July meeting (virtually of course)

coach and horses
Our normal meeting venue – sadly not open at the moment as we all socially distance

The pubs are not yet open, even if the shops are – so our next monthly meeting will once again be held virtually, via the wonders of Zoom.

We’ll be gathering online at 7pm on Tuesday 7th July. Top of the agenda will be considering what sort of activities we could be considering as the world tentatively opens up again – if you have any ideas of things that might be useful in our ‘new normal’ then let us know. However we’ll also consider any other subjects people want to discuss, so please tell us about any burning issues you have to do with cycling in and around Dumfries.

Members will get a Zoom invitation as part of their regular monthly email – but if you want to join in and you don’t get an email then please let us know- cyclingdumfries AT gmail DOT com should reach us.

Short notice: Cycle with council officers

Apologies for the short notice – and inconvenient timing – but if you’re free on Monday morning for an hour or so, we’ve been invited to take some senior council officers out for a tour of some of the highlights and lowlights of cycling in Dumfries. If you can make it, we’re meeting at Cargenbridge (the Park and Go car park at the entrance to Cargen Towers) at 10am for roughly an hour’s cycle around the town.

Route of the ride
Proposed ride route – click on the map for more details

Because we’re looking not just at existing cycling infrastructure but also some on-road issues and opportunities to expand the network, this will mean some riding on roads (although there will be an option to avoid the worst of the route).

Mixed Messages
Mixed messages

If you’ve ever scratched your head at part of the cycling network in Dumfries and wondered what on earth they were thinking – then this is your perfect opportunity to raise it directly with those who, if not responsible, at least might be able to sort out the worst problems.

If you can’t make it, feel free to let us know of what you’d raise with them if you could – you can tell us in the comments, or email us on cyclingdumfries@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to include everyone’s concerns, and report back with any answers.

Winter rides: Frequently asked questions

group photoOur rides are all casual, social affairs which are intended to give people a chance to have a pleasant ride in good company, and maybe discover some new quiet routes in and around Dumfries. We get a few questions from people about them, so we’ve put together a little FAQ for anyone who isn’t sure if these monthly rides are for them.

Do I need to book? No – you can just turn up on the day (but we do try and leave quite promptly so don’t be late). If you want to let us know you’re coming, you can sign up to the relevant event on Facebook, if you use it. All our rides are listed as events on our Facebook page.
What should I wear?  We’re not going to be riding fast, so don’t feel you have to be in specialist kit – but do dress for the weather. If you’re unsure, our general guidance is to dress as you might to walk the dog, bearing in mind you’ll be out for 2 or more hours and this is Scotland. Layers are good, and a waterproof is wise, and good gloves will probably make the day more enjoyable if you’re prone to cold hands.
Turning into Brow Well
What kind of bike do I need? Any bike as long as it’s roadworthy. We welcome e-bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, road bikes, folding bikes and  trikes or other adaptive cycles. We mostly stick to tarmac so you don’t need to have anything that handles off-road conditions.
How fast do you go? It varies depending on the group. In practice we probably average around 10-11 mph, but we’re absolutely happy to go slower if people want to. If need be, speedy riders can go ahead as long as they promise not to eat all the soup at the cafe. Nobody ever gets left behind, even after their third puncture.
Is it suitable for children? Yes, if they can ride the distance, or are happy to be out cycling for a couple of hours (the exception is our Halloween ride, which includes a long, fast descent in the dark, which may not be suitable for less confident riders). We’ve had kids as young as 11 ride out with us on past winter rides. We choose our routes to use quiet roads and cycle paths – you can check out the routes on our ride pages, but if you’re not sure, email us (cyclingdumfries@gmail.com). You might want to organise a bail-out option at the cafe if you aren’t sure you’ll make the whole way. Note that children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Do you still go if it’s raining? Yes – as long as anyone turns up! If it’s icy or snowing, or there’s a weather warning we will probably cancel the ride. If you’re not sure, check Twitter, our Facebook page or this website on the morning of the ride.
How much does it cost? It’s free, but you may want to bring some cash for lunch (or at least a drink) at the cafe if we’re stopping at one – we want to support local businesses with the ‘cycling pound’ as much as we can!
Do I have to be a member to ride with you? No, anyone can come along – but if you support our work, we do appreciate it if you join us!
road to Ae

(Re)Cycling Dumfries

Christmas Tree Festival

If you’re coming along to the Christmas Tree Festival in St John’s Church this week then keep an eye out for the Cycling Dumfries tree! This year we’ve gone with a recycling theme (do you see what we did there …) and we had great fun a couple of weeks ago turning old bike parts into Christmas decorations (with varying degrees of success).

Chains and chain rings have become stars, slapstraps make wonderfully shiny baubles, and inner tubes and reflective material have found a new life as garlands.

While possibly not the most delicate of decorations (at one point we had to do a bit of hasty counterweighting as our tree started to lose the battle with gravity), it does show what you can achieve with a bit of imagination and plenty of elbow grease!

chain ring

If you like the idea of recycling but don’t have the crafty skills yourself, we’re also collecting inner tubes for Cycle of Good, which trains and employs tailors in Malawi to turn them into a range of wonderful recycled bike-themed stuff. You can drop them off by our tree at the festival any time up to Sunday afternoon  – but please, no slime-filled ones.

no slime!

Double the cycling fun this weekend!

