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Grampian Cycling News 2005
Deeside Way Improvements
Aberdeenshire Council have announced that the section of the popular Deeside Way from Mills of Drum to Crathes is to be constructed during Jan-Mar 2006. The Council also plans to construct the Aboyne to Dinnet path (including a bridge over the Dinnet Burn) during 2006. This will link with the Dinnet to Ballater path.
There remains uncertainty over the Banchory to Aboyne routing. In essence, this reflects a choice between using the old Deeside Extension Railway route - via Glassel, Torphins, Lumphanan and Dess - or staying on a more direct (and possibly more picturesque) route, closer to Kincardine O'Neill. If you have a view on this, lobby the Marr Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council.
Extra Funding for Transport
Aberdeenshire Council is to receive up to £2 million additional funding for integrated transport facilities. The money comes from the Executive's Integrated Transport Fund and will provide, amongst other things, enhanced cycle facilities.
It is proposed that some of the money be spent on
- Cycle lockers at Peterhead's new town centre interchange
- Cycle lockers and improved links to existing cycle ways from Inverurie Rail station
Speyside Way Upgrade
The proceeds form Moray District Council's sale of the Victorian C-listed Blacksboat Station are to be used to enhance the Speyside way. In excess of £85000 will be spent on a range of measures including a new section of pathway and updated mapping information.
Part of the 84-mile trail is open to cyclists, offering good family friendly routes all year round.
Hit and Run
Police are investigating a hit and run incident in Banff which resulted in a cyclists sustaining minor injuries. The incident happened on Thursday 27th October between 10.30am-11.30am in the town's Whinhill Crescent when the cyclist was in collision with a white Nissan Micra. If you can help then contact the police on 0845 600 5700 or 0800 555111.
If You Go Down To The Woods Today
There have been more reported sightings of a panther like animal around Crossroads of Lumphanan, between Tarland and Alford. The animal is reported as being black in colour, powerfully built, and stands about a metre tall with a long tail.
This latest sighting follows on from numerous similar sightings in Grampian, including reports from Parkhill Forest, Aberdeenshire; Blackhills near Elgin; Crimonmogate near Fraserburgh; and, Whiteford village, near Pitcaple.
Indeed, Grampian figures prominently in the study of big cats. In the early 1980's a study of big cats in Moray resulted in a series of specimens of large black cats being trapped and shot. On investigation these were thought to be a feral domestic x Scottish wildcat hybrid. These were later named "Kellas" cats, after the village of Kellas, South of Elgin.
Kellas cats have often been accused of being large feline forms responsible for sheep killings in the rural areas of Scotland. However, with an average total head to tail length of 42 inches in mature male specimens this is unlikely.
So, keep your eyes open next time you are cycling on South Deeside!
Red Light Jumper Fined
An Aberdeen cyclist who jumped a red traffic light in George Street has received a £30 fine.
Instead of waiting for the lights to change, and in full view of a nearby police patrol car, the irresponsible cyclists decided to jump the lights at the city's Maberley Street junction. The police pursued the cyclist, who didn't hear their siren because he was listening to the radio via headphones, and caught up with him a short distance from the junction.
The cyclist was fined under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, section 36 (1) with the offence of failing to comply with a red light. For cyclists the offence carries a £30 fixed penalty. Drivers and motorcyclists face a £60 fine and penalty points on their licence.
Pitfichie goes Downhill
The Scottish Downhill association's last event of the season was held at Pitfichie Forest over the weekend of the 17 & 18 Sept. A full field of 250 riders enjoyed a course similar to last years.
Starting up top on Pitfichie hill the course dropped fast through the heather and over some of the local granite on the remains of an old landrover track. On entering the trees you could either launch the step down on the left or take the easier ride down the right. From here the going was pretty rough as the course twisted itself tightly through the trees, making plenty use of the roots and rocks littering the hillside. Things flattened out into the last third, and this combined with the wet weather on Saturday made it hard going.
Overall, another superbly organised weekend's racing.
Flashing to be Legalised?
Following sustained campaigning by the CTC, the UK's national cyclists' organisation, and just in time for when the clocks go back this year, it should at last become legal to use flashing lights on your bike. Provided there are no parliamentary objections before then, it should become law in October.
To be legally approved a light may flash at least once and not more than four times per second with a brilliance of at least four candle-power. Most of the better quality flashing lights on sale today, meet that simple requirement.
The new law will have some strange and unintended consequences. Since lamps emitting a steady light must still conform with BS6102/3 and all that entails, it now becomes much simpler to be legal by flashing than not! DfT are aware of this paradox and intend to add a recommendation to the Highway Code (currently also under review) to use a steady headlamp on unlit roads.
CTC continues to campaign for a similar, simple legal approval of lamps emitting steady light, and for a permitted alternative to pedal reflectors in cases where these cannot be used or seen. Until then: cyclists who sensibly light their way with one of those brilliant rechargeable headlamps, that emit thousands of candle-power but are non-the-less, non-BS, can most easily make themselves legal by also fitting a little 4-candela flasher.
20mph Speed Limit for Aberdeen?
Scotland's first city centre 20mph zone looks set to be introduced in Aberdeen.
