2016: A Year in Review

For those of you who are not members (and why not?) here is our year end newsletter – it’s been a busy year!
With Christmas looming (and our New Year’s Day ride coming up – please do come out and make a start on burning off the excess Christmas calories) it seemed like a good opportunity look back on what has been – for us at least! – a busy and largely successful year.
completed challenge cards

Two happy participants in our bike message challenge

We started the year with the news that we’d won a Cycling Scotland grant for our Bike Message Challenge, and thanks to the herculean efforts of Rhian Davies, we signed up huge numbers of shops and organisations to take part; who even knew there were so many shops in the town centre? We didn’t get quite as massive a response this year among actual cyclists, but those who took part enjoyed it and we made some good new contacts (and signed up some new members) so all in all it has been worth the effort and we are actively considering running it again next year and letting it build up. It also introduced us to Buddies, and we’ll hopefully be helping them get on their bikes more frequently in 2017
smiles on the bike

One lad’s cycling career begins the way we like to see it – all smiles!

We’ve also been working with Cycling UK (formerly the CTC) in two capacities – they helped fund our first ‘Bike Curious’ Family workshop (building on the try a bike activity we ran at the Environment Fair) for those who wanted to learn more about cycling with children. Despite monsoon-type rain on the day (the curse of Dock Park strikes again) this was a great success and I have been told that the wee boy who got his bike fixed (and learned to ride it) that day has barely been off it since, so that in itself counts as a win. We’re also doing more joint rides with the local member group (still known as D&G CTC) which has boosted turnout on our winter rides.
night group shot

Kicking off our winter rides season with a Halloween night ride …

Our summer rides have also continued to be a success, attracting both beginning riders (of all ages) and some old hands and introducing people to cycle routes and little known places of interest around Dumfries. Despite some very wet Saturdays, and the closure of the Loreburne Bridge, the rides were always great fun and a pleasure to lead – mechanical incidents and all.
12 Apostles

Summer ride to the 12 Apostles, the stone circle nobody’s ever heard of

This September’s bike breakfast – ably catered by Bill Johnstone – was another growing success. We saw increased numbers and as always it was a chance for those who ride to work to raise issues directly with councillors and officials. This year we made it even easier with the introduction of Cyclescape which allows you to enter issues that you’d like to see fixed online. Please do give it a go – the council assure us they are monitoring it and while they don’t have a huge budget for fixes, small changes like dropped kerbs will get prioritised. Of course we’ll keep on pressing for the big things too.
bike breakfast crowd

Conversations going with a swing at the Bike Breakfast

Speaking of which, the issue of the crossing at the Garroch Loaning continues to loom large – and with progress being made on building the new hospital, this will soon become urgent. We have continued to make representations on this behind the scenes, and we are now assured that the crossing point will be moved to a position with better sight lines (past the roundabout). This will improve things for regular cyclists who don’t mind ‘finding a gap’ and are confident that they can get across the road safely, but it will remain a barrier for pedestrians, those cycling with children, slower or less confident cyclists. We remain concerned that this will prove a problem for efforts to get more people cycling to work at the new hospital and will continue to press hard for a solution that works for everyone. This huge new investment in the area offers a real opportunity to encourage active travel and it would be a shame if it was missed for the sake of a little forward-thinking investment on a single weak link in an otherwise excellent route.
candidates at the start

Candidates for Holyrood getting on their bikes earlier this year – watch this space for council candidates doing the same next year

Looking forward to 2017, we have some plans in the pipeline – including the coming local authority elections. But for now, we’d just like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year. And we hope to see you all, on your bikes, at Devorgilla Bridge on January 1st to usher in the next 12 months.
Indeed it’s been such a busy year that I forgot the Christmas tree festival and the candidate’s bike ride! Too much going on …

1 Comment

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One response to “2016: A Year in Review

  1. Ruth Moodycliffe


    Thanks for email about New Years Day cycle.

    Fab idea look forward to joining you with a friend for our first outing with the group.

    Hope the weather stays as fine as it has been up until now.

    Ruth Moodycliffe and Moira Kennedy


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