Buddies accessible cycle event poster

If you’re looking for some cycling fun then make sure you head down to Dock Park this Saturday! Not only is it our fourth summer ride (along the Maxwelltown Path) at 2pm, but Buddies will be holding one of their accessible bike sessions from 11-3.

tandem trike

Buddies needs volunteers to help these events run smoothly – if you can help out then let them know on 01387 256312 or there will be an induction session for volunteers at 2pm this Thursday. These days are always huge fun and extremely rewarding – there’s nothing like seeing someone trying out a bike, trike, or four-wheeler that meets their needs and gets them pedalling independently.

riders lined upEither way, do come along on Saturday. As well as the chance to try out the bikes and join our ride there will be a Dr Bike session to get your own bike into good shape for the rest of the summer.

See you there!

Crichton Challenge conquered (with bubbles to celebrate)

The day dawned dreich, but the sun appeared in time for the ride start at 2pm. A select group arrived to take on the challenge of The Crichton, a new route for this year.

Enjoying the sunshine before heading off

From the park, busy with bouncy castles and live music at the bandstand, we tackled climb one, up through Castle Dykes Park. We took a little detour down to the quarry garden to admire the recently restored painting and the very new Robert the Bruce statue.  These pieces of art tell the tale of Robert the Bruce’s occupation of the castle that once stood nearby.

Robert the Bruce statue in the old quarry at Castledykes Park

Our little detour did mean an extra hill for the challengers but this was taken in our stride as we ascended all the way to The Crichton. With most of the up hills done it was time for a well earned break. We’ve been carrying out litter picks on our rides but as The Crichton grounds are so well looked after there wasn’t anything for us to do! Instead we enjoyed the sunshine, cakes and some bubble blowing antics in the beautiful surrounds of the rock garden.

Arriving at Kingholm Quay

From our rest stop, we set off for a tour around the Crichton – past the church, Easterbrook Hall, via the college and past the farm. We then enjoyed a long downhill from The Crichton into Kingholm Quay. It was busy on the river, so we stopped to watch the boats going past before the final leg back to the park.

Boats at Kingholm Quay

There was a lot packed in to our 4 mile ride, which just goes to show there is adventure to be found not far from the front door.


Market (and) Garden: A mini cake raid …

Join us for a ride to Dalswinton: Sunday 2nd June starting at 1pm from the Farmer’s Market (in the railway station).

open garden signWe dearly love our food here at Cycling Dumfries – one of the reasons why we love the farmers’ market now it’s in its new location – and we love a bit of rural cycling. And we’re also not averse to a little garden visiting, especially for a good cause (and if there’s the all-important tea on offer)

So we were excited to see that there’s an open garden at Dalswinton Mill on Sunday 2nd June – the same day as the next Farmer’s Market. As we’d talked about combining the market with some sort of a ride, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a mini ‘cake raid’ – a bit less epic than past events – but a chance for people to build up an appetite on the bike and then satisfy it.

So if you’re up for a mini adventure, please join us – we’ll meet at the Farmer’s Market around lunchtime, fortify ourselves with some of the delicious food on offer there, and then head off at 1pm via the Caledonian Cycleway and quiet back roads for Dalswinton.

The ride out will only be about 8 miles, but that should be enough to justify a cup of tea and the odd cake. Depending on what participants want, we could then either return back the same way, or extend the ride out to Auldgirth and return via Dunscore – a route of about 17 miles.


Gearing up for summer: Come to our May meeting!

After a successful Pop-Up Pop protest it’s back to a bit more routine – and  with the summer on its way we have some planning to do. This is a reminder that our regular meetings have resumed and the next one will be on Tuesday 7th May at 6pm in the Coach and Horses to talk about possibilities for the Environment Fair, our summer rides programme, other summer activities (we’re open to suggestions!) plus the usual bike chat.

Please do come along if you can make it – it’s very informal and we’re always happy to see new faces. If you have issues to raise, ideas to share or just want to see what we’re up to, pop along



Get crafty for our Mad Cow Ride!

Pop Dumfries posterIt’s less than two weeks till our Mad Cow Ride – please do sign up online if you’re coming – and preparations are hotting up.  We’ve planned our route and we’re starting to spread the word – and now we’re getting organised with the costumes.

If you want to help out and/or create your own cow costume then come along to our afternoon costume making party on Saturday 20th April (Easter Saturday). We’ll be at Buddies Bike Barn (on Friar’s Vennel) from 1:30 getting crafty with felt, decorating overalls and other things.

We’ll confess now, we’re not 100% sure how to make a cow costume although we have some ideas, so come along with ideas of your own and any supplies you might have that you think might come in useful.

Tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided.

Ride Routes page ready – are you?

If there’s one thing we’ve done a lot of in Cycling Dumfries it’s go on bike rides. We’ve added a ‘Ride Routes’ page to our website to share our favourite rides with you. So if you’re stuck for ideas take at look at the page for some inspiration.

There are a mixture of rides starting at 3 miles and going up to 26 miles. Each ride page gives you a flavour of the ride – how hilly it may be and points of interest to look out for on the way.

summer road ride
The road from Kingholm

Compiling this list has been a great reminder of how fantastic the scenery is in Dumfries and Galloway. Even on a short 3 miler from Dock Park to Kingholm Quay you take in the wild river Nith, detailed old buildings and a braw view of Criffel. Take a longer ride out of toon and you’ll come across historic features covering the last 2000 years. Stone circles, old crannog sites and castles in various states of crumbliness.

All of this set to a backdrop of spectacular scenery and beautiful views, inhabited by some cracking plants and wildlife. Otters, badgers, red squirrels, nightjars, barnacle geese, red kites, osprey, wild garlic, samphire, bluebells, purple hairstreak butterflies . . . And a scattering of lovely tea rooms to top it all off.

We are surrounded by a rich heritage, so what better way to enjoy it than on a bike ride.