Help us give a little back on our summer rides

It’s July, it’s glorious weather – can it really last until our summer rides start on Saturday?  We hope so!

This year we’re giving something back to the town – we’re bringing along a couple of litter bags so we can stop and do a #2MinuteCleanUp on each of our rides. We’ve all seen what happens when plastic and other non biodegradable waste gets into the sea – and it looks terrible too. So we’ll be doing our bit to not just take our own rubbish home, but to pick up a bit of other people’s as well.

On Saturday we kick off with our traditional easy opening ride up and down the river on the Kingholm Loop. This ride is a really gentle introduction to cycling in Dumfries so whether you’re an old hand or a total beginner, please do come along and join us. There will be the traditional home baking too! If you want to come along, there’s no need to book, just turn up with your bike for a 2pm start at Dock Park Car Park, a bit earlier if you’d like it checked over beforehand.

On Monday 9th July we’ll also have our monthly meeting at the Riverside Bar (at 6pm). So far the weather has been fine for all of these – we’re daring to hope it might continue. After last summer, we think we deserve it!

Update: unfortunately the meeting has had to be postponed. Watch this space.

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Meet us at the Farmers’ Market

bike parking at the market

Those of you who follow us on Twitter or Facebook will know that we’re delighted with the farmers’ market moving to the station at Dumfries. There’s something very nice about visiting a farmers’ market by bike (if only to help burn off all the extra calories involved in checking out the ice cream, burgers, pies, cakes and other goodies) but when it was at Tarff Valley it just wasn’t accessible by any means but car.

cheese at the Farmers' Market

We’d urge you all to go to the market anyway (it’s on the first Sunday of every month) but we’re particularly excited about the next one. The lovely Farmers’ Market people have offered us a free stall to let people know what we’re about (and advertise our coming Summer Rides). Naturally we’ll be coming by bike (our trusty bike trailer will take everything we need) and we’ll be helping people who might want to cycle or walk to the market – or anywhere else – find a route that suits them.

Please do come along – it’s on Sunday 1st July – and please stop by our stall and say hello if you do!

 

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Making headway with the hospital

Thanks to intrepid councillors Ronnie Nicholson and Jeff Leaver who joined us on bikes yesterday afternoon to look at options for new routes to the hospital from Troqueer.

Councillors at New Abbey Road

Jeff Leaver and Ronnie Nicholson discussion options for pedestrians and cyclists for New Abbey Road with Sustrans officers and Cycling Dumfries members

As we reported last year, the initial plans for this route were pretty timid and ended up pleasing nobody. Fortunately, with the help of Sustrans, the council have gone back to the drawing board and from what we’ve heard and seen, the results will be a major improvement – and not just for cycling.

So far, they’ve only looked at New Abbey Road and the junctions with Pleasance Avenue and Park Road, so there are no plans yet for the Park Road path or the Dalbeattie Road, which is where things get really tricky. However, we spent a bit of time looking at the conditions on the road with both councillors and with two Sustrans officers and there were lots of ideas about how things could be better. There’s really no substitute for getting out and seeing what the road and the traffic are like for understanding what can (and needs) to be done to make a route safer for cycling and more pleasant for walking.

The ensuing conversations, both on the road and with officers beforehand were constructive and useful and have left us feeling uncharacteristically optimistic that we’ll see some positive changes for active travel in this corner of town. Chapeau!

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Celebrate birds and Bike Week with the WWT

As part of Bike Week this year, the Wetland Centre at Caerlaverock are running a birdwatching bike ride on Sunday June 17th

post lunch group shot

Our first New Year’s run to Caerlaverock – hopefully we’ll get similar sunshine

Meet at Dock Park at 10am and bring binoculars if you have them to get the best out of it. The route will likely be similar to our New Year’s Day ride, but significantly warmer and with more stops on the way to spot wildlife – and not just birds. Last time we did one of these rides, we spotted an otter and her kit before we’d barely got out of Dock Park, and there were plenty of other great spots too. Because there will be plenty of stops, you might want to wear or bring an extra layer – we hope it will be fine June weather but you never know!

The ride will be led by WWT staff, with help from Cycling Dumfries, so there will be plenty of expertise on hand. There will also be a cake stop at the Wetland Centre, naturally!

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June already, how did that happen?

speedwells

Spring flowers on the Maxwelltown Path – and sunshine too!

This means one thing – it’s our next meeting coming up. Join us at the Riverside Bar in Dock Park on Monday 11th June at 6pm. We’ve managed to sit outside for both meetings so far this year – here’s hoping we can make it three in a row.

After a stonking May, summer is upon us, and that means it’s time to start thinking about summer rides. We are going to revamp our summer ride programme slightly to ring the changes and explore more of Dumfries’ cycle network, and as always we need ride leaders and helpers. We need to get the word out about the rides – and plan some additional escapades to boot. So come along and find out what’s going on, or watch this space for more details.

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Hardthorn Road … Finally!

One of the more baffling cycle paths in Dumfries has finally been sorted out. The shared-use path along Hardthorn Road has been a bit of a joke for years – starting on one side of the road and then suddenly crossing over to the other side halfway along it’s length because … well, no we don’t really know why either. We did ask the council and they did give an explanation but it didn’t make any sense so we’ve forgotten what it was.

Hardthorn Road looking to town

Hardthorn road path crossing from one side to the other. Image from Google Streetview

But all that has changed – it’s still a shared use path (which isn’t brilliant) but it does now at least allow you to not have to cross a fast and fairly busy road to get from the Maxwelltown Path to the new school in Lochside.

new Hardthorn road path

No need to cross the road any more at least

It even continues a bit further, and while there’s no priority across this side road, the crossing is raised up to the surface of the road which will make it much safer (and more convenient) – all good news when the school opens and the area is busy with kids.

Hardthorn road crossing

Raised crossing at Alloway Road

It’s a shame we’re not seeing a proper segregated cycleway here, with pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all getting their own space (as you can see from the pictures, there’s plenty of room) but at least it’s no longer completely bonkers. And finished before the school opens to boot – credit all round!

 

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Buddies Bike Barn

four person bike

Fun in Dock Park in April at Buddies’ inclusive cycling day

Can you help bring cycling to people who might not otherwise have the chance? Buddies will be opening their inclusive cycling project, the Bike Barn, within the next few weeks and they need people to help out. If you’ve got time free on a Sunday, could you lend a hand? You don’t necessarily need any special skills beyond a love of bikes and an eagerness to share that with everyone, whatever their ability. For those who can commit a bit more time, there may be training available, but even if all you can offer is a few hours this summer that would be a great help.

Four on a bike

Because a ‘bike’ needn’t mean a two wheeler- it could even be something like this

If you’re interested, drop Buddies a line at info@buddiesdumfries.co.uk / nelliedipstick@yahoo.co.uk or 01387 256 312, or get in touch with us and we’ll pass it on. Having spent some time working with Buddies and helping out at their last two inclusive cycling events – we know you won’t regret it. There’s really nothing like seeing someone take to two, three, or four wheels for the first time under their own power (or with a bit of assistance). And with Buddies involved, it’s guaranteed to be good fun.

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