Following widespread consultation city council highways officials are recommending to the Environment and Infrastructure Committee, that the new speed limit should be introduced.
The officials have consulted more than 100 groups and individuals on two possible schemes. These were a new mandatory slow zone around Union Street - or a far wider area taking in surrounding streets including parts of Ferryhill, the edge of Rosemount and the West End, and streets north of the harbour bounded by, but not including Virginia Street and Commerce Street.
Following the consultation the officials recommend the introduction of the outer zone, which they believe, will make travelling safer and the city centre more pedestrian friendly.
Grampian Police, the Ambulance Service, the Fire Brigade service, Aberdeen Cycling Forum, the Community Council Forum, Ferryhill Heritage Society, Friends of the Earth and Harlaw Academy have given support. First Aberdeen and Aberdeen Harbour Board are opposed to the scheme.
Look out for the Forestry Service mountain biking trailer, packed with info on biking in Grampian and elsewhere in Scotland at this years Treefest. This will take place in Aberdeen's Duthie Park on Sunday 21st August.
Jonathan Copp, a member of Aberdeen based Deeside Thistle Cycling Club, won the Scottish National 100 mile Time Trial championship. Jonathan covered the 100 miles in only 3 hours 52 minutes and 4 seconds, a minute and a half quicker than the second placed rider.
Phase 2 of the Kirkhill mountain bike trail development due to begin this month has been postponed until next year. Local staff blame internal Forestry Commission Health and Safety for the delay and are keen that no enthusiasm is lost on the project. Indeed, they plan to push ahead and build a small amount of trail (i.e. the more technical stuff that couldn't be built by machine) using volunteers. This being the limit of what they are allowed to do.
Bikelife on Arbeadie Terrace in Banchory, in conjunction with Grampian police, are hosting a security marking event on Saturday 2nd July. A discount on bike locks will be offered to everyone having their bike marked. Check out our page on choosing a bicycle lock for more information on which type would suit you best.
More Cycle Parking in Aberdeen
Fortyfive additional bike stands are to be installed in Aberdeen. The 45 will be split between the following locations: Union Street, Back Wynd, Shiprow, Crown Street, Thistle Street, North Silver Street, Golden Square, School Hill, Rosemount Viaduct, John Street, Huntly Street, The Green, Langstane Place and St Nicholas Square.
Deeside Trail Upgrade
Ten new interpretive panel displays, costing £670 each, have been installed along the Aberdeen end of the old Deeside Railway line. The displays will present users of the line with historical and wildlive information and are intended to improve the line for cyclists and walkers.
The displays can be found at Duthie Park, Holburn, Ruthrieston, Pitfodels, Cults, West Cults, Bieldside, Murtle, Milltimber and Culter.
The displays are part of an improvement scheme which includes improving the path surfacing in the several areas, laying tarmac on the section from Duthie Park to Auchinyell, and improving the access points to the line in several places.
Deveron Bridge Study
Aberdeenshire Council has commissioned a feasibility study into providing a new bridge to carry cyclists and pedestrians over the Deveron near the existing Banff Bridge.
It is believed the feasibility study is part of a wider scheme looking at establishing a cycle network in the neighbouring towns of Banff and MacDuff. Aberdeenshire's road service has stressed that although a study is underway, there are no funds currently available to construct a bridge.
At present cyclists share the Banff Bridge, designed in 1799 by John Smeaton, with pedestrians and other road traffic when crossing the Deveron. A new cyclists and pedestrian bridge may allow the existing carriageways on the Banff Bridge be widened.
Try Cycling Initiative
Want to try cycling? Then here is your chance.
The Cyclists' Touring Club, Aberdeen Cycle Forum and Aberdeen City Council have teamed up to launch the Try Cycling initiative.
The plan is to encourage people who have not cycled before or who have not done it for a while to get back on their bikes. Rides set off (at 10am) from and finish at Duthie Park by the pond near Riverside Drive. The free three-hour rides take place every Sunday until September 25.
For more information call Gerard on 01224 734799.
New Bike Shed for Hythehill
Moray Council has installed new cycle storage facilities for the pupils, staff and parents of Hythehill Primary in Lossiemouth. The new cycle shelter is bright and colourful and easily visible from the school and car park.
This has been widely welcomed by all parties and means that children are now able to ride their bicycles to school. The hope is to help reverse the trend of increasing numbers of children being driven to school, to the detriment of their own health and that of the environment.
Cycling proficiency training, which teaches the older children road and traffic awareness, complements the project. Younger children must be accompanied by their parents, but can still learn valuable lessons about safe cycling. By working with the pupils on this project both Moray Council's School Travel Co-ordinator and Active School Co-ordinator hope to raise awareness and discuss issues about cycling, health and sustainability e.g. why it is better to cycle than travel by car. The ultimate aim is to encourage more children and parents to travel to and from school by bicycle.
Cycling trails in Kirkhill Forest, near Dyce, will be closed from Mondays to Fridays for the next six weeks while forestry operations are carried out. The closures start on Monday January 17th. However, the trails will be open at weekends, and the Mountain Bike Fun Park in the forest will remain open for most of the period because it is not directly affected.