27th July 2022 – We can all dream right? On seeing the rapturous welcome that Jonas Vingegaard has just received on his return home to Denmark after his victory in the thoroughly captivating and tremendously exciting Le Tour de France, with thousands and thousands taking to the streets of Copenhagen to celebrate, we were reminded of the inspiring and thought-provoking vision one of our founders previously gave of what could happen here in the near future.
What if the MANY long overdue, desperately needed, repeatedly promised (by successive Administrations) infrastructure connections and improvements FINALLY made it safer, easier, more connected, more comfortable, more direct and more attractive to get around our wonderful City and Shire by bike?
What if these played a part in helping lead to a local loon or quine embarking on a journey that could lead to them to receiving a similar welcome to Jonas outside the Town House in Aberdeen or outside Inverurie Town Hall or in Saltoun Square, Fraserburgh?
The vision ‘Dreams’ was prepared and delivered by Colin Allanach at our inaugural event ‘Cycling in the North East – Moving Forward Together’ on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at the Sir Ian Wood Building, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen. He said,
“Bear with me please and let me show you into my future. Close your eyes for a minute and I’ll take you there.
It’s a balmy sunny Sunday evening in late July 2040…
- We are all in Paris, on the Champs-Élysées watching local North East Cyclist Dr Angus Milne on the podium to pick up his third Tour de France win (He’s a got a PHD as well as cycling because he listened to his mum and dad and stuck in a school as well as his cycling).
- In his acceptance speech Angus thanks his coaches at Deeside Thistle that got him started, he thanks his Pro team members from “Pedal Power Cycle Centre Inverurie”. He thanks the vision of Aberdeen City for building the Neil Fachie Velodrome at The Aberdeen Sports Village where he spent hours honing his sprint skills. He thanks Aberdeenshire Council for building the cycle race centre at Thainstone where he spent evenings and weekends with teammates learning road racing skills.
- While we listen to the speeches, we can’t believe that only three short weeks ago we watched ‘Le Tour’ start its Prologue Time Trial on the AWPR route. An event described by the international cycling press as “the best cycling event ever”
A lot has happened in recent years.
- The announcement that Durris Hill is to be extended upwards to make the biggest mountain to sea off-road downhill track in Europe.
- The five arterial routes from the shire main towns of Ellon, Inverurie, Westhill, Banchory and Stonehaven linking to and from Aberdeen city have been a huge success. The City centre closure of roads at weekends has opened up the city to throngs of cyclists each weekend guzzling cake and coffee in huge amounts. For the first time in many a year, the city centre is alive.
- Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University have been awarded a 100milion pound grant to continue their research into the beneficial effects on depression and mental health issues by “going for a ride on your bike”.
- The region has just won the Eco-Tourism Awards again for the Cycle Castle Tours, the Cycle Distillery Tours and Cycle Beach Tours.
- The 40-mph speed limit restrictions of the Shire’s unclassified roads introduced way back in 2022 has dramatically reduced the number of car/ lorry related incidents on our back roads.
- Who could have believed that the school attainment figures just broadcast have rocketed since the one-mile car school exclusion zones have been put in place and the “safe route to school” paths have been extended throughout the City and Shire?
- And just today was the announcement in the Press & Journal that the Respiratory Unit at ARI is closing down: not because of lack of Doctor’s but because of lack of patients. And this is likely to be followed closely by closure of the Obesity Clinics.
- And finally, Colin Allanach came out of retirement and finally nailed that sub 1 hour, 25-mile Time trial.
Ok, you can open your eyes now.
It may be fantasy (especially the last bit) but we have to do something to move forward and it’s clear the current setup isn’t working. How do we get from where we are now to a point where at least we have clear communication of planned developments throughout the region?”
Editor’s Note 1: The photo of Angus (back then) is reproduced here with kind permission of his Mummy and Daddy. Angus is a lot bigger and noisier now and, unsurprisingly, loves riding his bike!
Editor’s Note 2: for those of you who know him well, I can confirm that this is the first time Colin, inspiring and thought-provoking have been uttered in the same sentence!