Showing our Cycle Routes a little love for Valentine’s Day

If you’re out and about on the cycle paths around Dumfries – look out for this mysterious symbol popping up on the cycle paths…

#ILOH Insert Loved One Here

#ILOH – Insert Loved One Here

Last year we wrote about the Insert Loved One Here campaign that was highlighting poor cycling infrastructure that puts cyclists into danger. However we also want to celebrate the positive so we’ve joined with the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain and We Walk We Cycle We Vote for a Valentine’s day special celebrating the cycle paths we love too

ILOH - the Cuckoo Bridge

Cuckoo Bridge – better than the A75/A76 roundabout

Things like the Cuckoo Bridge mean cyclists can float up and over the A75/A76 roundabout without having to tackle three lanes of traffic.

ILOH - Maxwelltown Path

The Maxwelltown Path – safe, level enjoyable cycling

The Maxwelltown Path offers a stress-free route almost from the station to the new hospital – and it’s well lit, level, and a pleasant place to ride.

Loreburne Bridge #ILOH

Loreburne Bridge – you don’t miss it till it’s closed

The Loreburne Bridge and the KM Bridge offer traffic free routes across the Nith – we maybe don’t appreciate them until they’re closed for repairs – and then we realise what a key link they are to the cycling network.

We spend a lot of time complaining about stuff here on Cycling Dumfries because we are passionate about improving the cycle routes and we can see so many places where things could be better. But we’re happy to give praise where it’s due – and spread a little love too. We hope it brighten’s people’s day to see something as mundane, but as useful, as a cycle path given a little love.

If you’re worried – the #ILOH heart tags aren’t paint – it’s spray chalk and it’s environmentally friendly. It should wash cleanly off after a week or two of the weather we’ve been having. But we thought we’d take the time to celebrate the paths we love, and where we’re happy to see our loved ones ride

Where would you ‘insert loved one here’ in Dumfries?

 

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Don’t Miss Out!

Don’t forget – the Robert Burns Centre is showing the cinema classic the Bicycle Thieves on Tuesday 13th February (a week today!) – book your tickets here to avoid disappointment

The classic ‘Bicycle Thieves’ tells the story of Antonio, a long unemployed man who finally finds employment putting up cinema posters for which he needs a bicycle. His wife pawns all the family linen to buy the bicycle and for Antonio salvation has come. The bicycle is stolen and Antonio and his son take to the streets in a desperate search to find it.

One of the most captivating and moving films ever made.

And don’t suffer Antonio’s fate – bring your beloved bike along before the screening and get it security marked and registered for free so that you can be reunited with your steed with rather more ease if the worst does come to the worst.

Bike registering

Rhian registering and security marking bikes

We look forward to seeing you all there – a great film, and a discussion afterwards.

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Need more pulling power?

cycling dumfries trailer

Trailer for loan or rent …

As you may know, Cycling Dumfries has a bike trailer which we use for events – but it’s also available for loan to our members (for free) or to non-members for a small donation.  A bike trailer can make the difference between your bike being a fun way to get around to starting to be a serious replacement for some car journeys – especially if you’ve got an e-bike for that bit of extra oomph.

bike and trailer

Bike and trailer all set up

Cycling Dumfries member Viki is hoping that will be the case for her. She’s a recent convert to her e-bike, which she bought in August, and she’s been all but unstoppable since, but even with capacious panniers the weekly shop has defeated her. She lives a few miles out of town, but the e-bike’s assistance makes the 7 or so miles no problem, and she was keen to see if a trailer would make shopping by bike feasible.

So today we sorted out the trailer hitch onto her bike and hooked it up – the work of a few minutes. Once the hitch is in place, attaching the trailer is quick and easy, and there’s both a catch and a failsafe strap so your groceries don’t go sailing back down a hill in the unlikely event of the catch breaking.

