People in Glasgow will next weekend be given the chance to walk, run or cycle on a new facility built in the city at a cost of £692 million, and it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – the facility in question is the northern extension to the M74 motorway, running through the south-eastern suburbs of the city, which is due to open to motor traffic in June.
The stretch of road is just 8km long, giving a cost-per-kilometre of getting on for £90 million, money that you can’t help thinking might be better off being invested in public transport or sustainable transport initiatives.
Still, with road building funded out of general taxation, at least next Sunday 22 May gives an opportunity to non-car users to benefit, albeit briefly, from a facility they have helped fund before it is given over to motorists for their exclusive use.
From what we’ve heard, it could be quite a party, with a number of cycling and environmental groups from west and central Scotland planning to make a day of it, so if you're in that area, why not join them?
The event, billed as the M74 Bike ‘n’ Hike, is limited to 20,000 participants, and is said to be a “one off opportunity to raise funds for charity.” It starts at the west end of the new motorway in Glasgow at the Shields Road Car Park, Scotland Street, with participants able to follow two routes.
The first is a 4km round trip walk, run or cycle as far as Polmadie Road, while a longer, 14km, round-trip to Fullarton Roundabout is also on offer. Elite wheelchair athletes and cyclists assemble at 8.40am for a 9am start, runners at 9.10am for a 9.30am start, and walkers, families and wheelchair users at 10am to start at 10.15am.
Those are the earliest advertised times, but the latest start times are 12 noon for the 14km route and 2pm for the 4km one. The route will be cleared by 4pm.
Entry is £5 and can be made online here – no entries will be accepted on the day – with beneficiary charities listed as Spinal Injuries Scotland, The Lighthouse Club, Macmillan Cancer Support, British Heart Foundation Scotland, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, Scottish Association for Mental Health and The Hospices of Scotland.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.