North-east cycling conference puts new partnership into gear

Lucy Johnston2018, News

Around 150 keen and budding cyclists gathered together in Aberdeen on Wednesday (Wed, Sep 26) evening to discuss the development of a new group which will represent cycling interests across Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Organised by Nestrans and hosted at RGU, the event, “Cycling in the North East – Moving Forward Together” brought together the area’s cycling community to give a collective voice for all cyclists.

The evening featured presentations from organisations including national cycling charities Sustrans Scotland and Cycling UK; Police Scotland, and Aberdeen cycle campaigner Rachel Martin. There was also feedback from the recent cycling survey (run by Nestrans and Robert Gordon University), as well as an open discussion on key issues for cyclists in the region.

The event concluded with the creation of the new ‘Grampian Cycle Partnership’, which, for the first time, forms a single umbrella group to represent all cyclists across the North east. The new group will work proactively and in partnership with the local authorities and national organisations to help improve facilities and infrastructure for cycling in the area.

Event organiser Jon Barron, Cycling Development Officer at Nestrans, said: “The attendance at the event last night was testament to the level of interest and enthusiasm from our local cyclists. There are a lot of passionate and committed riders out there who want to work to see improvements for cycling in our area; whether that’s for commuting, sport, leisure or tourism.

“There is already a great deal of good work being carried out locally by some of the existing groups, but I knew from my discussions with them that this could be further strengthened by pooling that knowledge, skill and experience together more effectively. It also gives a comprehensive source of reference and consultees for the local authorities in relation to cycling projects.”

Among those who stepped forward to become Committee members of Grampian Cycle Partnership are Josefine Bjorkqvist and Tom Collier.

Josefine said: “I think there is lots to be positive about. In terms of investing in cycling, it is really important for this, and future generations that we invest wisely and plan effectively. The number of people in attendance at this event, while really impressive, demonstrates the interest that exists locally.”

Tom added: “Like Josefine, I was excited when I first heard of the proposal to create this organisation and also wanted to get involved at the outset. After listening to some really interesting and thought-provoking presentations I was even more convinced that I should come on board.”

The first full meeting of Grampian Cycle Partnership is planned to take place within the next month, at which it is hoped to form a committee and those keen to learn more and become involved should email or follow them on Twitter @GCP_JustGoRide or via the Grampian Cycle Partnership Facebook page.