Dec 312014

Mid-Formartine councillor Paul Johnston is backing Green calls for cycling routes in parallel to the A90 from Balmedie.

BikePaulA90web2Local Green campaigner Debra Storr said: “As part of the AWPR and Balmedie-Tipperty dualling, there has been talk of providing an adequate cycle route alongside the A90 into Aberdeen and out to Ellon.

“But there is nothing from either Transport Scotland or in NESTRANS’ latest Business Plan that would start to put infrastructure on the ground.”

“It is time to stop spending money asking people to walk and cycle more and to actually provide the infrastructure needed. 

“There are hundreds of millions of pounds being spent on the AWPR and the Balmedie-Tipperty dualing.  A tiny proportion of that would deliver a safe cycling route.  Cycling into the city will get much worse along the A90 with the two grade-separated junctions at Balmedie and Blackdog being particular hazards.”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“It is clear from NESTRANS’ own monitoring report that their efforts over the past decade have been fruitless with an increase in cycling from 2% to 2.5% modal share in the City called a ‘notable achievement’.  But as they do no monitoring themselves and rely on the local Cycle Forum, even these figures are doubtful.

“The more robust census result show continued drops in people cycling to work with cycling less than 1% and falling.  The current spend on promotion is clearly pointless without the infrastructure on the ground to match.”

Debra Storr continued:

“I asked both Councils about their existing cycling infrastructure in April.  Aberdeen City Council believes it has about 100km of shared cycling/walking paths, 67km of advisory on-road cycle path and a couple of km of off-road and mandatory cycle paths.  Aberdeenshire doesn’t even keep records of this.

“I think this speaks volumes of the priority given to cycling and unless both councils focus on providing cycling infrastructure that people want to use, cycling will remain the preserve of a few very brave souls.  The only way to encourage everyone to cycle more is to make space for cycling and that needs dedicated cycleways that are safe for everyone.”

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Feb 212014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Dons bikeAs the Dons prepare to contest the League Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Celtic Park, supporters who were around at the time of Aberdeen’s last success in that competition will recall the somewhat bizarre prize awarded to the sponsor’s man of the match on the day, midfielder Stephen Glass – the famous, or should that be infamous Coca-Cola mountain bike.

Now, almost 19 years later, the most photographed bike in the history of AFC is going to be raffled, with the proceeds going to the Pittodrie youth development.

Stephen, now residing in the US and coaching the under-14 and under-16 teams at the North Carolina Alliance Academy, explains:

“I still get asked about the bike and what happened to it. It’s actually at my in-laws and Jack, my father-in-law, keeps it in pristine condition. Having come through the Pittodrie youth system myself, I wanted to put something back into the club, particularly as I’m now involved in that area, and donating the bike seemed the obvious choice, particularly with the impending cup final.

“I will be eternally grateful for the grounding the coaches and staff at Pittodrie provided, so hopefully there is an interest to help them continue their work developing more players for the future.”

Stephen’s father-in-law and former Pittodrie season ticket holder Jack McCombie has kept the bike at his house in Montrose since 1995.

“I’ve been round the block on it maybe two or three times and it’s been cleaned regularly so it’s looking good. It’s an important piece of the Club’s history and I’m sure interest in the raffle will be significant.”

AFC Head of Youth Development Neil Simpson is confident that supporters will be eager to get their hands on such an iconic vehicle.

“It’s a fantastic gesture by Stephen and Jack and really appreciated. The picture of Stephen being given the bike in the soaking rain at Hampden is one of the most memorable images of that day and it’s a real opportunity for someone to own something that was very much part of that occasion! Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to invest in the future of AFC and that can only be a positive.”

The raffle for the unique bicycle, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the AFC Heritage Trust, will be limited to 5000 tickets at £5 each. They can be purchased via , clicking ‘donate’ on the home page, after which a unique number will be allocated to each ‘ticket’ purchased. Alternatively, numbers can be purchased at Aberdeen Football Club.

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased up until 23.59 on Thursday 13th March 2014, with the draw taking place at Pittodrie Stadium at 12 noon on Friday 14th March 2014. Details of the winner will be published on the Club website that afternoon.

For info – Dave Macdermid –; 01224 650406; 07710 580148.

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Oct 042013

North East MSP Christian Allard has warmly welcomed Scottish Government funding to improve cycle infrastructure.

Cyclistes Auld Alliance with Christian Allard French born MSPAt Scotland’s first cycle summit in Edinburgh on the 24th of September, Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP described how the £20m will be spent over the next two years.

