The horrors and dangers of heavy traffic, careless driving and exhaust tumes on the roads, mean that recreational cycling on the country’s main road networks is a thing of the past. While punchy cycling on busy city routes can be fun, there is no joy to be had in being overtaken at 90 mph on the open speedway by an endless stream of cars. In recent years it has become increasingly obvious that cycleways are the answer.
It goes against the grain to thank Dr Beeching for anything, but his legacy of disused railway lines has been a giftto the campaigners for better oft-highway cycling lacilities. Railway lines make excellent cycle routes: they have gentle gradients and cross over or under busy roads. The potential fora network of pleasant open spaces for cyclists and pedestrians is vast. In Glasgow and Edinburgh that potential is being reansed.
The new Glasgow to Loch Lomond Cycleway (see map) is merely the latest and longest of a growing network of cycleways in Central Scotland. Sustainable Transport (Sustrans) in conjunction with local cycle campaigns has provided the administrative base for the construction programme. Set up in 1979, Sustrans is now a charity which
Mon—Sat i).30am—5.30pm (1pm Wed, 5pm Sat ) Closed 1- 2pm. Longest-established bike shop in Edinburgh. and the city‘s second Raleigh dealer. selling everything from kids' bikes to top quality racers. Range of biking accessories and some cycle clothing. Repairs (booking not usually necessary)
I The Secondhand Bike Shop 31 Iona Street. 553 1130. Mon—Sat.9am—6pm. Wide range of secondhand bikes starting at about £30 for an old black sit-up-and-beg. New bikes: Emmelle and l'niversal. Repairs.
I Robin Williamson 2611amilton Place. 225 3286. Mon—Sat.9am-5.30pm;Thurs 9.30am--7pm. Mountain bike specialists (Saracen. Muddy Fox. Cannondale) also selling Dawes. Peugeot and theirown range of touring bikes. Repairs(booking may be necessary).
Glasgow I Tor~Toys 181 Clarkston Road, 637 2439.
jOI N SPOKES (The Lothian Cycling Campaign) for fun rides and events and help make Edinburgh the cycling city
SAE to 13 Lochrin Place Edinburgh EH3 for our latest leaflet
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organises finance (lrom local and national government) and labour (voluntary or MSC funded) for the projects. With railway paths now more or less linking Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Dalkeith and Haddlngton; work well underway on a route from Glasgow to Irvine; and plans for routes from Stirling to Dunlermline and St Andrews to Leuchars, amongst others; pleasant cycling both within and between Scotland’s towns is once again a reality.
Details of Sustrans projects available from Sustrans, 53 Cochrane Street, Glasgow Gt 181.. 041 552 8241. Spokes publish a series of Factsheets showing cycle routes in the Lothians. (Julie Morrice)
(Hours as above) All kinds of bikes for hire at £3 a day. £15 a week.
I Central Cycle Hire 13 Lochrin Place. Tollcross, 228 6333. Mon—Thurs. 10am—5pm; Fri—Sun. 9am—7pm; or by arrangement. Discover the delights of touring or try out a mountain bike fora day. Big. brand new shop with 50 bikeson hire from £4 a day (£20 deposit). Bains Bikes. doing spares. fast repairs and selling reconditioned bikes shares the premises.
I The Secondhand Bike Shop 31 iona Street. 553 1130. Mon—Sat 9am—6pm. Straightforward 3-speeds (£4 a day) to touring bikes (£7) and mountain bikes (£9). Cheaper weekly rates.
I Sandy Gilchrist l Cadzow Place, Abbeyhill. 652 1760. Mon—Sat (closed Wed), 9am—5.30pm(7pm Thurs). 3.5 and 10-spced bikes from £5 a day (£30 deposit). Cheaper weekly and monthly rates.
CLUBS AND ORGANISATIONS
I Cyclists' Touring Club Cotterell House. 69 Meadrow, Godalming. Surrey, (04868) 7217. Britain‘s national cyclists‘ association offering advice and support of all kinds. Members can call on a vast library of touring information. detailed technical advice, and a cyclists‘ rights network. The CTC also offer free legal aid and good, reasonably priced insurance. Membership £15 per annum.
I Spokes, The Lothian Cycle Campaign, 13 Lochrin Place. Edinburgh. ()31 447 7554. Membership by donation (average £4.50).
I Glasgow Cycling Campaign c/o Sustrans. 53 Cochrane Street. Glasgow.
I Glasgow Mountain Bike Club c/o Clarkston Cycle Centre, 681 Clarkston Road, Glsagow, 041 633 1152. Runs organised for most Sundays. Wild stuff and calmer runs on forest trails.
I Scottish Mountain Bike Club The club
organise weekend trips all over Scotland and are also concerned with rights of access to open spaces. Membership costs £4. Details from Mike Earrey. 261«1owe Street. Edinburgh. 031 225 2701 (daytime).
I Edinburgh Triathlon Club For those fit or daft enough to enjoy swimming. cycling and running in quick succession. Contact Andrew Grant. Wester llailes Education Centre. 5 Murrayburn Drive. Edinburgh.
