Blog

May Meeting

Sadly, we’re not yet able to resume our meetings in the pub, but it was encouraging to see that the Council are preparing for that happy time by installing bike parking outside our normal meeting spot…

Meanwhile, we will persevere with our online discussions, so please join us on Tuesday 4th May at 7pm for our regular monthly meeting. We’ll be talking about our summer ride programme, further engagement with the council, and anything else that comes up.

Members will receive the link shortly with their monthly email, but if you don’t receive that or you’re not a member but still want to attend, please get in touch (cyclingdumfries AT gmail DOT com) and we’ll pass you the details.

This Machine Fights Climate Change (but only if we let it)

Kirkpatrick McMillan statue with 'this machine fights climate change'
Photo by James Craig

As Pedal on Parliament made clear in their campaign this year, if we’re serious about tackling climate change, we need to tackle emissions from transport and we can’t afford to wait until everyone’s got an electric car (which bring their own issues). Bikes, and other pedal powered machines, are already here (in fact they’ve been around since the 19th century) and are incredibly efficient for short journeys. The rapid take up of electric bikes in the area (we had seven out on our last two group rides) is helping to extend their useful range (just ask Viki) even for people who aren’t dedicated lycra-clad athletes.

But in order for bikes to be the preserve of more than a handful of brave souls, we need safe and pleasant routes to ride them on. That’s why, on Saturday night, as well as honouring Kirkpatrick McMillan’s invention, we also decided to showcase some of the local cycling network that makes it practical to use even now in the age of the car.

Photo by Dan Wright of Stage Two Imaging

Taking our ‘This machine fights climate change’ sculpture on a wee tour (by bike, of course) we set it up in various spots around the town where investment in routes for cycling and walking was making a real difference. Such as the viaduct over the river that joins the Maxwelltown path to Nunholm.

Photo by Dan Wright as before

The bridge by the rowing club is an incredibly useful connection for pedestrians and cyclists, joining College Road (and ultimately Lincluden and Lochside) with the centre of town. We really missed it when it was closed for refurbishment as it severed the Whitesands path from the Maxwelltown.

The Kirkpatrick McMillan bridge at the other end of town does a similar job – connecting Troqueer with the rest of the town and also the Crichton as well as Dock Park

Photo by Dan Wright as before

Bridges are expensive investments, as are routes of the quality and length of the Maxwelltown Path, although they pale into insignificance compared to the cost of even a mile of major road. That’s why we’re joining Pedal on Parliament in asking for three key pledges from all our candidates standing in the coming Holyrood elections:

  1. Proper funding for active travel – starting at 10% of the transport budget and rising to 20% by the end of the parliamentary term.
  2. Design cycling for all ages and abilities into Scotland’s roads.
  3. Implement and enforce safer speeds where people live, work and play.

And this film from POP explains why it’s vital that we act now:

Thank you to those who’ve helped with the POP action this year – it was a shame we couldn’t do more of a group event but one way or another, people have put a fair bit of effort into it all the same.

The next step is to let your candidates know that you think climate change is important and you’d like them to support active travel as part of the solution. You can find all the candidates for Dumfries (and the South of Scotland list) via the Walk, Wheel, Cycle, Vote candidate finder, along with information about how to get in touch with them. So far not all of them have signed up in support, so please do ask them (politely!) to do so.

Photo by Dan Wright as before
Photo by James Craig

This Machine Fights Climate Change

In ordinary times, the end of April would normally see many of us heading up to Edinburgh to take part in Pedal on Parliament. But just because mass bike rides are out, doesn’t mean we aren’t getting involved in PoP’s day (or night) of action to light up the night with the message This Machine Fights Climate Change

In fact, we’ve already started! If you’ve been in the town centre today you may have seen our displays in a couple of shops around town. Big thanks to the Frothy Bike Co, G&G Cycle Centre and Midsteeple Quarter for lending us their windows.