The funding will provide a significant enhancement to the support the Scottish Government is already offering to local authorities to promote active travel.

The SNP MSP said:

“Like all French people I was born on a bicycle and very much used my bike as a mode of transport in my rural village in Burgundy, France.

“Years ago when the cycling route on the A944 was built, linking my home town of Westhill to Aberdeen I was very sceptical.

“I did not believe that the people in the North East of Scotland were ready to travel by bike. We were, and now the number of commuters is very impressive.

“I am delighted the Scottish Government has made this extra funding available to improve cycling infrastructure.”

The French-born MSP has written to all local authorities in the North East, asking how this extra funding will help them to accelerate future cycle projects.

Mr Allard added:

“Improvements in infrastructure are one of the most important measures in getting people who don’t currently cycle to consider getting out on their bikes.

“I would encourage people to take up cycling and get involved in events like the Auld Alliance bike ride from Edinburgh to France.  I had the privilege to wave them off from Parliament with Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP at the end of August.”

More info:

Transport Scotland announcement:
Auld Alliance Bike ride:

Photo: Christian Allard MSP with cyclists on Auld Alliance Bike Ride

Aug 302013

The latest online bulletin from Aberdeen Cycle Forum (hey, we’re friends, let’s call it ACF) carries items of interest to anyone who’s taken advantage of the warm summer we’ve just enjoyed, to commute, exercise or just trundle a unicycle for leisure through Duthie Park. As their message says, ‘It seems like autumn may be sneaking up on us’. Thanks to ACF.

tourdeeside1 bicyclesAberdeen City Council has succeeded in persuading Pedal for Scotland to bring one of its rides to the city on Sunday 15 September.

It’s a short ride of about four miles around the Beach, and it will be motor traffic-free.

It’s specifically aimed at families or occasional cyclists and there’s a small cost to enter

If Aberdeen and the NE’s cyclists turn out in numbers, there’s every chance that we might see bigger and better Pedal for Scotland events offered here in the future.

The council’s also supporting In Town Without My Car on Sunday 22 September as part of European Mobility Week. ACF will be among several cyclist-interest groups at the event and will have a stall there on the day.  If you’re interested in coming along to help out, and to talk to your fellow Aberdonians on the delights of pedal-powered transportation, you can contact ACF at  We’ll carry the start time in Voice when it’s been confirmed.

There’s welcome news for those city centre two-wheelers, or unicyclists indeed, who stoically suffer jarred wrists and pain to their more delicate parts. The resurfacing of Union Street near Belmont Street, to replace the badly broken-up tarmac, is imminent. The Council has let ACF know that the smooth surface will be extended westwards over Union Bridge.

However, during the resurfacing, planned to take place between 9 and 27 September, the current cycle parking in the area is going to be replaced. New cycle stands have been ordered but may not be in place until mid to late October.  ACF’s website will keep interested cyclists updated.

ACF has been working to identify potential Quality Cycle Corridors for Aberdeen and make them available on the Forum website. The first of these is the Westhill route, in the form of a .PDF outline suggesting what needs to be done to raise standards for cyclists along this major commuter corridor. Comments are invited from anyone interested.

Finally, Facebook users, asks ACF, don’t forget to follow the ACF page. It’s growing fast from a slow start and there are more than 100 Facebookers who now like ACF and get automatic updates as they are posted. One recent post was viewed by over 700 people. There’s also been a significant number of new sign-ups to the Forum mailing list, probably connected to ACF’s increased visibility.

So, goes the plea, ‘Like, share, re-post or whatever, and we will slowly but surely raise the profile of cycling issues in Aberdeen’.

The next ACF monthly meeting is on Tuesday 27 August at 1930 in the Town House on Broad St. New faces are always welcome.

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Jul 262013

Shocked and angered by the deaths of two people on bikes in the space of a week, a group of Edinburgh cyclists has taken action on behalf of all cyclists in Scotland in drawing attention to the latest tragedies. With thanks to Sara Dorman.

Two white-painted ghost bikes were left outside the Scottish Parliament on Monday 22 July to commemorate all eight cyclists including two children already killed in Scotland in 2013.

The number of cyclists killed on Scotland’s roads in 2012 rose to nine from 2011’s seven.
This looks set to rise again in 2013.

