Scottish People Pedal on Parliament in Edinburgh
CYCLING IS GOOD. I think this child illustrates perfectly one of the simple messages of Pedal on Parliament. Cycling is good = It makes people healthy, it makes people happy, it allows cities to breathe and move and even children can do it. Ok so that is all nothing new – so why wouldn’t you invest in that? That is what the few thousand people at Pedal on Parliament in Edinburgh were asking on Saturday and I feel pretty happy to be one of those few thousand. So whilst 2000 – 3000* thousand us us pedaled in Edinburgh, around 10,000 rode their bikes in London, apparently around 50,000 people took to the streets in Rome. I think that is incredible.
According to Spokes, Pedal on Parliament was: “Not only the biggest ever cycling demonstration in Scotland, but MSPs told us it was probably the biggest ever demonstration on any subject to take place in the public arena outside the Scottish Parliament.”
Again amazing. So I think an incredibly BIG thank you and well-done has to said to all of the organisers.
So here is a little round-up of my whole
As much as I tried to encourage friends and family to join me on this ride, I must admit they all had very legitmate reasons for missing it, (taking part in the Kinross Sportive, moving house, organising the Oxtaily Ceilidh and going to Berlin). So I couldn’t help but feel a little alone as I covered my bike in balloons and posters (!) and rode round the streets of Edinburgh before the ride. I quickly realised that I hadn’t cycled much in Edinburgh before and I am not quite sure why not. I have cycled extensively in Glasgow, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Dundee and Perth and many other cities – but not Edinburgh. So I spent a little bit of my morning going round in circles as I navigated some ‘fun’ junctions and hills, between my friends flat in Stockbridge and the Meadows, (via the balloon shop and falafel shop).
However, as I turned the corner onto the meadows and saw a sea of colourful cyclists, I was instantly cheered and from then on the day just got better and better. I arrrived promptly at 2.00pm expecting to find just a few people, as we weren’t due to set off until 3.00pm. However, I think there were already a few hundred people there when I arrived.
I quickly got speaking to a rather stylish cyclist who had a lovely flowery Pashley bike, some nice cyclist/photographer types, a few other people and a quick hello from @cocteautriplets* before the ride got started. Everyone was incredibly friendly and in general good spirits. Then I looked around and was amazed that the bike procession stretched down the whole path in the meadows, spilling onto the grass at both sides and turning a corner at the end. WOW.
There was a minutes silence before we set off and I felt a wave of emotion as the few thousand people who had gathered went silent, then we were brought back to reality with the ringing of many bell’s.
Then we took off! It was a slow pace, as I think can only be expected when navigating a few thousand cyclist through the centre of Edinburgh and down the royal mile on a busy Saturday afternoon. But it was all very smooth and the police did a good job at shutting off some of the junctions when necessary. There was lots of time for photos, some sporadic ringing of bell’s, some cheery banter and some taxi driver rants*. So all in all, it was a successful peaceful protest through the streets of Edinburgh.
We arrived in front of the Scottish Parliament and relaxed on the grassy ledges that are cleverly designed into the space, before moving a little closer to hear the various speeches that were carried out on the centre platform, whilst some children cooled down in the Parliament’s swimming pool. During the speeches, I was approached by the father of a cheery child who was interested in my balloons. I promptly took the opportunity to say farewell to my balloons and happily handed them over to this little girl, who looked just adorable with a batch of five balloons tied to her dress.
And then we had POPPED!
I took the opportunity afterwards to ride round Arthurs Seat and took a wee break at the top and enjoy the view over the city for a little while. It is a brilliant space to have in the centre of Edinburgh and somewhere I imagine I would frequent, if I lived in the city. I then headed back into town and spent a bit of time enjoying the little shops around the royal mile. Namely, a very nice sweet shop that provided me with some sugary snacks for the train home.
I shared the train ride home with two other rather interesting
#pop28 cyclists @KBH_WCR and @Dan_Retter who had both rode down from Aberdeen for the Pedal on Parliament ride. Impressive stuff and definitely made the train ride home much more interesting, as they are quite the adventure cyclists and they provided some fun chats that rounded off the day nicely.
So yes – once home, I managed to charge my phone and finally caught up on the Twitter – so here are a few fun tweets I spotted. I am sure there are many more and you just need to type in
#pop28 to Twitter to see a raft of tweets about the event. There are also lots of great photos on the Flickr group.
So we pedaled and we popped in style on April 28th 2012.
*Exact numbers have not been confirmed
*@Cocteautriplets was responsible for all the POP28 posters and someone I have been aware of Twitter for some time. So it was nice to finally say a wee hello.
*Due to the sheer number of cyclists on the streets. It became quite quickly apparent that we were going to bring certain junctions to a standstill. Whilst passing one particular taxi, he became quite irritated and rolled down his window and shouted a quick tirade of abuse. I must admit, that in all times to pick a fight with someone on a bike – he really did choose the wrong one. But we all happily ignored him and cycled on. Therefore, I think we clearly took the higher ground.
Filed under: Bike Rides, Cities | 4 Comments
Tags: 2012, april 28th, Bikes, cities, cycle lanes, Cycling, edinburgh, Pedal on parliament, POP28, Protests, scotland, scottish parliament