Apologies for the radio silence – April has been a busy month at a national level with the organisation of Pedal on Parliament so things have necessarily been quiet in Dumfries.
Mark Beaumont at the start of Pedal on Parliament this weekend in Edinburgh
However, it’s been another successful mass demo – including a few familiar Dumfries and Galloway faces among the crowd – and now our attention can turn towards the summer. Come and join us on Monday 7th May for our regular monthly meeting at the Riverside Bar in Dock Park at 6pm. There’s a lot to plan including:
- A birding bike ride with WWT Caerlaverock for Bike Week on the 17th June
- Our regular summer ride programme, with hopefully a couple of exciting new routes
- Helping Buddies get their inclusive cycling hub up and running at the station.
- A number of cake-related additional rides …
If any or all of those sound like something you’d like to get involved with, do come alone. And also, if you’d like to do more to further the cause of cycling (and walking) as transport in Dumfries – or have a burning issue you’d like us to take up on your behalf – then join us or get in touch.
Fun in Dock Park in April at Buddies’ inclusive cycling day
We’ve been holding our meetings on the first Tuesday of each month for a couple of years now, but changes in schedules mean that this is no longer convenient and we’ve decided to switch to meeting on the second Monday instead – starting with Monday 9th April at 6 pm
Unfortunately a Monday meeting means our regular pub, the Coach and Horses will not be open, so instead we will meet at the Riverside Bar in Dock Park. Please adjust your calendars accordingly!
What won’t change is that our meetings will continue to be informal and friendly, with all welcome to attend. For our April meeting we’ll largely be planning the events coming up in spring – from the Buddies accessible bike day on the 14th April to a planned joint wildlife ride with Caerlaverock WWT in June, as well as updating our summer runs schedule. However, if you’ve any burning issue you want raised or have plans for events we could be involved in, please do let us know.
A reminder to that as it’s April, Pedal on Parliament will be coming up again – this year on the 28th April. We’re delighted to see plans being hatched on Twitter for a ride up from D&G again, but for those who can’t manage the distance on two wheels there are plenty of alternative options, including two feeder rides from Park & Ride sites outside Edinburgh (and you can always go on foot too). Pedal on Parliament has been instrumental in getting money for active travel increased in Scotland – but we need to keep showing up in numbers to show there’s support for cycling across Scotland, and make sure that money doesn’t all get spent in the central belt …
Great news: Buddies will be running another of their accessible cycling days in Dock Park, this time on April 14th.
Last year this was a great occasion and people had a wonderful time trying out all sorts of different bikes, trikes, and quads – including one centenarian. At Cycling Dumfries we strongly believe that cycling shouldn’t be just for the fit and the brave – and we embrace all sorts of cycling, pedal powered and e-assisted alike. Please do come along if you can and spread the word to anyone you know who would love to take up cycling but feels that for one reason or another they can’t manage a standard bike. It may just transform their lives
One of the many highlights of the bike barbecue was seeing a centenarian getting pedalling again (with a little assistance…). Photo Jim Craig.
Speaking of the fit and the brave – we’re delighted to learn that the Dumfries Farmers’ Market is moving from the Tarff Valley carpark on the Lockerbie Road to the train station covered parking (or “The Victorian Pavilion” as we must now learn to call it. Cycling up the Lockerbie Road is no fun, and it’s meant that this opportunity to sample local produce and goods has been pretty much limited to those who can come by car. The station is brilliantly sited between the Maxwelltown Path and the Caledonian cycleway and also has masses of bike parking, making a trip to the market the perfect Sunday outing. The first one will be held on Easter Sunday, April 1st and we urge everyone to give cycling there a go. See you there!
We’re also about to start our regular monthly meetings again – just sorting out the details of day, and venue, so watch this space
With the winter we’ve been having, it’s safe to say the weather hasn’t always been conducive to cycling – but with the arrival of March, even the recent snow can’t disguise the fact that spring is in the air! The Environment Fair – this Saturday at the Rutheford McCowan building in the Crichton – is always a good reminder that winter won’t always be with us, and a chance to look forward to getting out and about more – and what better way to start the spring and summer as you mean to go on, than by cycling to the fair?
As an added inducement, here’s three reasons why you should be digging your bike out of the shed on Saturday:
- Get it safety checked – and learn how to do it yourself
Gordon Burgess of Annandale Cycles will be at our stand ready to give your bike a quick health check and show you what to look out for when you’re checking your bike and others to make sure they’re safe to ride.
- Join us for a lunchtime jaunt
Weather permitting, we’ll be running a nice social jaunt around the quiet roads of the Crichton at lunchtime during the fair – so if you’ve had enough fun at the stalls or just want a bit of fresh air, why not join us for a short pootle around this beautiful historic site?
