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:
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 …
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, 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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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!