Pulling a trailer can feel a little odd at first, but this one follows your bike faithfully, and although it looks substantial, it’s actually no wider than most handlebars, so if your bike fits through a gap, so too will the trailer. As a bonus, you get extra room on the road as you do look quite a bit wider than a standard bike.

Viki with e-bike and trailer

Ready to roll! Watch this space to find out how she gets on

Viki’s promised to report back on her first weekly shop – and if all goes well, she’ll be investing in a trailer of her own. But you don’t have to be looking to buy one – we’re happy to lend it out for one-off jobs or regular events. If you’d like to borrow a trailer to try just get in touch (cyclingdumfries AT gmail DOT com) and we’ll set the wheels in motion.

 

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Bonus February Meeting!

We don’t normally meet in the winter time – preferring to wait until the clocks go forward in Spring – but there’s a few things in the offing that could do with some planning. So we’ll be holding an extra bonus meeting on Wednesday 7th February at 6pm in the Coach and Horses to plan for the Environment Fair and other events coming up.

As always, it will be a very casual affair – you don’t have to be a member to attend. We’re always happy to welcome new faces and old ones.

And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, don’t forget this weekend’s ride is on Sunday (11 am at the Whitesands) and the Bicycle Thieves at the Robert Burns Centre on Thursday 13th February.

Hope to see you one way or another in the next few weeks!

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Next ride and dates for your diary

At Brow Well

Ride out to Brow Well last year

With snow on the ground again it might seem premature to be thinking of leisure rides – but if the forecast is anything to go by, the weather is set to warm up next week and we’re hopeful that next Sunday’s ride to Brow Well will be possible (if somewhat less puncture-ridden than last year’s epic). As is usual for our Winter rides, we’ll meet at Devorgilla Bridge on the Whitesands at 11 am, and there will be a cafe stop, probably at Caerlaverock Castle Tea Rooms, at some point in the proceedings.

Meanwhile, for those who prefer their winter fun a bit more indoors, never fear – we’ve teamed up with the Robert Burns Centre for a showing of the classic film The Bicycle Thieves on February 13th (don’t be fooled by the programme, by the way – we have not taken over the Dumfries Cycling Club) and we’ll be offering bike security marking beforehand, to improve your chances of being reunited with your bike, and to act as a deterrent to any passing thieves. More details coming soon …

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Happy 2018 to you all!

What with black ice and snow in December, Storm Dylan, and forecast rain for today – we weren’t quite sure what to expect for our New Year’s Day ride today – but in the end we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year

At the start of our new years day ride

A dozen riders gathered at the start

With light winds and (mostly) sunshine, we had pretty good weather, and despite a few people who had cried off due to illness, we had a nice round dozen turn up ready for our ride down to Caerlaverock.

Last year we went out via Bankend and back through Glencaple, but this year we decided to ring the changes and do the route the other way around. With Dock Park and the Kingholm Quay path full of dog walkers and other people getting out in the sunshine while it lasted, we stuck to the (very quiet) road down to Kingholm and then followed the Glencaple Road which was also mercifully quiet.

Regrouping briefly at Glencaple we then made pretty good progress along the coast road and then down to Caerlaverock WWT, arriving just after the lunch menu had started (although they had *still* managed to run out of the advertised soup …). It took a while to get all the orders in, but once sat down and enjoying our hot drinks and with the chat flowing it didn’t seem too long before everyone was fed and watered.

after lunch

The traditional after-lunch group shot.

With perfect timing, the rain started as we were in the cafe, and had finished by the time we had had lunch so although the sunshine had largely gone, we were at least largely dry for the ride back. Once again, everyone seemed happy to go at the same pace – at least according to the Cycling Dumfries time-honoured technique for gauging whether the pace is right or not (if you can’t hear everyone chatting behind you it’s got too fast).

Once up the hill past Bankend, we came back through the Crichton (where it turns out everyone had their own pet route through so we splintered a bit – something to note for future rides!) and Castledykes park back onto the cycle path and the point where we had begun. All in all, a very enjoyable start to the year and a great way to blow away those winter cobwebs.

