated without even trying; trips to the bloke’s flat, visiting friends, going to the shops, getting from A to B. All that otherwise dead time filled with (for the most part) enjoyable bike trips along the city’s extensive path network and a bit of on-road riding.

All in all, I’d say 2014 was an excellent foundation upon which to build my year of cycling in 2015. I don’t have too much in the way of resolutions, other than get my knee sorted and get fitter and faster. To help with both of these aims, I’ve started hill training around Arthur’s Seat and it almost feels like a pleasure rather than a challenge with these views.

View from Arthur's Seat route

View from Arthur’s Seat 5.5km circular route

Do you have any objectives or plans for 2015? Maybe you want to clock up some serious miles, get a particular route under your belt, try a different type of cycling or get on your bike for the first time in a while? I’d love to hear any of your resolutions! 🙂

So here’s to a happy 2015, filled with plenty bikey goodness, wonderful adventures, good company and excellent Scottish weather (well, we can always hope…).

April was 30 days of biking

On the 1st of April the weather was horrific. Rain was coming down in sheets and as I looked out the window to gauge the day I was not impressed. The weather was so poor I would have normally jumped on the bus.

But not on 1st April 2o14. I had signed up to complete #30daysofbiking, a pledge to ride your bike every day for the month of April and to be part of a community of joyful cyclists. It’s a couple of years old now and has spread like wildfire, consuming the bike-minded first in the US and now across the pond.

30 days of biking

So I slung on the waterproofs and braved the elements because of my pledge. That was the only reason I dealt with the horrible conditions. And as it always is, cycling in the rain was just about as good as cycling in the dry. So began my #30daysofbiking.

April was a good month to cycle every day. My daily commute was absolutely splendid in the spring sunshine.

Davidsons Mains Park

Good morning, Davidson’s Mains Park!

Daffodils on Victoria Path

Spring is out in force, with daffodils on Victoria Path

Victoria Park Edinburgh

The Victoria Park in the sunshine

I signed up to volunteer at the Scottish Bike Show along with other CTC members and was treated to some seriously lovely looking bike candy to drool over. Look at that Shand hand-built bike, isn’t it gorgeous?

Shand bike

Drool drool drool.

I did a couple of short rides in Glasgow, one out to the Emirates Arena (for said Bike Show) and the other down to Pollockshaws to meet South West Community Cycles. The folk there were absolutely lovely and I hope their venture is a real success for the south of Glasgow. They are also right next to Pollock Park, which is a joy to cycle through.

Pollock Park, Glasgow

Pollock Park is stunning in the sunshine

I also got the opportunity to explore more of my own city and went down some of the paths and nooks I’d never ventured down before.

Water of Leith path

A sidestep off from the Water of Leith path

tunnel on path

Spooky…

I also took the time to enjoy the tried and tested routes I do all the time in our beautiful city. Instead of just belting along the paths I spent time soaking up the view and noticing lots of new things about my routes. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful place, but a quick jaunt on the bicycle always reminds me.

Roseburn path

Overlook to Murrayfield from the Roseburn Path

The Water of Leith

The Water of Leith

I managed to squeeze in a longer ride with the lovely Belles on Bikes, as per my previous blog post. And I also fitted in a bit of cycle campaigning by attending Pedal on Parliament with lots of friends and colleagues.

PoP group shot

Pedal on Parliament crew, ready for some campaigning

Last (but by no means least) I acquired a new bike. Welcome to the Orbit tourer, which I already love dearly. It’s had a bit of a makeover since it came into my ownership, and I look forward to spending some cracking hours in the saddle with this cracking bike.

Ladies' Orbit tourer

Oh dear me, I love this touring bike!

Suffice to say, April was a pretty decent month as far as pedalling goes. Long rides, short rides, bicycle events, even a new bike! The pledge to ride every day was a real incentive to get out more. I made conscious decisions to fit a cycle in daily (except one, sadly) and found that it’s in fact extremely easy to do.

So I think I will be doing my #30daysofbiking next year too – and I will try to get full marks next time. Happy cycling!

 

 

Will you be at Pedal on Parliament?

It’s not long until Pedal on Parliament 2014 on the 26 April. Will you be there to add your support for a cycling-friendly Scotland? I plan to attend with some of my CTC buddies and colleagues, as well as friends that love a good old cycle on their bike and thousands of other like-minded folk.

Pedal on Parliament Poster

I attended for the first time last year and had a bit of an epiphany on the day. I’d never seen so many people on bikes together before. It felt, well, amazing. The mass of attendees was something spectacular and made me realise just how many different kinds of folk on bikes there are. Sounds silly, but I’d never appreciated just how versatile and loved the bicycle is.

I love this amateur snap I took last year, which illustrates just what I mean. The chap in the full lycra standing next to the couple in casuals, along with high-viz commuter style shows just a tiny cross-section of the thousands of participants from the event.

Pedal on Parliament 2013

In 2013 the queue of cyclists stretched from Middle Meadow Walk up to Summerhall. Perhaps this year we’ll get twice as far!

What everyone has in common is a love for riding, for embracing this most humble but wonderful form of transport. Pedal on Parliament proved to me that cycling is a truly universal thing. It can touch everyone. And it should. So we should get together to tell the Scottish Parliament that, don’t you think?

Last year I did my PoP in a purple dress, red gloves and high-viz pink waterproof, complete with helmet and other safety faffage. So I was kinda going down the commuter stroke everyday utility avenue, with a total and complete lack of understanding around colour and how it can clash quite painfully on people’s eyes.

Safety faffage at PoP

This year I might wear TWEED. Though it is a bit restrictive across the arms. Hmm. And I figure I probably won’t rock up in a helmet either. I’m sick of feeling like an “other” when the bike is involved. (But I suppose that’s for another blog post!)

Anyway. I digress. You should come. It will be fabulous. Lots of bikes, lots of people on bikes, lots of solidarity asking for more time and money and thought to be given to people on bikes. And I believe there will even be some bicycle celebs like Graeme Obree attending too (although when I took this photo last year I had no idea who he was, oops!).

graeme obree pop

So what is not to love about Pedal on Parliament? 🙂 I’ll see you there, yeah? Ding ding!