To finish off our weekend roundup – we couldn’t relegate Aberdeen and Inverness to just a few lines of our report on Saturday’s events. The organisers in both cities have done an amazing job despite a less co-operative council (in Aberdeen) and a very short time (in Inverness). Even without closed roads, both of our northern PoPs still managed to fill the streets with a huge range of bikes and people on them. We can only hope the effort pays off in real change right across Scotland, not just in the central belt.

So here’s a brief reminder of how we “Pedalled on Parliament” (or on council …) in Aberdeen and Inverness this weekend

Aberdeen

Cyclists at the start in Aberdeen

Cyclists gathering in challenging weather in Aberdeen. Photo by Henri de Ruiter on Flickr

Aberdeen kicked off first, with about 75 people departing from the esplanade in the rain and arriving at Castlegate in glorious sunshine having picked up more on the way! In the end about 100 cyclists, including many families, joined the Aberdeen Cycle Forum who organised the event. This is despite challenging conditions for cycling in Aberdeen! Unfortunately, it was not possible to get agreements to close the roads – which would have meant a bigger turnout and made it possible to take the ride more visibly through the city centre.

Aberdeen ride

Aberdeen rolls – but no closed roads. Photo by Henri de Ruiter on Flickr

Henri De Ruiter, one of the organisers, addressed the crowd briefly “Everyone here should feel encouraged by being part of a wider, national movement with thousands of people riding today and demanding better cycling infrastructure.” Although no politicians addressed the event, the  leader of the council, Jenny Laing, and the finance convener, Willie Young (both Labour party councillors) did turn up, and participants had a chance to talk to them.

POP crowd at Aberdeen

POP Crowd at Aberdeen – Henri de Ruiter on Flickr

Afterwards, the bike racks outside pubs and cafes were full as the crowd showed that encouraging cycling can benefit local businesses!

Inverness

Cyclists taking to the streets of Inverness. All Inverness photos by Phil Hindell, Donald MacColl and John Davidson

Inverness followed shortly afterwards at 11:30 and the city’s streets were packed with riders and walkers as more than 120 people set off from Bellfield Park on a variety of bikes – from kids on their first bikes to recumbents, tricycles, tandems and tagalongs. After crossing the Ness Bridge, the ride made for the riverside near Eden Court where speakers demanded more action on safe cycling in Inverness. Inverness also had a feeder ride from North Kessock and participants came from as far away as John O’Groats.

Children in Inverness

Children at POP Inverness. All Inverness photos by Phil Hindell, Donald MacColl and John Davidson

The crowd was addressed by John Finnie, Highlands and Islands Green MSP, and by Anne Thomas of Transition Black Isle, who both called for greater investment in cycling and walking infrastructure.

Anne Thomas addresses the crowd, with John Finnie (behind) and Brian Mackenzie (in the hat) waiting to speak. All Inverness photos by Phil Hindell, Donald MacColl and John Davidson

Brian Mackenzie, convenor of the Highland Cycle Campaign, told the crowd, “You’ve made history, now it’s time to make the future”, while Mark Falconer, one of the main organisers of the event, told the crowd to contact their local politicians and show how much demand there is for better cycling provision.

 

A spectator greets the demo as it passes in Inverness. All Inverness photos by Phil Hindell, Donald MacColl and John Davidson

Even from John O’Groats they came …