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!
We were a little worried overnight about today’s planned jaunt to Ae – not only was the Met Office issuing dire warnings of ice, but there were also reports coming in of frozen roads around Ae yesterday. But that didn’t seem to put off the 11 riders (include one 11-year-old) who assembled at Devorgilla Bridge in the winter sunshine.
Gathering at the start of the ride
It seems it takes a little more than some ice to put off your Dumfries cyclist when there is the Ae Cafe hot chocolate as a draw.
Setting off along Quarry Road
As it was, the Caledonian cycleway was pretty clear (someone seems to have sorted out the leaves for a start …) and we soon reached Quarry Road ready for the pull up to Ae. The winter sunshine was very welcome after the rain and sleet we’ve been having and people were soon warming up that every stop at the top of each climb (to ‘admire the view’, or possibly catch our breath …) was accompanied by some rearranging of various winter layers. There were a few icy spots still on the last mile before the village but nothing too difficult for anyone to handle.
Clouds looming – but they fortunately passed us by
There were also a few threatening clouds, but they passed us by and we soon made it to the welcome embrace of Ae Cafe where we promptly finished the lentil soup and then proceeded to make inroads into the hot chocolate …
Refuelling (and apologies to Steve for lining up that shot so he has apparently grown a fine set of antlers …)
It took a bit of effort to lever ourselves out of the cafe and back onto the bikes but at least it was mostly downhill home (even if that meant it was a bit chillier than the ride in!). Two of our number took advantage of their mountain bikes and set off on an off-road cross-country route, but for the rest of us, it was a simple question of retracing our route back to Dumfries, with much anticipation of warming baths, hot drinks and fires for when we got home!
This will be our last ride of 2017 so thank you to everyone who made it such a nice day out. Our next ride will be on New Year’s Day – starting as we mean to go on with a run out to Caerlaverock WWT.
After a delayed start due to a flat tyre (well it wouldn’t be a summer ride without one!) we were off and battling the strong wind round the Maxwelltown Cyclepath. As we headed out of Cargenbridge there was bit of dodging to be done on the shared use path alongside the Dalbeattie Road – a route obviously popular with horse riders too!
We then made our way along the Mabie Farm Park road before heading past the giant pink marshmallow hay bales to Mabie Farm Park. From here we cycled up a little known track to bring us out at the sawmill in Mabie Forest.
The proof is in the pudding! Here we enjoyed the final cake offering of the last summer ride before heading back the way we’d come and this time with the wind behind us – weeeeee!
It’s not over yet. The night’s may be shortening and the brambles ready for picking but there’s no need to put the bike in the shed. Our annual Bike Breakfast is coming up in September and Beat the Street starts next week, which sees Dumfries turned in to a town size game. We’re hoping to form a team so please let us know if you’d like to be part of it! Either email us firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on facebook.
Friday 22nd September is World Car Free Day and we’ll be kicking it off by holding our annual Bike Breakfast at the Council HQ in English Street.
Whether you already cycle regularly or not, why not take the opportunity to hop on your bike – and swing by for a free hot roll and drink on your way to work, school or college?
We would love to see a Dumfries which is less dependent on cars not just on one day of the year but every day – but that its going to take time and a lot of investment in alternatives such as more bike paths and better public transport.
However, for one day only, at least we might manage a few less cars on the roads – and a few more bacon rolls and happy well-fed cyclists.
Come along – and bring a friend
If you’re coming – you can let us know on Facebook so we know how many rolls to order!
Paths to Freedom
Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival means that there are lots of bike-related events popping up – and we’re happy to be joining forces for a couple of them. Coming up in July is Buddies’ bike barbecue – of which more later – but first, on the 24th June Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus will be holding a bike day. We’ll be helping out with a led ride up to Heathhall to play on the skills track and we’ll also be talking about the benefits of cycling for health, happiness and getting about.
This is an event aimed at LGBT people across the region and their friends, families and carers. There’s a Facebook event if you want to come or to spread the word to people who might be interested. No need to have your own bike as there will be some to borrow – but do let the organisers know if you are coming.
Our Hell’s Bells logo, courtesy of Craig Logie
Who wants to join us in a biker gang!? No – it’s not a belated April Fool’s – we’re joining Buddies for the Good Nychburris parade this year and we’ll be cycling behind their float to help them spread the word about their Biker Buddies programme. Buddies have adopted a Sons of Anarchy theme – they will be the Buds of Anarchy and we will be joining them as the Hell’s Bells …
If you can join us on Saturday 17th June then please let us know – and come along in character! Anything vaguely biker-gang will do – think black or white t-shirts, jeans, boots, leather jackets or black hoodies with the sleeves cut off, sunglasses, beanie hats and stick-on tattoos.
We’ve even got a logo, thanks to volunteer Craig Logie, which we’ll have available for adding on to jackets or t-shirts just to give it that finishing touch. If you can think of a way of making your bike look more like a Harley Davidson, then do that too.
It should be a bit of fun, a chance to spread the word about Cycling Dumfries, and also to support the Buddies in their biking activities, so do come along if you can. We’ll be meeting up at the car park at Newall Terrace at 3pm ready for judging at 3:30 so come in costume.
To sustain you, and to further support Buddies, there will be a fundraising tea on the same day, 12-3 at St George’s Hall
Cycling Dumfries members do love a chance to dress up, so here’s hoping for a good showing
Candidates for Holyrood getting on their bikes last year – will our wannabe councillors prove as game?
Two dates for your diaries in April – our first regular meeting of the year which will be on Thursday 6th April (NB not the usual first Tuesday this month) at the Coach and Horses at 6pm as usual. For those of you not familiar with our ‘meetings’ this is as much a chat over a drink and crisps as anything formal, although we do also plan events and campaigns during the course of them! They normally last about an hour and anyone is welcome – you don’t have to be a member to attend.
Top of the agenda will be our first formal campaigning event of the year – the Council Candidates’ Cycle Ride, on Wednesday 26th April. We hold these informal bike-borne hustings events for every election – they’re a chance to let local politicians understand the issues troubling cyclists in the town first hand, with a led ride showcasing both the problem areas and the things that are working. It’s a political event with a difference – no speeches or grandstanding, just a chance for (we hope) a meeting of minds and some mutual understanding.
The route is yet to be decided, so if you have a really burning issue (that can be reached from Dock Park in less than 20 minutes by a group of not-necessarily-very-experienced cyclists) then please let us know. Otherwise, please do turn out if you can – we’ll meet at Dock Park at 4pm, for a photo opportunity, followed by a ride and discussion, with the whole thing done and dusted by 5:30pm, unless any of our candidates wish to repair to the pub afterwards.