Almost as if to illustrate, grotesquely, the protest, just forty minutes after the sombre ceremony at the Parliament building, Mary Brook (59) of Drumnadrochit was killed as she cycled on Loch Ness side, the ninth cyclist to die on Scotland’s road this year.

The Scottish Government has rejected calls made by Pedal on Parliament, public health experts and MSPs to increase spending on cycling infrastructure, including safe, separated cycle tracks, to £20 per head. The recent Cycling Action Plan for Scotland also rejected calls for the implementation of strict liability laws in civil cases, claiming that as road casualty figures were falling overall, there was no case to be made for this change.

Ghost bikes have been used around the world to mark locations of fatal cycle accidents, to act both as memorial and warning. Andy Arthur, a cyclist involved in the Holyrood installation, explained the reasoning behind it.

We feel that the blame for these avoidable deaths must lie as much with the inaction of the Scottish Government as with the drivers concerned. The political leadership in Holyrood have the power and the budgets to do something about the safety of cycling, yet they seem to lack political will.

 “By leaving the memorial in full view of Parliament we hope it will stir our elected representatives into action, or else shame them for their inaction. It emerged spontaneously out of the real anger and hurt we felt at the news of yet another death this week, coming on top of the loss of two members of the Edinburgh Triathletes club in separate crashes this year.’”

Sara Dorman, among the organisers of Pedal on Parliament, said:

Only two months ago 4000 people pedalled on the Scottish Parliament to ask for just £100m a year to make Scotland’s roads safer for everyone, from eight to eighty, to cycle.

“Sadly, this year we’ve seen the death of an eight year old and someone who was almost eighty. Unfortunately, the state of our roads means that deaths are inevitable, as bikes are regularly brought into conflict with fast-moving traffic. Despite the government finding £3bn to dual the A9, supposedly on safety grounds, they’ve told us there’s no money to increase investment in safer cycling and all they’ve suggested is an information campaign urging mutual respect, the sort of campaign which has failed over and over in the past.

“It seems that there’s no sum too large to make the roads safer for driving, but when it comes to the safety of people on bikes, even children, then even the smallest sum is begrudged. We hope that Scotland’s politicians will see these memorials and show real leadership in making cycling safer for everyone.”

A memorial to all cyclists fatally-injured in the last five years was unveiled with the ghost bikes. It reads:

“This Memorial was placed here on July 22nd 2013 by a small group of Edinburgh cyclists; for and on behalf of all cyclists in Scotland. It has been placed here in memory of each cyclist killed on Scotland’s roads in recent years; these were people’s friends and loved ones; husbands and wives, fathers and mothers; sons and daughters; grandparents, aunts and uncles.

“The tally on this memorial shows how deaths amongst cyclists on Scotland’s roads are increasing. In mid-2013, the per-capita death rate for cyclists on Scotland’s roads is 3 times that of London. The Scottish Transport Secretary states that fatalities are down on our roads and that they are safer than ever. This is not the case, and the inaction and denial on the part of the Scottish Government must stop now.

“This Memorial accompanies Ghost Bikes, which have been placed outside the Scottish Parliament so that they are in full view of our elected representatives, who have the power, authority and budgets to do all that it takes to tackle the preventable loss of life on our roads. Ghost Bikes have been used all over the world as a memorial to cyclists who have been killed or severely injured on the road.

“All it takes for people to keep being killed cycling on Scotland’s roads is for our Government to keep doing nothing”

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May 132013

With thanks to Chris Anderson, Marketing and Events Organiser, Grampian Transport Museum.

A high-performance bicycle that belonged to world famous comedian, Billy Connolly is now on display at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford. The loan came about after coverage of another of Billy’s vehicles- his world tour motortrike- appeared in the media at the start of April.
The bicycle is one of the famous ‘Flying Scot’ brand built in Glasgow for many years by David Rattary & Co and thousands of the bicycles were made before production ceased in the early 1980’s.

Billy was gifted his at a young age and cycled for miles on it including over the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ one of Scotland most arduous climbs. The current owner saw the bike advertised on internet auction site, Ebay and successfully bid for it.

Museum curator, Mike Ward, is delighted with the museum’s latest addition.

“We were really pleased when the owner got in touch with us offering a loan of the cycle. It is a fantastic piece of cycle technology and it ties in wonderfully with Billy’s motortrike which is also on display here.”

The addition of the ‘Flying Scot’ comes just a few weeks ahead of ‘CycleFest’ which is being held at the museum on Sunday 19th May. The event will see a variety of youth races as well as the Scottish National Road Race Championship around the Alford area.