- Take a ride on our bike bus
Our ‘bike bus’ timetable! Ride the whole way or join us en route for a relaxed ride in company to the Fair. Family friendly. Click for a bigger version
Need a bit of help getting yourself and your family to the Crichton by bike on back roads and cycle paths? Our free bike bus is just the ticket. Not an actual bus, but a scheduled ride you can join along the way, it’s the perfect start to your spring riding if you need a bit of encouragement to get back on the bike. And if you’re coming from further afield than Dumfries and need to drive you can still join in – throw the bikes in the car and park at Lochthorn or Cargenbridge ‘park and choose’ sites (the 500 and X74 bus services also take bikes).
However you travel, we’d love to see you at the fair – with or without your bike. Pop by our stand to say hello, find out more about what we do, and learn more about cycling in the town. Just don’t leave your bike pining away at home …
Our ‘bike bus’ timetable! Ride the whole way or join us en route for a relaxed ride in company to the Fair. Family friendly. Click for a bigger/ printable version
On Saturday 10th March it is the Environment Fail – the annual event showcasing all that is green and happening in our wonderful green and happening region. As always, we’ll have a stand ourselves (with the chance for you to learn how to give your bike a quick safety once over) and we’ll be offering a little social lunchtime ride around the Crichton, but this year we thought we’d also make it easier for people to get to the Fair by the most environmentally friendly means of transport (bar walking) there is!
Bikes run on bananas (or cake) and the odd drop of oil – so if you live within striking distance of either the Caledonian Cycleway or the Maxwelltown Path, here’s a great way to make your visit to the Environment Fair as green as it can be.
Our Bike ‘bus’ is basically a group ride (no actual bus is involved, sorry) – but it has a fixed schedule and “stops” so you can join it along the way if that’s more convenient to you. The poster on the right lists all the stops and the approximate times our bus ‘driver’ and ‘conductor’ will arrive (we might leave later but we won’t depart earlier than the advertised stops). The routes and the pace are family friendly – just like our summer rides – and make use of the cycle path network, avoiding all but the quietest streets (you can see the routes here if you want more detail).
Unlike real buses, there’s no fare – indeed, if you do take the bus you’ll even get a reward if you drop by the Cycling Dumfries stand at the fare on arrival.
All this is of course weather dependent – we hope the current snow and ice will be but a memory and spring will be properly on its way.
With all the snow around just now it seems faintly unbelievable that it was only this last weekend that we were enjoying sunshine like this
Top of the climb between the Old Military road and Beeswing
Our ride to New Abbey might have felt cold – and there was certainly a biting east wind – but it did at least feel as if spring was just around the corner (there were even lambs in the fields down past New Abbey).
Eight of us turned out for the last of our scheduled rides – including 11-year-old Hannah and her dad, back for a second ride after her successful jaunt with us to Ae last year – and two e-bikes, which are proving increasingly popular in the region.
Avoiding traffic was our main priority so we took the scenic route up the old Glen Road, down to the Old Military Road, and then cutting down to Beeswing and the road down to New Abbey. This was a little longer than advertised, so it was well after 1:30 before we finally rolled into New Abbey where a table was waiting for us at the Cottage Tea Rooms.
A hearty lunch of soup, sandwiches, hot drinks and the odd cake soon revived anyone who was flagging – although our youngest participant did opt for a lift home at that point. We then took a more direct route home – diverting past Kirkconnel Flow to admire the view looking back over New Abbey (and avoid the fast traffic on the A710). Cutting up past Mabie Farm Park, we got onto the cycle path for the run back into Dumfries and a good 25+ mile round trip in total – not a bad day’s work at all for a Sunday in February.
Sheep in the foreground, Sweetheart Abbey in the haze
This was the last of our scheduled Winter Rides. Our next outing will be to the Environment Fair on Saturday 10th March – where we’ll be running a ‘bike bus’ up to the Crichton for those who wish to cycle there in company, and an easy lunchtime ride for anyone who wants to join us. We’ll also be doing bike health checks, so watch this space
Don’t forget that this Sunday is our final winter ride of the schedule, to New Abbey (and the New Abbey tearooms). As always, meet on the Whitesands at Devorgilla Bridge at 11 am. We’ll keep the pace gentle and we’ll be avoiding A roads as much as possible. The plan is to take the slightly more scenic route out via the Old Military Road and Beeswing (14 miles), and then return home via the Mabie Forest route using the off-road path along the A711 (c. 8 miles).
Sweetheart Abbey Nith Scotland Galloway Dumfries
That’s not the end of our planned rides however – we will be at the Environment Fair on Saturday 10 March and as well as offering easy paced rides around the Crichton for those who want them, we are planning to run a ‘bike bus’ to the Fair itself. That doesn’t mean an actual bus – but we’ll be leading scheduled rides to and from the Crichton along the cycle paths so that people who want to try riding there in company can join us at “stops” along the way.
More information coming up – but if you want to help by either “driving” or “conducting” one of these buses please let us know! There will be the usual home-baking shaped incentive to all those taking part …