Author Archives: sallyhinchcliffe

Barriers to entry

Like a lot of people, we’re pretty excited at the imminent opening of the new Aldi just off the bypass tomorrow

New Aldi

Opening 22 June!

We were especially happy when we saw that the shop would have a path up from the Maxwelltown Cyclepath, meaning that cyclists and pedestrians could easily get to the store without having to worry about the A75/A76 roundabout. This is pretty forward-thinking for Dumfries retail stores, when you consider that getting to Cuckoo Bridge Retail park by anything other than a car (which also backs on to the cycle path) involves two sets of lights and then crossing right in front of  the KFC drive thru exit …

KFC drive thru

Here’s how cyclists enter the Cuckoo Bridge retail park now … right past the drive thru exit. Tasty …

So we were especially disappointed when we saw these barriers on the path, which are not only completely unnecessary, they also contravene design guidelines.

chicane barriers on the Aldi path

Here’s what Cycling By Design has to say on chicane barriers:

““If staggered (chicane) barriers are used, the arrangement should be designed to slow cyclists rather than force them to dismount. Chicane layouts should provide gaps of at least 3.0 metres between barriers and walls to permit access by tandems, tricycles and child trailers. Tonal contrast banding and night-time reflectivity will normally be required.”  It also goes on to state that “Chicanes should be placed at least 5.0 metres from any bend or junction, so riders can approach from straight on.”

As far as we can see, these barriers meet absolutely none of these requirements.

Buddies trike

Here are the sort of people who will really suffer from having these barriers

This means that less-able users – like those using the Buddies’ trike – will be unable to get to Aldi independently. This could also be a problem for those using wheelchairs and even pushing double buggies. The visually impaired will find them hard to see, and even someone on a normal bike will be squeezed into conflict with other users of the path as they try and negotiate these obstacles

We’ve contacted Aldi to find out what’s going on and they told us that this was a planning requirement from the council. So we asked the council for the reason why they’ve imposed these barriers – they suggested that cyclists would be expected to dismount and walk up and down the path – even though the cycle parking itself is right at the top near the store.

So what’s going on? We are none the wiser because our questions to the council as to why they have required these barriers have gone unanswered.

What’s really frustrating is that the council should be doing everything it can to make access to and from shops like Aldi from the cycle path as easy as possible. Otherwise new stores like this will just generate more congestion – especially on the bypass. Given the new hospital will be opening soon, also on the bypass (and also with a lack of forethought for the needs of cyclists as the council have refused to put in a light to help them cross the Garroch Loaning), we can only hope that the result won’t be further traffic jams and daily gridlock.

Aldi opens tomorrow – and we’ll definitely be giving it a go to see whether cyclists can indeed negotiate these chicanes. If you encounter problems, let us know and we’ll press hard to get the barriers removed or replaced by something accessible by all.



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A Barbecue Summer?

Buddies Bikes, BBQ & a Blether poster

Join us and Buddies in Dock Park to get summer off to a cracking start

Our summer rides are some of the most enjoyable activities we do – even when summer itself doesn’t always co-operate – and it’s always great to get the summer off to a flying start. So we’re delighted to be joining forces with Buddies and the Big Bike Revival on Saturday 1st July. We’ll be holding our first summer ride at 2pm as always but this summer it’s part of a bigger event.

Buddies are planning their Bikes, BBQ and a Blether event on the same day from 1-4 pm and everybody is welcome to come along. There will be a variety of adaptive and e-bikes (pedal-assist bikes) for people to try out so if you or someone you know struggles to ride a conventional two-wheeler (or if you just fancy having a go) it’s a perfect opportunity to discover what’s out there.

summer rides poster

Come and join us for our rides all summer long

There’s also a ‘Doctor Bike’ which is good news for our summer rides, which have been plagued with mechanicals these last couple of years! If you’re contemplating joining us, and your bike has been spending rather too long in the shed in recent months, then why not bring it along to get it checked out beforehand. That way you can enjoy our summer rides to the full.

Our summer rides run for eight weeks in July and August and they start short and build up from there. They’re a great chance to get out on the bike for an afternoon or two, make new cycling friends and discover new cycling routes. All welcome.

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Paths to Freedom

Paths to Freedom event poster

Paths to Freedom

Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival means that there are lots of bike-related events popping up – and we’re happy to be joining forces for a couple of them. Coming up in July is Buddies’ bike barbecue – of which more later – but first, on the 24th June Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus will be holding a bike day. We’ll be helping out with a led ride up to Heathhall to play on the skills track and we’ll also be talking about the benefits of cycling for health, happiness and getting about.