The ‘Flying Scot’ is on display in the museum now and features within a chronology of cycling with the 200th anniversary of the bicycle just a few years away.

For more information contact:

Chris Anderson,
Marketing and Events Organiser,
Grampian Transport Museum.

Tel: 019755 64517

Apr 182013

By David Innes.

The weather may not have improved much, but with the NE enjoying fourteen hours of daylight, many hardy commuters and leisure riders are adjusting their derailleurs, looking out the Lycra and getting into a decent pedalling cadence again.

Aberdeen Cycle Forum brings us its latest news.

  • Road scheme update

On road schemes which have been of concern to ACF, it’s a bit of a mixed bag news-wise.

The Council has finally agreed that the missing Advance Stop Boxes at the new signalised junctions on Stronsay Drive and Eday Road/Kings Gate and at the junction near the new Tesco on Rousay Drive should have been installed. They’ve not yet confirmed that all arms of these junctions will have an ASB so it is still possible that there will be some missing.  If you use these junctions please keep us informed.  And if you spot other new signalised junctions without ASBs, let us know.

The Council continues to refuse to widen the narrow section of the Westhill path adjacent to the new Prime 4 development at Kingswells. The Forum wrote to all members of the Development Management sub-committee when they were considering phase 2 of the development, but councillors backed the planners who are giving priority to the narrow tree belt.

Our view is that this section of path is not up to a safe standard although it is expected to serve this major new development.  An upgrade shouldn’t cost the council a penny if it was willing to tap some of the substantial developer contributions available. We will continue to press the case but if this affects you, please write to your councillor.

The straight ahead lane closure from Virginia Street to Guild Street has now been made permanent by the Council.  The Forum has met Council officials and we’ve suggested a demand responsive system at the junction to let cyclists press a button to activate a cycle phase in the traffic signal sequence.

We believe this can be integrated to the existing signals with minor impact on traffic flows.  We’re awaiting a response to a promised investigation by the Council

The Morrisons development at Lang Stracht, where we had serious concerns about the planned new junction, has hit various legal issues. If it is to go ahead, a fresh planning application will have to be submitted and ACF will try again to get a junction design that is cycle-friendly.

Better news is that work upgrading the pavement to shared use, on the north side of Great Northern Road and Auchmill Road, is underway.

A long section of uneven paving slabs is being replaced with tarmac and lining and signing will take place over the coming weeks. Two Toucan crossings have been installed, one to link to the airport path and the other to help cyclists integrate with Great Northern Road near Bank Street.

  • Vulnerable road users

Elsewhere, Cycle Law Scotland is working on Strict Liability for vulnerable road users.  See more about this on our website

  • Heading for Holyrood.

Pedal on Parliament is just over a month away on 19 May at the Meadows, Edinburgh.

POP requests

  • Proper funding for cycling
  • Design cycling into Scotland’s roads
  • Slower speeds where people live, work and play
  • Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
  • Improved road traffic law and enforcement
  • Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
  • A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
  • Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy

We already know of five members of the Forum who intend going – are you? Let us know so we can represent Aberdeen at POP2. See more information at

  • Forum business

This month’s forum meeting on 30 April is the Annual General Meeting.  ACF will meet in its usual location – Committee Room 5 at the Townhouse (use the entrance on Broad Street/Queen Street, but at the earlier time of 19:00 to allow the AGM to finish before the usual Forum business.

Councillor Ross Thomson, who was selected by the Council to be the Cycle Champion, will speak during the AGM as well.  If you only make it to one ACF meeting this year, this would be a good one!

All elected positions are up for the vote, so if you’d like to take on an official Forum position, why not stand for election?  For more information about elected positions in the ACF, you can e-mail the secretary at

As always, let us know if there is anything you see of concern or encouragement regarding cycle infrastructure in Aberdeen.

Encourage your friends to join ACF- it’s easy

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Nov 302012

With thanks to Jenny Oelman.

Aberdeen Sports Village with the support of Hydrasun have a variety of children’s sports clubs and activities, both recreational and competitive.

These will result in more children being active and help Aberdeen produce some future star athletes.

The Sports Village needs your help to contribute in making a snack or meal recipe that will give our young athletes the food they need to compete and be generally active.

A selection of the recipes will be specially selected to feature in their very own book, which will then be sold to schools and the general public.

The two overall winners in each category of primary and secondary aged children will each win a mountain bike.

