Category Archives: Urban cycling

cycling and integrated active travel with train journeys in Scotland

Vlog 001: Active Travel

In my first ever video blog, I do a bit of ‘active travel’, first cycling to work, then taking my bike on the train to Edinburgh for the afternoon. A look at integrated transport in Scotland.

It was interesting to chat with Stirling Cycle Hub and I was grateful that Suzanne came on video at a moment’s notice. They have been doing good work at Stirling Train Station for several years now. I hope to get back there soon to do more audio or video content.

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Observations from the Scottish Bike Show

I missed the Tour of Flanders to take my 5 year old to the Scottish Bike Show today. The show has moved towards a family event, and I’d like my little one to get into bike riding, but of her own accord, because she likes it. I have marketing on my mind right now, for various reasons,

I’d have liked to attend on the Saturday, of course, and hear what Sir Chris, Brian Smith and Finlay Pretsell had to say, and then catch de Ronde today with a few chilled Chimays. I suspect that is what many folks did, given today was reportedly quieter than the Saturday, but family is where it’s at for me right now.

I was greeted outside the show hall by David Brennan who was leafletting for the Pedal On Parliament Scotland event on Saturday 26th April. I have meant to attend this gathering in the past, as safer cycling is something I want for my own and my kids’ future. Guerilla marketing, perhaps, but David is always open for a friendly chat and was interested to absorb the views / observations I offered from the Stirling perspective – is enforcing a rule that kids must operate their own lock encouraging younger ones to ride to school, for example?

Scottish Bike Show 2014

Inside the hall, we headed for Kiddimoto’s inflatable track (above), which is a superb way for them to market their balance bikes, helmets and accessories and I5 went back for three shots on it. She has all but grown out of the Firstbike balance bike I bought her 3 years ago, and it has done it’s job of circumventing the need for stabilisers, so she was fully confident here and at the upper end of the age range for this attraction.

Scottish Bike Show 2014

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Scottish Bike Show 2014

The Scottish Bike Show is held on 5th and 6th April at the Glasgow Emirates Arena and I will be going on the Sunday after missing last year.

Event supremo Rowan Mackie explained what is happening at the show this year on a recent Velo Club Don Logan podcast. The family demographic is something that is good for me, because in 2011 and 2012 I dragged my young daughter along only to struggle chat to anyone for any length of time as she scurried this way and that. This time I’m hoping to get her on the kiddimoto track and seek out a few options for her next bike.


New exhibitors come in the form of Brompton Bicycle, Planet X, Hoy Bikes and Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative. SBS 2014 will also be bringing back the Bike Track People to create a huge pump track for the kids and big kid visitors. Rollapaluza will be onboard to entertain with 500m or 1km dash, The Clan stunt team, a new bike fit studio sponsored by Bikeradar for anyone who wants the perfect fit on their bike at half the cost and plenty more all located on the SBS 2014 website.

Really interesting, for me are the seminars and talks in the SBS Theatre, despite the fact I probably won’t be able to see them. It will play host to Sir Chris Hoy, Craig McLean, Finlay Pretsell (Director of being David Millar and Standing Start), James McCallum, Brian Smith and a few more names to be revealed shortly.
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Pedal on Parliament 2 announced

In May this year cyclists young and old will once more be converging on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation and Pedal on Parliament needs the help of club riders as well as ordinary cyclists to make it a mass event.

POPs manifesto, and other cycling advocacy issues are often seen as the domain of urban cycling ‘campaigners’. This blog has moved more towards club and racing themes but I can think of two local racers off the top of my head who were knocked off their bikes recently, one of whom was out of work for 6 months, lost his hard-earned fitness and had a top end frame destroyed. Road safety equally affects racers like the Drum-Up audience and the ordinary leisure cyclist or commuter.

Pedal on Parliament: Just a ‘wee protest’ then?
“Pedal on Parliament: just a ‘wee protest’ then?”: Ian McNicoll (father of Andrew McNicoll, killed on his bike in Edinburgh in 2012) and Mark Beaumont lead out the ride from the Meadows. Photo courtesy of Richard Cross;

‘POP2’ will start from the Meadows in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday 18th May and end at the Parliament building where politicians will be presented with an eight-point manifesto. Last year, 3000 cyclists, young and old, attended – an amazing turnout considering Pedal on Parliament is a grass-roots group that didn’t even exist a year ago. It couldn’t have been achieved without a wide base of support from cycling clubs – and POP needs even more people to attend this year if they are to keep the pressure up. Please help us to spread the word among your members – and let us know if there’s anything else you can do, whether it’s distributing posters , by helping other cyclists attend, or even organising your own ride to Pedal on Parliament on the day.

POP Mother-2013-e1358540038154-214x300
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Going Carbon Neutral Stirling: motorist awareness

Going Carbon Neutral Stirling is planning a motorist awareness campaign later in the year to learn more about how motorists currently perceive cyclists on the road.

