Spotlight on a cyclist: Fiona McDonald

  1. What is your name, where are you from and how long have you been in Aberdeen (if not local)?

My name is Fiona, I grew up in Scarborough in North Yorkshire which was a great place to cycle. Small enough to get around easily on a bike and with lovely countryside. I’ve been in Aberdeen for nearly 17 years now.

  1. How did you get into cycling?

My Dad was very enthusiastic about early mountain biking and took us on some adventurous family holidays exploring off-road routes across Scotland. I loved the fact that my bike gave me independence for getting about and I was already cycling regularly as a teenager although not to school as I lived so close it was easier to walk. When I left to go to Nottingham University I used my bike a lot and was introduced to busy city centre cycling by a good friend who had grown up in inner London and had absolutely no fear of the 3 lane traffic jams!

  1. What kind of cycling do you do?

Most of my cycling is short trips, my work commute, going to local shops and accompanying my daughters to activities. I also occasionally enjoy mountain biking, longer road trips and family cycle trips.

  1. What type of cycle do you use?

I have a hybrid bike which I use almost every day. I’ve also got a road bike and an old Stuntjumper full suspension mountain bike which I still treasure as I rode it when I competed in the Transalp multi-stage mountain bike race many years ago which was an amazing experience.

  1. Where do you cycle usually/any favourite routes? How often?

My work commute to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is my regular route – only about 20 minutes passing through some busier and quieter streets of the west end. We’re lucky to live close to the Deeside line which I’ve really appreciated for family cycle rides as my girls have grown up. In the summer of 2020 my girls and I cycled back from Ballater to our house over 2 days which was a great little adventure. I also enjoy cycling through Hazlehead and up to Countesswells Woods.

  1. What would you like to see to improve your cycling experience?

I’ve been cycling for a long time so I’m quite happy navigating Aberdeen streets but it’s not so appealing for new cyclists or younger riders. I’d like to see safe cycle routes that everyone can use to connect the city centre to the suburbs so that many more people can leave their car at home for short journeys and enjoy cycling around the town. I’d like to feel that I can encourage my daughters to cycle into town but at present Union Street and surrounding streets are really not well designed for safe cycling.

  1. Any top tips for someone considering cycling in the area?

Try out the Deeside line if you live in the west end. It can be busy at times and you need to be careful around dogs and children but you will soon reach the leafier suburbs and get some lovely views along Deeside. Look for quieter streets when you’re planning your route and ask friends who cycle for their tips on how best to get from A to B.

One thought on “Spotlight on a cyclist: Fiona McDonald

  1. Very interesting read, seems similar to my experience cycling in Cork, it’s not the worst for cycling, but it is bad enough to put off newer cyclists, very little proper infrastructure. We’ve got several cycle lanes that are only ten metres long!


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