The competition is open to schoolchildren from P1 to S6.

The closing date for entries is 20th December 2012.

  • Your recipe must have a name or title
  • Aberdeen Sports Village reserves the right to modify the recipe.
  • Mountain bikes will be awarded to one primary aged winner and one secondary aged winner.
  • A number of recipes will be selected to feature in an Aberdeen Sports Village recipe book.
  • Recipes do not have to be original.

Contact Aberdeen Sports Village Linksfield Road, Aberdeen AB24 5RU.

Tel: 01224 438900

Oct 042012

I’ve been known to walk the three and a half miles to Pittodrie.  I have also cycled it. And back.  In the glory days, I often wondered on a Sunday morning how I’d got home the night before.  But even the efforts of The Red Final’s regular erstwhile correspondent LS Pringle, who used to walk to and from Echt to watch the Dons at Pittodrie, compare poorly with an initiative being undertaken by fanatical Red and cycling addict, Kyle Hewitt, writes David Innes.

With thanks to Chris Gavin, Secretary of Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust,

If you’re planning a trip to next Saturday’s match in Kilmarnock the chances are that you’ll travel in the warmth and comfort of a coach or car, or you’ll go by train.  Not so Kyle Hewitt.  Kyle is planning to make the journey a good bit tougher for himself by finding his way from Aberdeen to Rugby Park on his bike.

This young man is a seasoned cyclist – with trips including Land’s End to John O’Groats under his belt – who considers 100 miles to be ‘a wee training run’.

Now Kyle is planning a venture to help raise funds for the Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust by cycling to each SPL ground when the Dons play there this season.

Kyle says:

“I have a tremendous passion for the Dons.  This is growing stronger all the time and I wanted to give something back by promoting and supporting the Trust, a charity close to the club.  

“To do this I’ll spread the word by going to away games on my bike and during my travels encourage, as many members of the Red Army as possible to donate to the Trust in recognition of my efforts.

“Hopefully lots of Dons fans will chip in with donations whilst I am doing the hard work.  Just think of it as buying the Trust a pint!  I would love it if fellow fans can also help publicise the trips and spread the word by taking photos when they see me en route to games and posting them on the internet.  That would be really helpful.”

In a year of high-profile sporting endeavour throughout the UK and most recently across the Atlantic, it’s heartening to see a local sportsman doing his bit for his community by combining his love of football with his passion for cycling to benefit a charity.  This is especially true when that charity is working for the benefit of all Dons’ supporters.

To find out more about Kyle’s sporting ambitions, visit where you will be able to follow Kyle’s routes, the progress of each outing and read his blog.

To find out more about AFC Heritage Trust and to help Kyle with his fundraising, you can tour the Trust’s website, which is packed with information about the Dons, at

The Trust’s home page has a PayPal donation button and whatever you’re able to donate, large or small, will be used to preserve and promote the Dons’ history and their place in the community.  All donations will be very much appreciated and you’re asked to mention Kyle’s name in your transaction.

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Jun 282012

The rain stopped for a while last Sunday, but the sky was suitably overcast to set a sombre mood for the ceremony which installed Aberdeen’s first Ghost Bike. Paul Kohn writes.

A group of around twenty cyclists set off from the beCyCle workshop in Old Aberdeen for the ride down to Garthdee roundabout where the memorial to Milena Gott-Konopacka has been installed.
Milena was knocked off her bicycle by a tanker driver in July 2009, and died eighteen months later in hospital after a long and finally unsuccessful struggle to recover.

Milena, a promising  science student at Aberdeen University,  was 20 when the accident occurred.

The ride from Old Aberdeen to Garthdee was not without its lighter moments: the contrast between Benedikt on the ‘high bike’ and another beCyCler on a recumbent turned quite a few heads on Union Street as we passed. There were some lovely cakes, and the usual great sense of camaraderie that develops when cyclists ride together.

On arrival at Bridge of Dee we were met by Milena’s mother and family. She had come over from Poland for the event, and was visibly grieving but happy to be sharing that grief with some of Milena’s Aberdeen friends. There was a brief but moving ceremony as those present placed flowers on the Ghost Bike.

When I returned to the spot about an hour later, I saw that Milena’s mum had also returned to spend some time alone at the memorial.

All credit to Hannah Krueger and her friends at beCyCle for organising a moving and ultimately highly affirmative event . We were all happy to participate, although we hope that no more Ghost Bikes will be necessary in Aberdeen.