A vision for Market Street

Last year the Aberdeen Cycle Forum got some funding to create two visualisations of streets in Aberdeen with a cycle path. It costs a lot of money to create these visualisations and so we wanted to choose two streets that, if they had a segregated cycle path, would have a huge and positive impact on cycling in Aberdeen.

We chose King Street for the first one and the release of that image gave the impetus for a successful campaign which sent hundreds of postcards to the city council. The city council even included our visualisation in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP).

Today we are officially releasing our second visualisation which is for Market Street.

We felt Market Street was important because we repeatedly get feedback from cyclists that it’s unsafe to use. It’s a key corridor between Torry and the city centre and provides a link to the train station and Union Square. It also gets a lot of HGVs which are particularly dangerous for cyclists. For this reason a bike path on Market Street is essential if Aberdeen is to become a cycling city. The street is certainly wide enough for a bike path. In the visualisation we’ve taken one lane away from private motor vehicles and split it in half for a bike path on either side.

Bike paths on Market Street, Union Street, and King Street would provide a safe corridor for active travel from Torry all the way to the Bridge of Don – in just three streets. It could connect the train station with the University of Aberdeen, Union Square with the city centre, Torry with the Aberdeen Sports Village and so much more.

As part of our campaign for Market Street we’ve got hundreds of postcards addressed to the city council. Please grab one, sign it (add your address if you want a reply), put a stamp on it, then post it. You can pick one up from Newton Dee, Foodstory Café, or Nature’s Larder. If anyone would like to help distribute them then please get in touch with Rachel (rachelmmartin@gmail.com).

The winners are …

We announced the winners of our Best in Cycling Awards for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at the Belmont Filmhouse on Tuesday evening this week. It was a terrific turnout and wonderful to see so many different people and organisations working hard to improve conditions for cyclists. Big thanks to everyone involved and a big congratulations to all the winners and nominees. There are lots of fantastic initiatives happening and it was a difficult choice for the judges.

Best Business

Bike Remedy, Stonehaven

“Bike Remedy Stonehaven is a friendly locally-owned and run bike shop who give an excellent service.When I bought a bike from them last year they couldn’t have been more helpful. I’ve also used their workshop a couple of times and been pleased with the results.They are supportive of local clubs and provide a free bike doctor at the Mid-summer Beer festival Sportive. I think they also support other local chairty rides such as the Tour de Catterline.”

Best Employer

The University of Aberdeen

“The University of Aberdeen has shown commitment to all forms of active travel and is particularly keen on encouraging cycling.They have run various events and projects this year to support cyclists and help more people to take it up. Cycling features heavily in the Sustainable Travel Plan and they work closely with beCyCle, a bike library and workshop that is hosted on campus, to support our university community to gain access to bicycles and confidence-boosting cycle training.This year both the university and beCyCle worked to lend out more than 200 bicycles to students and staff at the university.
The University has also organised a ‘Lock it or Lose it campaign’ to deter bike thieves and encourage secure locking of bicycles. In the past, we have given away free ‘Sold Secure’ locks and cycle helmets at its ‘Bike Safety & Security’ events with Grampian Police and provided a competitive cycle to work scheme for staff.
The university has also successfully been awarded numerous cycling grants and has used this fund to promote cycling by offering more than 50 Dr. Bike sessions to staff and students, and more than 10 inclusive cycling sessions, weekly led rides and finally set up an eBike fleet for their staff to use.”

Best New Cycle Infrastructure

Deeside Way

“Deeside Way is an absolute treasure! It’s long, reasonably flat, passes beautiful scenery and landscapes, and the council recently removed some problem tree roots so the surface is very good.”

Best Public Cycle Parking

ASV Aquatics

“Leaving my darling bike outside can be difficult sometimes, but I really appreciate the cycle parking facilities at the ASV aquatics centre. It’s convenient enough to the door, it’s sheltered for rainy days, and there are comforting signs about CCTV monitoring. There are always lots of bikes there, too, so I know that while I’m in the pool, my bike is going to have a great time with its many bicycle friends. “

Best School

Hazlehead Academy

“I think that Hazlehead Academy is a great cycle-friendly school and nominate it for the school award.
Firstly, Hazlehead Academy was recognised as Aberdeen’s first Cycle Friendly Secondary School by Cycling Scotland. back in 2016. In addition to being an Eco-School with a recognised focus on encouraging active travel choices to get to school, it also sits in a great geographic location with a catchment area that has allowed pupils to have the choice to safely and easily cycle to school. As well as having the highest percentage of pupils cycling to school in the city, they also support”

