It's World Bicycle Day on 3 June and I have a confession to make. I haven't owned a bicycle since my (much) younger self regularly explored the quiet back roads of the picturesque Carse of Gowrie near Dundee on my sleek, and reliable, silver Peugeot mountain bicycle. What a beautiful bicycle that was.
So why do we have a World Bicycle Day? Well the United Nations wants to acknowledge "the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health".
Cycling brings with it a number of benefits. It is one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of transport. Cycling can also significantly improve our physical and mental wellbeing as well as promoting social inclusion and helping to educate our children and young people on road safety.
The sport of cycling can also bring local communities together. One such example of this is the exciting project which is ongoing in Linlithgow in West Lothian. Several years ago, the Linlithgow Community Development Trust had a vision. There was a lack of safe space in the town and surrounding area for people to cycle and the Trust wanted to address this by building a cycle track which would give people of all age and abilities more opportunities to cycle in a safe and friendly environment. Through a lot of hard work, and the generous support of a number of stakeholders and the local community (including a recent crowdfunding campaign which has raised over £33,000), the Trust is now in a position to commence phase 1 of the "West Lothian Cycle Circuit" which involves the building of a 0.5km, two loop circuit on the outskirts of the town. The West Lothian Cycle Circuit is a great example of how a community can come together to deliver an ambitious project which will have a positive and lasting impact on the local area and the people who live there. More information on the West Lothian Cycle Circuit can be found at their website.
Whilst "lockdown" has undoubtedly brought with it a number of challenges (and home schooling is definitely one in our household!), it has afforded many of us the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones and to get out in the fresh air, whether that be walking, running or cycling. In the last few months, I have discovered a number of walks around my town which I never knew existed and I have taken the opportunity to talk to those who I meet on the way. In addition to giving me a greater sense of community, it has also allowed me to reflect on what I hold most dear to me in my life.
We all hope that life will get back to some sort of normality soon and when it does, I hope that I will remember the positive experiences which I have had in "lockdown" and continue to enjoy these going forward. And who knows, I might even buy a bicycle. Do they still make silver Peugeot mountain bicycles?...
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