Category Archives: Events

Want to see change? Get along to a free campaigners’ day!

Calling everyone in the South of Scotland who’d like to see better conditions for walking and cycling – We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote are organising a free campaigners’ day in Kilmarnock on Saturday 8th September (11-4).

These campaigners’ days are a mixture of presentations from experience campaigners, discussion and hands-on activities, and – most importantly – networking opportunities. This will be run jointly with the South Ayrshire Paths Initiative and it should be a great opportunity for anyone who wants to re-energise their campaigning activities, whether they’re a seasoned activist, or just someone who’d like to see things go better, but doesn’t know where to start.

Booking is open now, and places are limited so don’t delay if you want to come along.

 

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Climbing and views on our sixth summer ride

Most of our summer rides are relatively on the level – but we make an exception for our Glen Road explorer ride – a climb up the road that used to form the A75 before it was dualled, and which is now a dead end for cars, but a good quiet route out west for bikes.

group shot

At the second bench, enjoying the view

We were rather a select group, all familiar faces by now, so the first part of the ride was covering familiar ground as we headed out along the Maxwelltown path  – but this time we kept on going, past the new hospital and Kilnford Barns and up the Glen, which is a bit of a pull, but worth it for the views once you get to one of the memorial benches up the hill.

view from the bench

Once again, there was pretty much no litter at our chosen stop, but instead of our #2MinuteCleanUp, we did get a chance to chat with the homeowner on the road who had put the bench up in memory of his mother and keeps the spot nicely maintained.

After pressing on a little further to stretch our legs we turned around to enjoy the descent, another good reward for our climbing efforts.

Then, as we were passing the hospital, we couldn’t resist a detour to inspect the visitor bike parking, which has finally been installed!

hospital bike parking

 

It’s looking good! And great to know that anyone who is able to take the healthiest means of transport to the new infirmary, whether for an appointment or to visit, can now leave their bike securely (and under cover) right by the front door.

Our next ride is to Heathall Forest and the skills track. Join us on Saturday at Dock Park for a 2pm start – you’ve only got two more chances left.

 

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Highways and Byways on our Fifth Summer Ride

Mixed Messages

Mixed Messages

We had a nice afternoon for our fifth summer ride – heading out to the 12 Apostles, Dumfries’ little-known stone circle just outside Newbridge. Once more we had  a group of seven for this slightly more adventurous ride. We started by heading out through Lincluden on the very fiddly route that runs alongside the A76 – an old-style cycle route that had us hopping about from shared pavement to side road and back again…

Once across the A76 we headed for the Irongray Road and down the hill to Newbridge. From there it was just a short pull uphill to get to the field entrance for the 12 Apostles.

Encouragingly, despite hunting around in the hedge by the road, we could barely find any litter, even near the gate by the road. It’s good to know that some ancient sites are respected by local visitors  … except those who use ancient monuments as impromptu bike racks.

bike at the 12 apostles

Or for group photos!

12 apostles group photo

As the group were up for it, we decided to explore a new route back and rode back up to the Irongray Road and over to the Hardthorn Road, which is a lovely route into town. From there, we could pick up the new cycle path (such an improvement on the older infrastructure) which took us back to the Maxwelltown Path. It is encouraging to know that things are improving for cycling in the area, even if by small degrees!

Our next ride is the Glen Road explorer – which has a little bit of a climb (but then a lovely long descent back down again). Join us at Dock Park for a 2pm start – and you can also check out some of the Nithraid fun before and after. Should be a grand day out!

Hardthorn Road

 

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August meeting – and a campaigners’ day!

We didn’t manage a meeting in July, but we’ll be back on track for August so please pop along if you can – Monday 13th August, at the Riverside Bar in Dock Park. Our big Bike Breakfast is coming up in September so there’s some planning to do!

Also – if you feel like you want to do more to change things for the better for active travel in Dumfries and want to learn some skills and do some networking – We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote are holding a campaigners’ day for Southern Scotland in Kilmarnock on Saturday 8th September, so save the date. More details coming soon, but this will be a chance to meet people from other groups, learn new skills and get ideas and inspiration for campaigners of all kinds.