Our next ride will be at the end of the month – celebrating Rabbie Burns with a ride out to Brow Well on Sunday 28th Jan. Please join us!

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2017: A Year in Review

As we look forward to 2018 (and our New Year’s Day ride) it seems like a good moment to look back at some of the highlights of 2017, month by month:

post lunch group shot

Starting off 2017 as we meant to go on with a ride down to Caerlaverock

In January we held our first New Year’s Day ride – and had one of our best turnouts ever! Hopefully the weather will be as kind again on Monday.

In February, the weather forced a cancellation of our final winter ride – but that wasn’t enough to stop some hardy souls! In fact, weather of one sort of another was a bit of a theme for the year this year …

Safe routes

What do people want to walk and cycle? Safe routes …

In March we were (fortunately indoors!) at the Environment Fair, playing Scalectrix and introducing the good people of Dumfries to our Polygon of Perplexity which once more confirmed what we hear time and again from people – they want to see safe routes to walk and cycle.

In April with local and national elections in full swing, we joined in and got our local council candidates out on bikes to see for themselves the issues that make it harder for people to choose cycling as an everyday means of transport – especially our school children, who might benefit the most.

Elaine Murray on a tandem

Elaine Murray, council leader, taking a back seat on a tandem at the Nith Inshore Rescue open day 

In May we were out and about again meeting people and spreading the word and giving out tandem rides at the Nith Inshore Rescue open day

Cycling Dumfries as you’ve never seen us before …

In June – we discovered that the new Aldi was putting up barriers to entry (although after an email or two it was all sorted out by September and we’re enjoying shopping there now with its seamless access to the Maxwelltown path). The real highlight was probably parading through town with the Buddies as a biker gang for Guid Nychburris.

tandem trike

One of the many highlights of the bike barbecue was seeing a centenarian getting pedalling again (with a little help from his friend…)

In July our summer rides kicked off with a bang after we joined forces with Buddies’ Bike Barbecue, with bikes of every size and shape available for folk to try …  it just showed that there’s really no barrier to pedalling if you can find the right bike, trike, or quadricycle (and with some electric assistance, hills and distance can melt away too).

at tea

Soggy but smiling …

In August, we braved the rain for an epic “Cake Raid” on Durisdeer – it says something about cycling in Scotland that even in August you can worry about your ride participants getting hypothermia. However, we all survived and were still smiling at the end, even if our socks didn’t dry out for a week.

St Michaels pupils

Schoolkids from St. Michaels arriving en masse for breakfast

September saw not only our by now traditional bike breakfast  with a visitation from a massed party of primary school kids – chapeau to the brave teachers of St Michaels for arranging to bring them all along – but we also joined forces with Incredible Edibles and the shopkeepers of the Friars’ Vennel to take over an illegal parking spot for Parking Day

Standard journalist

From (illegal) parking space to pop-up park!

In October we didn’t let the clocks going back mark the end of our cycling season – instead we kicked off our winter ride programme and lit up the night with an after dark Halloween ride which was very chilly but great fun.

Maidenbower aftef

The Maidenbower Path cleared of leaves

In November we got a bit sick of the annual battle to try and get the cycle paths cleared of leaves and took matters into our own hands – looks like we might have to take a similar approach to gritting if things don’t improve on the Maxwelltown Path though.

December has been a little quieter – although Cycling Dumfries members Rhian Davies and Rosie Rutherford did brave freezing weather to encourage commuters to the new hospital to get there by sustainable means in the way we know best: home baking. We’ve been in a long-fought battle to improve the routes to and from the hospital – and it’s not over yet – but at least we can do what we can to encourage people to cycle there on the routes there are.

So, another busy year has (almost) passed and who knows what 2018 holds in store for us – but if this year is anything to go by we can guess it will include at least some fun, more rain than we’d like, and copious quantities of cake. We hope you’ll join us for some or all of it – starting on New Year’s Day!

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