Monday, 27 April 2015

The First Pedal on Aberdeen

2015 is the fourth year of Pedal on Parliament in Edinburgh. Aberdeen Cycle Forum (with the support of the PoP2015 Team) decided to organise their own ride from Hazelhead Park to Marischal College to take place at the same time as the one in Edinburgh.
So I made an early start with my folder on the bus from Inverness.

[Any of the images can be clicked to enlarge.]

I got off the bus 4 hours later at Foresterhill Hospital and cycled up towards Hazelhead Park.
'CAUTION CYCLISTS' was the first sign that I was close to the start. ('Here be dragons!')
Clearly, Aberdeen motorists are not used to seeing cyclists on the road.

The forecast had been for rain but it was a surprisingly sunny day. The chicane barrier reassured me that I was on the right route.

In the distance, I spotted a small group. Not quite the thousands that would be assembled at the Meadows in Edinburgh. But I could see some hi-vis and helmets and a police officer ensuring good order.

It was still 15 minutes before the start and there was a steady stream of newcomers.

As you might expect, there were people of all ages (and a Unicorn) and various trailers and tagalongs.

At noon, we set off sedately, in 4 groups of about 25 as advised by the police.

There was a momentary shambles getting through the chicane but everybody got off to a good start.

A brief stop to take in the traffic at the first roundabout as we turned right into Queen's Road. Just minutes after the start, the groups were merging, breaking up and reforming into new groups.

A (motorcycle) police officer at this point would have been to the benefit and safety of all road users.

On this section of Queen's Road there is a narrow advisory cycle lane. In comparison, the main lane is quite generous. But the cyclists hug the gutter and are reluctant to move  closer to the traffic.

No cycle lane here so it would be reasonable for cyclists to take one of the lanes.
A cyclist on the pavement, a group of cyclists in the inside lane, a line of cars in the outside lane - and a driver that likes to 'tear along the broken line'.
You can see why some would feel safer cycling on the pavement.

A rare 'Cycle event' sign. (Looks a bit non-compliant.)
Queen's Road and Union Street have many brief sections of bus, cycle and taxi lanes that only apply during rush hours.
This one extends a little before and after the bus shelter.

Another stop to view the traffic as we prepare to cross the roundabout at Anderson Drive (aka A90) dual carriageway.
And another missed opportunity where (motorcycle) police officers could have briefly directed traffic so that the riders could cross safely.

This group was quite near the front and had reached a noticeable size by the time we were preparing to turn the bend into Union Street.

The weather was holding out and there were plenty people out on the streets. A man on the pavement thought it worthwhile to take a video.

         Arriving at Marischal College.

A chance to meet with other riders and those who had just gone directly to Marischal College.

I heard an estimated number of 125.

Committee Members from Aberdeen Cycle Forum (ACF) took the opportunity to speak to local politicians.
(There were some Aberdeen Councillors present but I didn't manage to get any pictures.)

Anne Begg DBE (Aberdeen South incumbent Labour MP)
talking with Gavin Clark (ACF).

Ross Thomson (Aberdeen South Conservative candidate)
talking with Jyll Skinner (ACF).

The weather remained a bit cold but sunny. People had time to meet and talk together.
It was a very enjoyable and friendly atmosphere to relax in.

  It was a great pity that there were no speeches as they have in Edinburgh.
This meant that assembling at Marischal College had no proper focus.
I felt that, at the very least, someone should have led a cheer.
People stayed there for a while and then gradually drifted away.
No doubt it could have been better, but nothing went wrong and everyone had a good time.

Your comments are welcome.

1 comment:

Colin said...

The blog post captures the ride nicely - enjoyable and (briefly) a little empowering.
My daily commute includes this route and Saturday felt different.
It's kind of how I imagine cycling in Holland or Denmark. The sheer number of cyclists giving us confidence whilst forcing drivers to think bike and drive with respect.
Some speeches or a cheer would have been nice but it was a very positive event. Hopefully next year's will be even bigger and louder.