3rd May 2012

Pedal On Parliament

I was one of thousands of cyclists who Pedalled on the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 28 April.

It was a truly uplifting occasion.

Over the years I have demonstrated against (what I considered to be) injustice – apartheid, the poll tax, hands off Hibs….

In contrast, on Saturday we were campaigning for something – the creation of the kind of cycling infrastructure that is taken for granted in more enlightened northern European cities.

This gathering was about persuading our legislators that cycle-friendly streetscapes can make life safer and pleasanter for everyone.

What really impressed about Saturday’s Pedal on Parliament was its inclusiveness.

Every age and tribe of the cycling species was represented. Mustachioed men in tweed; families with kids on tandems and trailer bikes; Mamils (middle aged men in lycra) in racing regalia; proportionally more women on bikes than I’ve ever seen this side of a Breeze ride; (recum)bent cyclists and straights; polo cyclists with spoke-protecting discs; people dressed up in tartan for the occasion; the majority dressed down as cyclists generally do; groups who had cycled through from Glasgow; trainloads from Aberdeen; cyclists in helmets; riders in fancy hats; yellow-jacketed riders and bicyclists in black: we were all united in a common cause.

Colleagues from our Bruntsfield shop nipped down to the ride-start at The Meadows armed with track pumps to offer free air. To celebrate the fact that the sun was out and the rain stayed off, we gave away hundreds of soluble hydration lozenges. Apologies if you didn’t get one. We, like most people, had reckoned on a few hundred turning up, not the thousands who actually made the effort.

The police, many of them on bikes, helped ensure safe passage along George IV Bridge and down the Royal Mile to Parliament. The vibes were friendly. Well-kent faces were clocked. New contacts were made.

Even if you didn’t Pedal On Parliament you can still visit the website to read the official report, see many more pics and, most important of all, sign the petition calling on MSPs and councillors to Make Scotland a Cycle-Friendly Nation.

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