GCNS said: “Cycling will go up if safety and perception of safety increases. Using a marketing and film intern from France, we will examine the views of European drivers with regards to cyclists…how do European drivers see cyclists as other roads users, how do they feel about them? Are they a cyclist themselves? We then will investigate Stirling drivers to try to understand why our drivers act differently. Why don’t we see cyclists? Why do we not give them priority all of the time? What prompts might drivers need to act differently? Are we prepared to act differently to make the roads safer for other users? ”

Cycle Stirling awareness campaign
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BMX at the Scottish Bike Show

Although this site purports to be ‘all about Scottish Cycling’, if I’m honest it’s a roadie blog. But I try to delve into all facets of cycling and I’ve been meaning to give BMX some love for a while. A Raleigh BMX was my first proper bike after all, and you only have to look in the streets and bike shops to see how many BMXs are being sold and ridden every day in Scotland.

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Snow Cycling in Scotland – commute

I was sent so many pictures of snowy Scottish cycling that I had to split them into different posts. In some cases though, the line between ‘commuting’ and ‘mountain biking’ can be blurred…

Buried commuter bikes parked at Edinburgh Quay
Pic by Louise aka @lemon_squeezy

Tony Leach‘s bike parked in Edinburgh: after 9 mile commute from Leith to South Gyle. Schwalbe Marathon winter tyres doing the business!

The 'light' snow
Urban Cyclist Anthony Robson battled through deep Edinburgh snow conditions on his Cotic Soul.

Snow bike
Angus McDiarmid shot this shopping bike engulfed in a snowdrift in Edinburgh. (from the Cycling in Scotland flickr group.

Craig Hardie‘s ride to work- his bike shop in Cairneyhill, Fife – is more of a play than a commute on his 29er.

Steve Macluskie is the only bike commuter at his workplace in Glasgow city centre.

David Martin, a regular cyclist, resorts to alternative methods in Dundee.

Scottish Bike Show, April 2011

Back in September The Scottish Bike Show was announced. This is an exciting thing, somewhere along the lines of EuroBike or Interbike, but that will be open to the public (whereas the international shows are trade-only). It is taking place at the SECC in Glasgow, on 16th – 17th April 2011.

There has never been a show like this in Scotland and itʼs the perfect location to host an all encompassing bike show for all levels and types of bike riders. Ranging from the road racer, mountain biker or leisure rider, Scotlandʼs scenery, routes and mountain bike trails all contribute to the hundreds of thousands of cycling enthusiasts who flock from all over the UK and Europe each year.

Brian Palmer @ TWMP has already eulogised on the fact, sort of in a Donald Dewar style: “There will be a Scottish Bike show. I like that.” – and I can only echo his sentiments. Brian is a lover of bicycles and kit, and does a lot of product reviews on his blog, so is naturally excited to get the chance to see innovations and bling right on his doorstep.

I think what excites me about it more though, is the amount of people from the Scottish Cycling community gathered together in one place. I have got into heavily involved in cycling very rapidly and met a lot of new people along the way. Exciting too have been the online relationships: twitter, the Braveheart forum, club forums and flickr. I’ve found that cementing these relationships ‘in real life’ adds something more and I look forward to meeting people at the Scottish Bike Show. (Assuming I can get a pass to leave my wife and probably 1-month-old 2nd child at home. Something which is far from definite.)

junk 027

At the risk of being a sourpuss, I wanted to add a footnote to this. The show was originally scheduled for May 14-15th, and this was announced on twitter back in August/September. Right away, a twitter contact of mine, Lorne Callaghan noticed the clash with the Etape Caledonia sportive. This was tweeted back to @scottbikeshow and lo and behold, a couple of weeks later a change of date was announced. There is no indication whether the twitter banter from Lorne and others drew the organisers’ attention to the clash or not, though.

Story on

Council consulting on cycling infrastructure

In December 2008 Stirling Council commissioned a study to improve cycle lane standards. Following on from this, they consulted members of Stirling Bike Club and other community members about what was good and what was bad for cycling in the city, using a Google Map to highlight good, ‘needs fixing’ and dangerous spots. Discussion thread on Stirling Bike Club forum.

View Stirling Bike Club: Hotspots for Cycling in a larger map

Further to this the council worked with two members of the club and JMP Consultants to produce an advisory map of graded roads in the Stirling area. Thread

New crossing on A905 Stirling

New crossing on A905 Stirling

The crossing above was installed following the consultation and helps cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely on a stretch of road that is prone to speeding, which is great news.

However the “cycle lane” that has been painted on the pavement near the crossing is a daft afterthought, and is symptomatic of the worst kinds of cycling infrastructure. It directs cyclists into the path of oncoming traffic on a side road.

Stupid cycle lane

Stupid cycle "lane"

This shows two sides of the coin when it comes to developing cycling infrastructure. On the one hand, the consultation and the desire amongst planners to improve the infrastructure in a co-ordinated manner is a big plus. On the other hand, the implementation tends not to be particularly “joined up”.

Further reading: another lively thread about what Stirling is like to cycle in.