This is an event aimed at LGBT people across the region and their friends, families and carers. There’s a Facebook event if you want to come or to spread the word to people who might be interested. No need to have your own bike as there will be some to borrow – but do let the organisers know if you are coming.

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Do you wanna be in our gang? Guid Nychburris participants wanted!

Our Hell’s Bells logo, courtesy of Craig Logie

Who wants to join us in a biker gang!? No – it’s not a belated April Fool’s – we’re joining Buddies for the Good Nychburris parade this year and we’ll be cycling behind their float to help them spread the word about their Biker Buddies programme. Buddies have adopted a Sons of Anarchy theme – they will be the Buds of Anarchy and we will be joining them as the Hell’s Bells …

If you can join us on Saturday 17th June then please let us know – and come along in character! Anything vaguely biker-gang will do – think black or white t-shirts, jeans, boots, leather jackets or black hoodies with the sleeves cut off, sunglasses, beanie hats and stick-on tattoos.

We’ve even got a logo, thanks to volunteer Craig Logie, which we’ll have available for adding on to jackets or t-shirts just to give it that finishing touch. If you can think of a way of making your bike look more like a Harley Davidson, then do that too.

It should be a bit of fun, a chance to spread the word about Cycling Dumfries, and also to support the Buddies in their biking activities, so do come along if you can. We’ll be meeting up at the car park at Newall Terrace at 3pm ready for judging at 3:30 so come in costume.

To sustain you, and to further support Buddies, there will be a fundraising tea on the same day, 12-3 at St George’s Hall

pirate beard

Cycling Dumfries members do love a chance to dress up, so here’s hoping for a good showing

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June Meeting – Tuesday 6th

Springalong posterJust a quick reminder that our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month and for once we’re actually going to manage to stick to that in June! So please do come along at 6pm at the Coach and Horses for the usual mix of chat and planning. There’s a lot going on in June and we’re gearing up for our summer rides, so if you can spare a little time to help out with various events from Springalong to Guid Nychburris then please let us know.

We’re also going to be taking part in the re-scheduled Springalong at Dock Park this Sunday – the event runs from 12-3 and we’ll be running Slow Bicycle Races. If you can help out, we’ll be setting up at the bandstand from around 11:15 am. It should be a good day and it’s the perfect opportunity to spread the word about what we do and particularly our summer ride programme.


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“I had that Elaine Murray on the back of my tandem once”

We had a good afternoon at the Nith Inshore Rescue open day yesterday – we couldn’t really compete with the excitement of the Coastguard’s helicopter, but we did get the chance to take a few local politicians for a ride!

Elaine Murray on a tandem

Elaine Murray, council leader, taking a back seat for once

Both our new council leader, Labour’s Elaine Murray, and our SNP MSP Emma Harper were good enough sports to try out the tandem. Perhaps good practice for the coming SNP/Labour coalition ahead?

Emma Harper MSP

Emma Harper MSP setting off with Cycling Dumfries member John Rutherford

Not to be outdone, Tory MSP Oliver Mundell put in a very respectable time on the Brompton folding challenge.

Oliver Mundell

Oliver Mundell learning the finer points of Brompton wrangling

All in all it was a good chance to make some friendly connections with our local politicians, who were refreshingly ready to have a go at something and talk bikes with us. We’ll be following up more formally with the new administration – both Labour and the SNP have made strong promises about funding for cycling and walking in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, so we’re hopeful that this new enlightened approach will also make its way to Dumfries and Galloway.


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Springalong and more

Nith Inshore Rescue Open Day

Nith Inshore Rescue Open Day

As we gear up for our summer rides in July and August, we’ll be taking part in a few other local over the next few weeks. First up, we’ll be taking part in the Nith Inshore Rescue Open Day as they formally open their new boat house. Come along this Saturday and say hello, have a go on a tandem, see if you can master the Brompton fold, and also have a nosey round the Lifeboat’s fancy new boat house – what’s not to like? We’ll be there all afternoon, from 2pm to 6pm.

We were disappointed that the planned Springalong event in May was cancelled due to the weather (especially as we’d already braved the rain and started setting up!) but fortunately it turns out it was merely postponed and will now be held on Sunday 4th June, 12-3 pm.

Amended Springalong poster

We’ll be there and are planning to run some slow bicycle ‘races’ (is it a race if you’re trying to come last?). So if you’re planning on attending, do make sure you come by bike or at least bring your bike along so that you can take part. There will even be a few small prizes for the slowest.

Whether you can make it or not, don’t forget that our summer rides are held every Saturday in July and August and are a great way to discover the cycle paths of Dumfries as well as meet other local cyclists and generally enjoy a nice relaxed cycle trip well away from traffic. Perfect for those who are new to cycling, getting back on the bike after a break, or just generally not keen on mixing with cars on the roads.


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