Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has appointed a ‘Cycling Czar’ who will be tasked with increasing levels of leisure, commuting and sports cycling as the city looks to build on the cycling’s higher profile ahead of its own hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The man who will take on the new role is former Scottish Sports Minister Frank McAveety, a former Labour MSP who lost his seat at the last Holyrood elections. Mr McAveety plans to publish an updated cycling strategy for the city later this year.
"We realise there are obstacles,” he said, quoted in The Herald. “Commuters face potholes and, often, a lack of consideration from motorists. Youngsters who want to take up competitive cycling might struggle to find proper coaching, but these are the things we want to address."
According to The Herald, Mr McAveety, who is also a former leader of Glasgow council leader, has said that he has had a "love/hate relationship" with bicycles, although he insists that in his new role he wants cycling to move ahead of walking, football, swimming and dancing as the most popular healthy activity enjoyed by the city’s population.
The newspaper adds that there has been 50 per cent growth during the past three years in the number of journeys made in and out of the city centre by bicycle, but says that cycling still only accounts for 2 per cent of commuter trips.
During his political career, Mr McAveety has at times been involved in controversy, stepping down as chair of a Holyrood committee in 2010 after a microphone picked up comments he made about the appearance of a woman in the public gallery during committee proceedings, while in 2004 he lost his job as Scottish Culture Minister in the wake of a scandal dubbed ‘Piegate’ earlier that year.
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.