The Committee of Grampian Cycle Partnership was formally constituted on Monday 28th January 2019. To help illustrate who we are, we thought it would be helpful to tell you why we cycle and what cycling locally means to us.
Why do you cycle? I come from a big cycling family so cycling always has been massive part of my life. Rumour has it I was riding before I could walk! I’ve had an interesting relationship with cycling, having been dragged to all sorts of cycling events in the rain as a kid (especially a very wet edition of the Leeds Classic that is burned into my memory!) being teased at school because cycling wasn’t cool and then seeing and being part of the increase in popularity through the successes of British Cycling and others and love how more people have discovered the simple pleasure riding a bike gives.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? I do see this as the start of something bigger, and I am committed to spreading the word to as many people as I can as cycling can help society in so many ways. I moved the North East for work in 2016 and immediately discovered that the perception I had for Aberdeen City & Shire was so far removed from the beautiful scenery, roads & climbs(!) on offer and want to help more people to enjoy this, both those who are local and those who want to choose Aberdeen(shire) and Moray for their holidays because they have heard that the North East of Scotland is the cycling capital of the UK (I can dream!)
On a personal level, I ride for recreation and general well-being, both physically and mentally, I am a HSBC UK British Cycling Level 2 Ride Leader and lead rides in and around Aberdeen under this and for Deeside Thistle Toonsers groups. I raced as a youth and was twice Manchester Velo juvenile champion but those days are long behind me, although I found success as the HSBC UK British Cycling Partnership Volunteer of the year in 2017, which was presented to me by Sir Chris Hoy!
Why do you cycle? Cycling challenges me to push the limits of what I think I can achieve both physically and mentally. Following lengthy periods of ill health, taking the ability to move my body for granted was no longer a luxury I enjoyed and identifying ways to improve and maintain my physical health suddenly became a priority. Starting life as a commuter cyclist reintroduced me into a world of cycling long forgotten and reminded me of the freedom I enjoyed as a teenager and how delicious the independence found on two wheels can be. Much to the amusement of my family, I now (slowly) explore our wee corner of Aberdeenshire at weekends and cycle to increase my confidence, extend the distance I can travel and to push my body further. The mental health benefits associated with physical exercise are well known and I fully subscribe to the belief that cycling is good for the soul! My goals for the coming year are to find the best place for coffee and cake within riding distance of our home and to get over my irrational fear of group rides.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? For me, cycling in the North East means having unfettered access to the rural beauty of Aberdeenshire and to experience the sights, sounds and often smells of the ‘shire at my own pace.
Why do you cycle? Some of my earliest memories involve me and bikes. Although many(!) years have passed since then I love it as much now as I first did. Thanks to my bike(s!), I feel much better, both physically and psychologically. For me, irrespective of the weather, the bike still beats any other form of transport.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? Although admittedly biased as a proud local I consider myself very fortunate to be able, on a daily basis, to ride my bike around some truly wonderful roads, rolling countryside and breath-taking scenery… right here on our doorstep. As well as providing an opportunity/excuse for the occasional coffee and cake, I don’t think there is a better way to see, feel and experience it. I’m particularly passionate about road safety and the importance of us all, irrespective of how we travel, using our roads responsibly and looking out for and respecting each other. Many simply won’t consider taking up cycling as they don’t think it is safe. We desperately need to change that. Having investigated far too many serious and fatal road traffic collisions during my previous policing career, I remain determined to continue to work with others to prevent further tragedies from taking place on our roads.
Why do you cycle? Cycling makes me feel great both physically and mentally. I try to commute everyday as cycling beats sitting in traffic and I actually enjoy travelling to work due to cycling there. I like exploring and the world comes towards me on my bike. Cycling has enabled many friendships for me, and I enjoy Road/MTB cycling with my friends and family. I cannot imagine not being able to cycle when I consider all the benefits that I get from it.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? Cycling in NE Scotland has opened my eyes to how simply riding a bike connects me to the natural world, we have some of the most stunning cycle roads and forestry riding in the UK here in Grampian. There are safe ways to get out of Aberdeen City on a bike away from traffic to our country roads … but it could be better. I hope to see improvements in cycling in Grampian with GCP and partners in coming years. I hope younger generations have better infrastructure to cycle safely than we currently have. Finally I think we need to open up cycling to gain the benefits as a society in Grampian; healthier, happier population with less strain on the NHS, better environment and air due to reduced car use.
Why do you cycle? I cycle for leisure, but it’s also a big part of my social life. The social dimension contributes to the health and fitness aspect of riding a bike – it’s easier when you have company and there is always a little pressure not to be entirely left behind! My biggest cycling love is the exploration of new places – finding a new road and riding along it not really knowing where you are going. I rarely cycle to work, as it’s a one mile walk and there is much to be said for walking to work too.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? Cycling in NE means a true blend of roads that I’ve known all my life, many that I cycled as a teenager in the 1980s and the back-roads that, even today, I don’t always remember where they take me. There are few places where you can ride on roads with so little traffic and such great views.
Why do you cycle? I have always enjoyed cycling. When I was a youth, cycling gave me the opportunity to explore areas in and around Ellon where I lived and was the main means of transport for me to get to friends and school. Cycling was an integral part of my friendship circle. As I got older, cycling became more adventure based, with longer trips and visits to the mountains to get the adrenaline buzz from mountain bike terrain. I enjoyed the challenge of competing against others through cycling as a sport. I joined a cycling club to have a friendship circle of like-minded people. Nowadays, I use cycling more as a way to relax and escape from the normal stresses and strains of life.
Cycling has given me a lot of pleasure over the years and I am more than happy to help with its development for future generations whether through coaching, organisation of events or working with GCP.
What does cycling in the NE mean to you? I have always seen cycling as a way of life, whether that is for commuting, tourism, sport or leisure. NE Scotland offers a huge range of spectacular cycling from the mountains to the west, to the rugged coastlines of the east and north. Cycling here gives you the chance to explore the history and culture of the region or just being able to chat to people you wouldn’t normally interact with while in a car. From the sporting side the area has a large amount of opportunities to compete or take part in, well-organised competitive races, sportives and charity rides. There are events for all fitness levels and every type of bike.