I National Bike Week 11—19Junc. Local clubs have organised special rides and events during this week. Contact individual clubs for details.
I Clyde Ride Sun 12 June. A 20:40 58 mile bike ride along the new Glasgow to Loch Lomond cycleway. Starting at the Glasgow Garden Festival. the route goes via either llelcnsburgh or the Vale of Leven and ends at Loch Lomond. The ride is in aid of Disability Scotland and is organised jointly by them and the Glasgow Cycling Campaign. Participants should meet at the Brand Street office of the Garden Festival before 9.15am. Details from Disability Scotland. ()31 229 8632.
I Edinburgh to St Andrews Cycle Ride Sat 25 June. Starting at 8.45am from Regent Road at the east end of Princes Street. this is the high point on Edinburgh cyclists' social calendar. Well-organised. suitable for nearly all standards ofcyclist and it raises money for Lepra. Details from Lepra on 031 557 1013.
I Spokes Day and Weekend Rides Day rides are gentle potters of 20—40 miles round the Lothians. Weekends are based in Youth Hostels. cover 40 odd miles aday and often start with a train journey. Details of runs throughout the summer from Shane 031 229 1962.
I Cyclists Touring Club Runs The local branches ofthe (.“I'C organise regular day and afternoon runs for both potterers and speed merchants. Details from: Lothians. Jack Murdoch (131 332 5265. Strathclydc. Nimmo Dickson 041 776 4323.
" H r " ""‘l*'“£' "ﬁ- “1"9810‘! - "’1’." "a r K . _ ‘ 3.9/31‘11‘J‘Etﬁig“ , L _ ‘ét‘ﬁgf‘j ' ' II f U '. I:
.; V .‘ ‘ , ‘ i — ~‘:1l.'.‘(.‘3."b_”,;_i.fd~“‘ J f -, a ‘ .‘ ‘ ountaln Bike Club Pentlands run. 25 June. Trials, obstacle courses. thrills and spills. Details from Mike Earrey 031 225 2701.
I Rockhopper North 7 Aug. Scenic cycling for mountain bikers (route to be decided). Details from Edinburgh Bike Co-op, ()31 228 1368.
I Cyclists‘ Map of Edinburgh The Edinburgh area deciphered for the two-wheeled. showing quiet roads. official cycle paths. cobbles, steep hills etc. £1 .50 from Spokes or £2 including Spokes‘ Edinburgh for Cyclists guide. Also from bike shops and bookshops.
I New Cyclist A brand new ‘different‘ quarterly magazine for all cyclists. New Cyclist promises real journalism on the issues affecting cyclists. including women. and no glossy fashion pages. Subscription only. £7 for four issues from NewCyclist. 14 St Clement's Grove. York. 0904 20606. I Richard's Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine. (Pan £3.95) The thinking bicycle person's guide to putting your bike back together after you‘ve taken it to bits. Invaluable.
I The CTC Route Guide to Cycling in Britain and Ireland by Christa Gaudsen and Nicholas Crane. (Penguin £4.50) 365 cycle routes covering both countries and linking up into as long or short a touring holiday as you want. Wide research by the authors and (TC members guarantees well-tried routes on quiet roads and easy accessto places of interest. although the scope is too large to allow much detail on each
I Cyclists Britain (Pan/Ordnance Survey £5.95) Ilandy guide for use on the move. Clear maps of selected cycle routes around scenic Britain. and a host ofuseful information.
I 1988 Tour de France Phil Liggett. (Harrap £9.95) A picture-filled book telling everything there is to know about the history. the tactics. the machinesand the competitors in the greatest. most gruelling cycle race in the world.
POLITICS OF THE BIKE
Since the GLC's twenty-strong cycle team got on its collective bike, local government throughout the country has had very few staff looking after the needs of the cyclist. Lothian Region's appointment nine months ago of a three-strong cycle team makes them one of the leading authorities in Britain for planning and provision for cyclists. The cycle team represents a major achievement on the part ot Spokes, the Edinburgh Cycle Campaign, who torthe past ten years have lobbied for improved facilities for the cyclist. With a membership of about five hundred, Spokes have kept up a constant stream of letters to councillors and otficials and must take a great deal of the credit forthe high profile and improved image which cycling now enjoys in Edinburgh. Although the irate pedestrian on the Meadows cycle path is not entirely a thing of the past, there has been a general recognition that facilities for cyclists can also benefit pedestrians, suggests Dave du Feu of Spokes. Cycle paths in town mean more and safer crossings on busy roads, and the creation of out-ot-town cycleways has opened up places for country walking which were previously only accessible
to explorers. Two-thirds of the users of cycleways are now pedestrians.
‘Compared to most other cities, Edinburgh has a rosy future’ says Dave du Feu. Spokes’ non-party political stance means that their achievements should not be eroded by a change in local power, and their active membership will ensure that cycling retains its position on committee agendas. ‘We can generate a lot of letters if we need to,’ says du Feu. ‘People do feel very strongly about it. The roads are dominated by danger and pedestrians and cyclists are a second class category. It takes a very definite effort to change the natural domination of the motor car.’ (Julie Morrice)
54 The List 10— 23 June 1988