This Machine Fights Climate Change display in Frothy Bike's window
Display in G&G's window
Display in midsteeple quarter's window

But that’s not all we’ve been up to. If you’ve been down to the Maxwelltown Cycle Path after dark in the past week, you might have been lucky enough to spot Kirkpatrick McMillan sporting a sparkly new look …

What’s going on? All will be revealed on Saturday around 9pm, as part of a wider Scotland-wide action. Watch this space, or follow the hashtags #POP2021 and #ThisMachineFightsClimateChange on social media to find out more!

Getting ready for Pedal on Parliament!

Sadly, the pandemic means there will be no mass ride on the Scottish Parliament during this election campaign, but this doesn’t mean there’s no campaign taking place – and here at Cycling Dumfries we’re joining in the fun.

The organisers of Pedal on Parliament are asking everyone to join in on their day (or night) of action on 24th April, lighting up the darkness with their climate change message:

This Machine fights climate change

There’s lots of ways to get the message across – you can do lit up window displays, take long-exposure photos, create light sculptures with fairy lights or even do a projection if you have a strong light or projector. We will be putting up displays in a couple of bike shops and also looking to do something else (socially distanced) so watch this space.

One really simple thing you can do is turn your bike into a mobile billboard, especially if you’re using it to make (essential) journeys. We’ve got a batch of posters laminated so they can be cable-tied to your bike and send a strong message about how cycling can help to save the planet

Poster of this machine fights climate change

If you want one, and we can deliver it locally, let us know and we’ll drop one round – by bike, naturally!

April meetings: online and in person!!!

As we posted earlier, Easter sees a tentative restart of our ride programme with a concentrated programme of rides aimed mainly at families and beginning cyclists.

ride poster

Please spread the word if you know of anyone who wants a really gentle introduction to group riding. Our two slightly more challenging rides (Heathhall Forest and Mabie) are almost completely booked up, but our shorter rides (Mavis Grove and Lincluden Abbey) still have spaces for a couple of groups.

And as it’s a new month that also means a new monthly meeting – please join us online on Tuesday 6th April at 7pm to talk bikes, plans for Pedal on Parliament and strategy generally. All members will get sent the meeting link shortly, but if you’d like to join in and haven’t got it, then please drop us a line via cyclingdumfries@gmail.com.

Join us for some Easter jaunts

With restrictions starting to life, we’re delighted to be able to resume group riding with a special programme for the Easter holidays – with lots of safeguards in place, which means places are extremely limited.

ride poster

We know that lots of people have been discovering (or rediscovering) the bike in the past year, so we wanted to offer some rides that were suitable for real beginners, as well as some slightly more (but still family friendly) challenging rides.

Building on our successful Discovery Ride series in September and October, we’ve added a couple of really easy options, based on our normal summer ride outings. Our Easter Ride programme on the 11th and 18th April therefore have two rides per afternoon – one really accessible one (3 or 4 miles) and one slightly longer one, based on the rides we did last year:

The longer rides are booking up fast – but the shorter ones still have a few spaces. Please pass the word on to anyone you know who might be interested – especially if they’re new to cycling!

March Meeting

After snow, wind, rain, frost and fog – February seems to be going out with some actual spring weather so it’s a real shame that we’re not looking forward to the last of our winter rides on Sunday. We’re hopeful that as lockdown starts to lift and the regulations allow it we can run some more rides in the spring, but for now we will have to make do with the joys of our regular monthly Zoom meeting

Screengrab of the Handforth Parish Council zoom meeting

Please join us on Tuesday 2nd March at 7pm from the comfort of your own home to discuss the issues of the day – members will get an email with the link as part of their regular newsletter, but if you don’t receive it, then please let us know by emailing cyclingdumfries@gmail.com to get your invite.

