Undeterred by a foggy start, people arrived at the Meadows and joined the long queue of cyclists, which snaked right round the meadows path and off into the distance. After a minute’s silence at 3pm, the group sprang to life with the ringing of bells, which also marked the start of our slow pedaling, en masse, down the Royal Mile. World champion cyclist Graeme Obree was up front and he led the group, approximately 4000 strong, to the Scottish Parliament.
It took quite a long time for everyone to make their way to Holyrood and I was pleased to see that this little cyclist was the last one to arrive; the image of two police officers, a parent and one small child on a bike cycling down a car-free road is the perfect example of the simple message that the grassroots Pedal on Parliament campaign had for the Scottish Government: “we are everyone.”
Speaking to the crowd, one of the organisers David Brennan said:
“We aren’t ‘cyclists’, we’re everyone – from the mum taking her children to nursery to the road cyclist doing 100k at the weekend. But we’re also the kids in the back of the car looking wistfully out of the window because their parents can’t risk them riding to school, the people who drive to the gym to ride on stationary bikes because the roads are too fast and busy. There’s a real hunger out there for conditions where everyone can ride, from 8 to 80 and we’re calling on the Scottish government to make the investment to make that a reality. We need a step change in funding.”
I agree, one of the brilliant things about the ride on Sunday was that there was such a diverse mix of people out on their bikes. From very tall to pretty small, from young to old and everything in between.
It was a diverse group of people, who simply share some common values and the ability to see that adding a bike to their life (in some little or big way) makes sense. Although, they also recognise that there is a need to improve conditions for cyclists on Scotland’s roads and encourage more people to take to their bikes. It is inspiring to see what the small organising group behind this grassroots campaign achieved on Sunday and to see the support that exists from people in Scotland for Pedal on Parliament’s eight-point manifesto, which calls for more investment in cycling, slower speeds, and better facilities for cyclists on Scotland’s roads.
All images © Hazler_06