Cycle Hero

Shaun Powell

“Shaun is an absolute storm of a man who has ridden up and down Aberdeen and shire setting up so many wonderful cycling projects and pop- ups. He has worked (often single-handedly) to improve cycling for the most vulnerable in our communities.This year Shaun has worked to set up an inclusive cycle hub in Peterhead and Moray, whilst working on setting up an inclusive cycle hub in Seaton Park. He has also run pop up sessions with inclusive bicycles at Seaton Park, Newton Dee, University of Aberdeen and various other locations. I truly believe this man is a hero! “

The Cycle Raspberry

Every dashed white line pretending to be a cycle path

And a group shot with the winners:

Reclaim the Streets 2020

When: May 3rd 2020 from 11am – 1pm
Where: Aberdeen central city (see map below for circuit with closed roads)

Supported by



The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is organising a car-free event in the centre of Aberdeen on 3rd May 2020 from 11am – 1pm. We are planning to close a circuit in the centre of Aberdeen covering Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Back Wynd, Little Belmont, Belmont. See the map below:

There will also be adult cycling lessons and a Dr Bike. The adult cycling lessons will be split into two groups: absolute beginners and people who can already ride a bike but who want to develop confidence cycling on the roads. Electric Bikes Scotland is coming along to show their electric bicycles; Angus Cycle Hub will be there with bikes for people to ride (if you’re unable to bring one) as well as a fleet of crazy bikes; Grampian Disability Sport will have their adapted bikes for people to try.

Here’s what we hope to achieve with this event:

  1. We want to show people what Aberdeen could be like without cars and how pleasant it is to walk and visit shops and cafés in the city centre without the noise and air pollution that accompanies motor vehicles.
  2. Encourage people to take up cycling by providing cycling lessons and a Dr Bike which is where you can take your bike for a health check.
  3. Apply political pressure for cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen. One of the biggest barriers to cycling is the perception that it’s unsafe. People are afraid to cycle alongside cars, trucks, and buses and the only way to see real increases in the number of people choosing bikes over cars is to build the infrastructure.
  4. Make transport inclusive. Women and children are underrepresented as cyclists because of the perceptions of safety. By providing a safe space in the centre of Aberdeen we want to encourage cycling for everyone – women, children, men, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  5. Air pollution in the city centre will be lower during the event due to the absence of polluting motor vehicles. This will promote health and wellbeing as well as improving the ambience in the city centre for shoppers.

To run this event we need your help. The city council charges £850 for a temporary traffic restriction order and £1,471.10 for traffic management making a total of £2,321.10. We have asked the council in previous years to waive this fee when we’ve run Pedal on Parliament but they will not. We’ve also asked them to run their own car-free day regularly. Although they organise In Town Without My Car Day once a year, cyclists are not allowed to cycle on the car-free streets and all the diesel generators at their event make it unclear whether there are any air quality benefits. We think car-free days should encourage cycling, not discourage it.

Please help us by donating to our JustGiving page – Reclaim the Streets. If 500 people donate £5 then we’d have more than enough.

Cycling lessons for adults

We’re very pleased to announce that the Aberdeen Cycle Forum has received funding from Cycling UK to run some cycling lessons for adults. These will be held in the morning on Saturday 28th September from 9am – 12pm.

We’ll run two sessions in parallel – one for absolute beginners who have never ridden a bike before and another for people who know how to ride but haven’t ridden for a long time and want to brush up on their skills. A bikeability instructor from Adventure Aberdeen will be taking the lessons along with one of our own members, Nathan Gore, who is a bikeability volunteer.

Get your tickets online but hurry because places are limited. It’s completely free thanks to Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival!

9:00 – 10:30am Beginner cycling 1
9:00 – 10:30am Cycling refresher 1

10:30am – 12:00pm Beginner cycling 2
10:30am – 12:00pm Cycling refresher 2

Annual cycle count results out

An annual roadside count of commuting cyclists has been carried out by Aberdeen Cycle Forum volunteers for more than 10 years. The count takes place during morning commuting time at 16 locations across the city.

