News Release from Transport Scotland:
Free weekend long festival 8-9 September gathering pace
Record-breaking endurance cyclist, Mark Beaumont is urging people of all ages and abilities to experience cycling on the new AWPR at the upcoming GoNorthEast Road Festival.
The Scottish cyclist, who recently smashed the 18,000 mile circumnavigation cycling World Record in 78 days and 14 hours, is in Aberdeen today (Wednesday, August 29) to talk about how the new route will be of benefit to cyclists and the community festival taking place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.
The free, weekend-long festival will bring the community together to celebrate the transformational Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project in advance of its eagerly-awaited opening.
As part of the planned celebrations, the GoNorthEast Road Festival will offer visitors the chance to cycle and walk along a picturesque part of the new road in the Dee Valley, including crossing a new bridge over the River Dee.
People of all ages and abilities can take part in ‘Borrow a Bike’ throughout the weekend, which will see around 200 bicycles, including electric bikes, and safety gear offered to participants to travel their choice of distance along a closed 4km loop on the road.
In addition, people can register for the GNE Cycle Experience which offers 1,500 cyclists the chance to complete an 18km closed-road loop on the new AWPR on the morning of Sunday 9 September, using their own bikes.
Mark said: “The GoNorthEast Road Festival is a great opportunity for the local community to get together and celebrate this amazing infrastructure project which is going to hugely improve journeys for people in the North-east.
“I’m very pleased to show my support for this brilliant event which will bring the community together and is an opportunity for cyclists of all ages and abilities.”
In addition to cycling around the world twice in his career, the 35-year-old adventurer has also cycled the length of the Americas and Africa. His epic documentaries have taken viewers to over 100 countries, into the Arctic, the high mountains and around the Commonwealth, also surviving capsize in the mid-Atlantic.
Mark added: “The AWPR is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe, and I have been very aware of its progress over the years. This project will change the lives of people who live in the North-east and help improve air quality for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Derick Murray, Director of Nestrans, the region’s transport partnership, said: “We believe that the AWPR is a major contributor towards a more sustainable transport strategy for the North-east and we’ve been a long-term promoter of the project.
“The AWPR will help free up Anderson Drive and the city centre to enable smoother, faster and more reliable bus services and access to Park and Choose sites. From an environmental standpoint, nose to tail traffic creates much more pollution, whereas free-flowing traffic generates lower carbon emissions, improving our air quality in and around the city.”
Visitors can also experience the history of travel in the North-east with an outdoor exhibition from Grampian Transport Museum as well as international street theatre performers and arts and crafts stalls with activities for children available throughout the weekend.
The free event, which is the first community festival held on a major new road project in Scotland, will be located on the new road in the River Dee valley on the boundary between Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.
For safety and security reasons, the only way to access the festival site is by using the free Shuttle Bus service provided by official transport partner Stagecoach. This service will operate from two locations at Union Terrace and Kingswells Park & Ride.
Further shuttle buses will be available from Craibstone for cyclists who have completed the GNE Cycle Experience and wish to visit the festival on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Organisers are asking cyclists to pre-book their preferred travel times to ensure demand is spread across the full weekend (links to booking service below).
Those who choose not to book their journeys in advance will be allocated a shuttle on a first-come-first-served basis and may have to wait for a bus which has capacity. If demand is high, those who do not book a seat cannot be guaranteed a seat.