Our article last week posing the question, “Is this the worst cycling event EVER?” about a cycling festival planned ahead of the opening of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) before it opens to motor vehicles got a lot of attention – including possibly from the organisers, who are now allowing people to bring their own bikes along to ride an 18-kilometre loop on the new road.
As we reported last week, the initial plans were that people would not be able to take their own bikes to the Go North East Road Festival “for everyone’s safety” and that they would instead have to travel by shuttle bus to the event, which is being held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.
Once at the free event, they would be able to ride a short section of the £745 million road, one of Scotland’s largest ever infrastructure projects, using one of 200 bikes that the organisers are providing in a “come and try” area.
“This will give an opportunity for novices and the more experienced to cycle a short section of AWPR B-T,” they said. “Cyclists of all levels can wiz [sic], wobble or weave on the closed road, promoting active travel and greener transport.”
Now, they have added the “GNE Cycle Experience” starting at 9am on the Sunday morning – the festival itself gets under way at 10am – which “requires advance registration to allow cyclists to bring their own bike and enjoy an 18km closed-road loop of the new AWPR.”
Up to 1,500 places are available, with only those with a pre-booked ticket allowed to ride the loop, which starts and finishes at Craibstone.
It is not clear from the event website just how to go about registration, althoughinfo [at] awprgonortheast.co.uk"> there is an email contact address.
The festival will be the first and last opportunity for cyclists to ride on the new road – once open to motor vehicles, “similar to a motorway, cyclists will be prohibited from using it for their own safety,” says Transport Scotland.
It adds: “However, the benefits to cyclists and pedestrians of the project are to be found in the local road networks which will be relieved of strategic traffic, with all the environmental and safety benefits this will bring.”
Some locals might disagree with that. Earlier this week, we reported how the a recently constructed bridge over the new road meant that cyclists using the popular Deeside Way off-road path need to ride for 30 metres into oncoming traffic because no requirement was included in the construction contract to make provision for a safe cycle crossing. Transport Scotland has said it is looking to resolve that issue.
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.