Almost 1,000 cyclists were counted but numbers are fairly static in comparison with previous years and there is no sign of the significant upward trend that campaigners would like to see and which is now happening in many other cities. Indeed numbers are 20% lower this year when compared with a peak in 2016. Two of the three top results are for Aberdeen’s traffic-free routes on the Deeside Way and the ‘Shell’ path near Abbotswell Road.

Also, as in previous years, the proportion of female cyclists is only one fifth of the total which is significant because female riders are thought to be more risk-averse. This reinforces the idea that many people feel the city’s streets are currently too dangerous to cycle on because of the volume and speed of traffic.

There is a strong case for investing in high-quality segregated routes for cyclists and experience elsewhere has shown that the return in public benefits is at least £5 for every £1 invested. However routes need to be properly designed and route priorities carefully selected.  The count data shows that some of Aberdeen’s recent investment in segregated routes such as on the Riverside, Ellon Road, and the Jubilee Bridge are not yet being well used.

King Street transformed

The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is excited to release this visualisation for a bike path on King Street, Aberdeen. This follows on from our design competition for King Street which generated some very high quality, professional submissions. We took those designs, and with funding from LUSH, transformed them into a 3D visualisation.

Visualisations excite and inspire us to see what could be possible in our city. Aberdeen has enormous potential for cycling with its wide streetscapes and beautiful, grand granite buildings. It’s reasonably flat and has a climate that’s cycle-friendly all year round. All that’s needed is the right infrastructure.

This visualisation is just one possible design for a bike path on King Street. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this but what’s important is that all modes of transport have their own space – cars have their own space, bicycles have their own space, and pedestrians have their own space.

Through this visualisation we want to convey that cycling infrastructure is for everyone. It’s for men and women cycling to work, it’s for children cycling to school, it’s for people with disabilities on disability scooters, it’s for people who want to roller-blade to the shops or beach. With the right infrastructure we’ll see groups of people from our community we wouldn’t have otherwise seen, using active travel as their mode of transport.

What next? We have submitted the designs from the competition to the council along with this visualisation which was favourably received. King Street extends the Union Street bike path petition which is still before the council and which will be included in the SUMP (sustainable urban mobility plan) report the council hope to have out for public consultation next month. We’ll keep you posted!

Next we plan to print some postcards of the King Street visualisations which people can post to the council. We’ll let you know when these are available and where you can get one.

If you want to donate to our campaign then please click the donate button on our website.

Pedal on Parliament 2019 recap

I’m a bit late getting this recap post up but that shouldn’t be interpreted as an unsuccessful event. This year’s Pedal on Parliament was the best I’ve been to and this was largely due to the different route we did. Instead of cycling in one direction from A to B we cycled a circuit around the centre of town.

We all met outside Marischal College at 11am on Sunday and cycled first down Upper Kirkgate, then left onto Union Terrace, left onto Union Street, left onto Broad Street and back to Marischal College. We cycled this circuit over and over for one hour. I think I cycled 6 or 7 laps. I lost count at about 5. Others probably cycled more because I do remember being overtaken a few times.

There were just over 100 of us – people from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, of all ages, shapes, and sizes and riding all kinds of bikes. There were cargo bikes, electric bikes, tandem bikes, and even a couple of cool-looking Eliptigos. There were children with the youngest being 6 years old.

Erkine Logan Photography took some wonderful photos of the event and I’ve been given permission to share some of these.

Here’s a group shot:

Some of the children (and adults!) helped spread the message using chalk:

On the Monday after Pedal on Parliament we were featured in a double-page spread in the Evening Express.

Was it a success? In terms of enjoyment value, definitely! Will we see positive action from the local authority? If I didn’t think it would help then I wouldn’t bother and I would give up all hope. I do think these events are important and collectively, with other campaigns, they will help to steer direction towards an Aberdeen that is a safe place to cycle for everyone, adults and children alike.

What’s next for Aberdeen Cycle Forum? We’ve had a great year so far with the King Street Design Competition and Pedal on Parliament. Later this month we’ll be meeting with the Aberdeen City Council to hand over the winning designs from the King Street Design Competition and get an update on the Union Street bike path petition. We also received some funding from LUSH for an exciting new project! Make sure you subscribe to our blog to hear updates about this.

