After some last-minute spreading the word on Tuesday night, we hoped that there wasn’t a cyclist left in Dumfries that didn’t know about our Big Bike Breakfast …
Come 7 am we were set up and ready and nervously wondering whether we’d end up eating an awful lot of bacon ourselves – but we needn’t have worried – the first cyclists soon rolled in and the Council Building forecourt was much improved by swapping its usual parked cars for parked bikes.
In total we fed 56 cyclists, and a fair few councillors and council officials (there was some overlap), including the Provost, Ted Thompson. There were many lively conversations too – and a lot of you took the chance to either add something to the suggestions box or respond to the council’s Active Travel Strategy survey (if you weren’t one of them, you can still respond on line – we’ll post more about what people wanted later). A further 16 cyclists whizzed by too fast for us to catch them – or in too much of a hurry to stop. Of the ones who did, about 36% were female, which suggests healthy numbers of women cycling in the town (in the UK as a whole, just 1 in 4 cyclists are female). There were also seven children on their way to school.
On the whole it was an enjoyable, sociable occasion – and it’s not often you can say that about your commute! There was much mutual admiration of each other’s bikes, discussion of routes, greeting old friends and making new ones. However there were a few more sombre notes. One participant turned up very shaken, having been almost knocked off his bike by a driver passing him too close. And quite a few mentioned that not only had the traffic lights on the Moffat Road crossing on the Caledonian Cycleway – a pretty important part of the local cycle network – been switched off, but the crossing had actually been cordoned off making it extra difficult for people to use it. I don’t know how the contractors responsible thought people were going to get to work if they weren’t able to use that crossing. Imagine the outcry if the A75 was just coned off with no warning and no diversion put in place – but it’s a routine event if you commute by bike.
Still, on the whole a good time was had by all. We’d like to thank everyone who supported the event: Mrs Green’s Tea Lounge for cooking the bacon rolls so deliciously, The Co-op and Express Bakery for donating the rolls and other supplies, the Council for giving up their forecourt (and precious parking spots!) and providing the facilities for making tea and coffee, and the Police for providing a bike security marking service. Special thanks go to Rosie Rutherford for organising it all so impeccably and to Rhian Davies, John Schofield, John Henry and Jill Asher for helping out on the day. And of course thanks to all of you who came – and who do your bit to keep Dumfries’s traffic flowing by getting about on the only means of transport that’s genuinely bacon powered.
What could be better than that?