Spotlight on a cyclist: Torcuill Torrance

Torc is our super cyclist of the month for April. He’s an avid and experienced cyclist and a long-time supporter of the Aberdeen Cycle Forum. If you haven’t seen him out cycling you might have seen him online challenging car-centric ideas.

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

Torcuill Torrance, came to Aberdeen to study in 1989 before moving to Newtonhill.

2) How did you get into cycling?

Being brought up in the Scottish Borders I enjoyed exploring, and before I knew it caught the bug and joined the CTC (now CyclingUK) and AUK to go longer distances.

3) What kind of cycling do you do?

Steady and with a café stop. I really enjoy the conviviality of Audax events, so a nice 200k randonnee around some scenic hand curated café stops is what I love.

4) What type of cycle do you use?

One with a wheel at each corner. Maybe you mean something different? Road, winter (with proper guards, flaps and dynohub), audax and mountainbike.

5) Where do you cycle usually/any favourite routes? How often?

Usually ride around Aberdeenshire, with occasional forays into the Cairngorms, Ochils, Lothian and Borders too. My local favourite is a loop from Newtonhill to Clatterin Brig, over the Cairn O’Mount to check on the Saltire I commissioned on the viewpoint, before zooming to Banchory for soup and a sandwich and home.

6) What would you like to see to improve your cycling experience?

All conurbations of 3000+ should be part of a fully segregated cycle network spanning the Scottish Nation…and beyond.

Failing that an e-Bike for everyone.

7) Any top tips for someone considering cycling in the area?

Find a local group – whether that’s CTC/CUK or a “club” that will help you with roadcraft and show you how to look after yourself. And if you can’t find one start one. I did that in Newtonhill and there’s over a hundred members now.

Don’t be afraid to get off your bike for a wee breather to take in a lovely view, or at night admire the northern lights. With a bike the journey is the destination.

Spotlight on a cyclist: Hanne Bruhn

This month in spotlight on a cyclist we’re talking to Hanne Bruhn, a regular at Aberdeen Cycling Forum meetings and a recent winner of the Most Inspirational Volunteer award with Sustrans Scotland. Well done, Hanne!

1) What is your name and how long have you been in Aberdeen?

I’m Hanne and I arrived in Aberdeen in 1997 to study at the university. Somehow, I fell under the spell of the granite and here I am in 2022! 

2) How did you get into cycling?

Coming from Denmark I’ve cycled all my life for transport although after arriving in Aberdeen I travelled by foot the first 16 years as the roads (read hills) and drivers terrified me. In 2012 I started cycling with CTC Grampian at weekends and haven’t looked back. 

3) What kind of cycling do you do?

We’re living the car-free dream, so I commute and shop by bike and I cycle longer distances for fun at weekends. During lockdown I got into gravel/adventure cycling. Holidays are mainly spent cycle touring, so I’ve sampled cycling around Europe and Japan so far – I take cycling in Tokyo over Aberdeen any day! 

4) What type of cycle do you use?

I currently have five bikes: a hybrid; do-it-all steel x2, lighter road bike and the newest is an adventure bikepacking bike. Two I bought as framesets and put together myself. I’ll confess, I’m currently looking for number six… 

5) Where do you cycle usually/favourite routes, how often, etc.?

When you go cycling most weekends you quickly crave variety. I very much enjoy the feeling of remoteness you get when on gravel routes, a very different experience to riding on the road. 

6) What would you like to see to improve your cycling experience?

The list is too long for this profile. However, everyone should have a choice as to how they get about and not have to worry about their personal safety when doing so. Aberdeen has quite a bit of catching up to do to achieve this though. 

7) Any top tips for someone considering cycling in the area?

Don’t follow the traffic! There is usually a low traffic/less hilly alternative that makes Aberdeen far more pleasant than you might think. Aberdeen has amazing potential for being a cycling paradise… 

Spotlight on a cyclist: Franceso Sani

This is the first post in what we hope will become a regular series highlighting the many different cyclists in Aberdeen. Many thanks to Francesco for volunteering to be first!

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

Hi, I am Francesco (Fran-ches-ko) Sani and I have been in Aberdeen since 2009;


2) How did you get into cycling?

I have been cycling since I was a child in Rome – tricycle then bicycle – but I had a gap of about fifteen years until I got back into cycling on a trip to Canada in 2006; my sister and parents did not cycle, therefore it was my own love of two/three wheels that got me into it!


3) What kind of cycling do you do?

I do not have much free time therefore for the last few years I have got increasingly more commuter-/work-oriented;


4) What type of cycle do you use?

I use a Specialized Hardrock with a few mods of my own (handlebar riser, tailored seat, mudguards, direction indicators, mirror, etc.). I have always cycled with mountain bikes as I like attacking the road and all the potholes/bumps with a solid bike… usually a hardtail, with the option of off-roading as and when;


5) Where do you cycle usually/any favourite routes? How often?

You will usually spot me around the city centres of Aberdeen and Edinburgh with my signature soft-helmet, a green RibCap;


6) What would you like to see to improve your cycling experience?

Cycling in city centres – Rome, London, Edinburgh or Aberdeen – taught me that it is generally safe and you should not worry too much. I rarely get close passes from cars but they do happen to a lot of people and city centres generally have poor cycle-friendly       roads – interrupted cycle lanes or dangerous junctions – therefore I would like to see more done to encourage everyone, children included, cycling to get from A to B;


7) Any top tips for someone considering cycling in the area?

Cycle with someone else the first time, stay behind, and get to know the roads without feeling too scared.

This was taken at Christmas 2021 in Rome, next to the e-bike from Uber that I had just cycled on from my parents’ house into the city centre. Check the Valentino Rossi top 🙂