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Exciting finds on our fourth summer ride

After a long spell of glorious weather, the inevitable happened and we were greeted with epic downpours and blowy weather on Saturday morning – but that didn’t put the dampeners on our fourth summer ride. Indeed, the rain had more or less stopped when 7 indomitable cyclists gathered at Dock Park car park ready to brave some more traditionally Scottish summer weather.

group photo

With a bit more planning we could have made a rainbow! A missed opportunity …

As Dumfries’ flagship cycle route, the Maxwelltown Cycle Path is always a pleasure to cycle on whatever the weather (except in winter when it’s prone to black ice – more gritting please!) so we made short work of the ride out, reaching the end of the path just as the latest shower stopped and the wind dropped.  For once, there wasn’t much litter to be found – perhaps there are already people out there litter picking on this part of the path? If so, chapeau! We did make one exciting discovery though …

As  we were so near, the conversation turned to the new hospital, its lack of bike parking and the new bike repair station there – so we decided to extend our ride a little and check it out for ourselves.

using the pump

Checking out the pump

tools

Investigating the tool stand

There’s not only a pump, but a repair stand and some tools that can be used to do basic running repairs such as fixing a puncture. It’s good to know that it’s not just people who can get fixed at the hospital! And we’re assured that bike parking for visitors will be coming soon, so watch this space.

By this time the rain had come on again, so with no further delay we headed back into town in record time.

riders lined up

Our next ride will be out to the 12 Apostles which is always a favourite with the kids (and the pre-history buffs). The forecast looks better too so come along and see if we can make any more interesting discoveries!

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Breaking new ground on our third summer ride

We’ve been doing our summer rides for over 5 years now, and – a few tweaks in the routes aside – pretty much stuck with the same programme of rides all that time. Some have become old favourites, but this year we decided to break new ground with a route out to Mavis Grove and back along the New Abbey road path. As well as a new route, it was nice also to welcome some new faces, with a baker’s dozen riders in total showing up (plus four lads who unofficially tagged along and seemed to appreciate being shown a new route).

At Mavis Grove

Reassembling at Mavis Grove

This is another short, and relatively easy ride (at least once you’ve worked out the route through the tangled streets of Troqueer but this year the riverside path was showing some serious signs of wear and tear:

neglected riverside path

There won’t be much left of this path at this rate

We’ve reported it approximately a million times, to no response, but at least the path hasn’t (yet) collapsed into the river, so we decided to go ahead with the route as planned, taking that section one at a time to avoid anyone losing a wheel in one of the developing sinkholes.

Heading down along the path

The other problem with the route is that the New Abbey Road path runs out just before you get to the residential side streets of Troqueer, which technically means rejoining the carriageway. We’re hopeful that work on the routes to the new hospital will sort this out eventually, but meanwhile we – cautiously – remained on the pavement until we could get off the main road.

Then it was a brief stop at the variously-named park next to the river (does anyone know what it’s officially called?) and our short treasure hunt, sorry, litter pick. Plus, of course, some home baking!

mavis grove litter pick

Our next ride will be along Dumfries’ flagship cycle route the Maxwelltown Path, a slightly longer (but nice and level) ‘out-and-back’ on almost entirely traffic-free paths. Join us for a 2pm start in Dock Park!

 

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Family fun at Lincluden Abbey

After a quiet start on our first summer ride – things got a bit busier on Saturday, with a total of 18 riders heading off to Lincluden Abbey to explore the ruins

Group setting off

After the usual hassle of getting everyone through the Dock Park lights (we hear that the council have put in a bid to Sustrans to get these upgraded – fingers crossed!) it was more or less plain sailing along the Whitesands and over the “curly-wurly” bridge to Lincluden (a bit of a struggle when you’re small and haven’t quite worked out your gears …)

Group at Linclude

Despite a bit of broken glass, making litter picking somewhat hazardous, the group was having so much fun hunting down rubbish it was hard to get them to stop. But on the plus side, the ride then went past Jock’s Loaning so the resulting haul could be dropped off right away – that’s handy for you!

bikes at Lincluden

Lincluden Abbey can be a bit of a surprise even for people who know Dumfries well – and it’s nice to know we left it looking better than we found it!

The next ride is a new one for us – exploring down the other side of the Nith from the route we usually take, and the Mavis Grove path along the New Abbey Road. Meet at Dock Park on Saturday 21st July for a 2pm start.

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