Join us for a mass bike ride in Aberdeen on April 28th for #PoP2019

Where: Marischal College, Broad Street, Aberdeen
When: 28th April 2019 at 11am

The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is planning a ride in the centre of our city at the end of this month to highlight the need for segregated cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen. It’s not good enough to put cyclists in bus lanes or to erect share and care signs. To make cycling accessible for everyone we need segregated cycling infrastructure. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Can an unaccompanied 12-year-old cycle safely here?” and if the answer is no, we have work to do.

We’ll be meeting at 11am outside Marischal College and cycling a circuit, going down Upperkirgate first. You can ride the circuit as many times as you like and can go at whatever pace is comfortable. With hundreds of us all cycling together it will be safe because of the safety in numbers effect.

Feel free to dress-up or decorate your bike. This is a demonstration about the lack of infrastructure for cycling but we want it to be fun at the same time.

New Chair and Campaigns and Communications Secretary

We are pleased to announce that the Aberdeen Cycle Forum has a new Chair and a new Campaigns and Communications Secretary. Gavin Clark was appointed chair at the September meeting. Here’s his bio:

Gavin Clark


I’ve been involved with the Forum to a greater or lesser extent since its early days, becoming Secretary in 2015 and now Chair/Convenor.

I’ve lived in Aberdeen since 1996, but having grown up just 40 miles away I’m almost a proper local. My first memories of cycling here, as a student in the early 1980s, are of being knocked off by a right-turning car on George St, and of having a wheel stolen from my bike outside the University. Unfortunately those are experiences which students today are still likely to have!

To me, cycling is a cheap and reliable way to get around the city but also my main hobby, taking off on longer rides into Aberdeenshire’s beautiful countryside most weekends. Of course it keeps me fit and as I work for an environmental agency, the benefits of ‘clean’ travel aren’t lost on me either.

I’m lucky that half of my 3 mile daily commute is on traffic-free routes: the stretch along the River Dee opposite Duthie Park is a favourite part of my commute. But I know that cycling in the city and being mixed up in traffic can be a very unpleasant, off-putting and sometimes dangerous experience. I’d love to see that change, and in reality it has to if more people are going to get on their bikes more often.


Rachel Martin has taken on the role of Campaigns and Communications Secretary. Here’s her bio:

Rachel Martin

I’m originally from Australia but love the climate, culture, and scenery of Scotland and feel lucky to call Aberdeen my home since 2014. I got my first taste of commuter cycling as a 19-year-old living in Cambridge, UK. I was struck by how much it enhanced my quality of life – the freedom, the exercise, the independence – and have tried to recreate that in all the places I’ve lived since then.

When my children came along cycling became more challenging. Being a parent changes our perception of risk and how much risk we’re prepared to accept. My children are 11 and 8 years old and perfectly capable of riding their own bikes but our unsafe roads mean I ferry them around Aberdeen on a cargo bike. This is why I got involved in cycling advocacy: I want my children to be safe cycling around our city.

We are a car-free family who walk and cycle everywhere. For longer trips we take the train or book a car-club car. I love that active travel gives us exercise everyday without having to make a special effort to fit exercise in. It’s also free and doesn’t produce any toxic emissions. But more than any other reason, cycling is fun and I hope I’m still doing it when I’m 90.


The role of secretary is currently vacant. If anyone would like to take this on then please contact us or come to our next monthly meeting on Tuesday 30th October at 7:30pm. Venue TBA.

 

All new roads should have a bike path

The people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire gathered outside Marischal College today to protest the lack of provision for cycling on the new AWPR – a bypass around Aberdeen. The AWPR has been in the plans for decades and it was more than 20 years ago that Cycling UK argued in favour of a segregated bike path on the road, if and when it got built. The Aberdeen Cycle Forum has also always been in favour of a segregated bike path. Sadly, they built the road and didn’t put in a bike path. Not only that but the new road has made conditions worse for cyclists in the region where is crosses the much-loved Deeside Way and also the Westhill cycle path. People are angry and frustrated and turned up to have their voice heard at the protest today.

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Representatives of the media were also there: BBC Scotland Radio, The Press & Journal, The Evening Express, and STV.

We know that money is not a blocker. The money is there but the local authority needs to apply to spend it. We want this money used to build segregated bike paths so that everyone can cycle in safety and we want all new road projects to include plans for segregated bike paths in the design.