We can’t promise the fireworks of Handforth Parish Council, but we will be discussing our plans for joining in with Pedal on Parliament’s 2021 campaign which won’t involve pedalling on Parliament this year, unfortunately, but will have a strong climate message. We’ll also be considering issues closer to home and what activities we can start to plan for as lockdown eases.

Standard journalist at our pop-up park

A reminder too that the Dynamically Different Dumfries project is still going strong and there is one more of their online workshops left to go, on green spaces. You can sign up online to attend if you’re interested – the last three have all been very informal and useful sessions with lots of discussions and ideas. It might not be as fun as creating your own pop up park, but it might have a bit more of a lasting impact.

Finally, as we’ve mentioned on social media, there is a consultation going on about the Pleasance Avenue / Troqueer Road junction, where the council plan to put in pedestrian crossings – but the consultation goes a lot wider than that. If you live or walk or cycle through the area, do pop onto the online consultation site and have a look at the options (if you can’t see how to get to the survey from there then you can go direct using this link).

Advance notice: Caledonian Cycleway closure

We’ve been notified by the council that the Caledonian Cycleway is to be closed for utility works over the period from the 22nd February to the 26th March.

The closure will be in three phases, and diversions will be in place:

  • Phase 1: Between Moffat Road and Marchfield Avenue/Keswick Place link, during which time the diversion will be via Carruthers Crescent, Coulter Close, Summerpark Road, Marchfield Road and vice versa (in blue on the map below).
  • Phase 2: Between Marchfield Avenue/Keswick Place link and Marchfield Road, during which time the diversion will be via Marchfield Avenue, Edinburgh Road, Marchfield Road and vice versa (in green on the map below)
  • Phase 3: Between Marchfield Road and Bloomfield during which time the diversion will be via Marchfield Road, Edinburgh Road (via underpass) and vice versa (in yellow on the map below).
map of planned diversions during the worksThe council have assured us that during these works, diversion  signs will be in place and that the path will be restored to a good standard afterwards. Please let us know if you experience any problems or if diversion signs disappear.

We’ve also raised the issue of the Edinburgh Road underpasses which are not accessible to all users due to chicane barriers, but this is the responsibility of Transport Scotland rather than the council as it is part of the trunk road network – we’re following this up. Meanwhile we have reported to Amey the many broken lights in the underpasses as well as the encroaching vegetation, so hopefully those will be fixed soon (you can report issues with paths alongside major roads direct to Amey on their site)

We regret this closure as the Caledonian is a key link in Dumfries’ active travel network, but we have been reassured that the council are taking the need to maintain walking and cycling links seriously. But we’ll be keeping a close eye on things to make sure.

Meetings, Meetings

As January is drawing to a close, our regular monthly meeting is on its heels as night follows day …

coach and horses

Join us (online, sadly, not in the pub) on Tuesday 2nd February at 7pm for our regular monthly catchup on what is going on. Members will get the link and joining details in their monthly email, but if you aren’t (yet) a member – and if not, why not?- then please drop us an email requesting an invitation. We’re always happy to hear from people who cycle locally (or want to) and might be curious about what we do and who we are.

New Year’s Day ride cancelled

We’re sad to announce that we are cancelling our planned New Year’s Day ride. Although it would have been OK to go out under the guidance for Level 4, the current outbreak of the new variant is a concern, and so we are heeding the NHS’s advice to stay home as much as possible. Encouraging people to travel even within the region and to gather even in a small group, however much we try and keep our distance, just doesn’t feel right at the moment. Also, the icy conditions look set to stay around and riding in the hills might have been a bit reckless at the best of times.

We’re gutted as we were looking forward to an outing and a chance to chat, at least from a distance, but there will be other opportunities and other rides. Instead, we suggest people get out with their families or on their own, and enjoy what looks like is going to be a beautiful if cold day (taking care on any ice, of course).

We’ll keep our other rides under review, so please keep an eye on the site, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed.

Stay safe out there! We will see you on the other side.

Group photo
New Year’s Day ride in happier times