Dumfries and Galloway gears up for The Original Bicycle Festival

The home of the inventor of the pedal cycle is celebrating its prestigious links by staging The Original Bicycle Festival this month. 

The fortnight-long homage to pedal power takes place between May 9-24, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, the birthplace of Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan, widely credited as the inventor of the pedal bicycle.

The first pedal bicycle was propelled by a horizontal reciprocating movement of the rider's feet on the pedals. This movement was transmitted to cranks on the rear wheel by connecting rods; the machine was extremely heavy and the physical effort required to ride it must have been considerable.

As well as coming up with one of the world's most important inventions, legend has it that Macmillan may also have been the first person ever to be fined for a cycling offence. 

According to the BBC History website, the talented blacksmith, who was born in 1812 and died in 1878, was dished out a fine at the end of his first attempt to ride the 68 miles into Glasgow in June 1842. The trip took him two days and he was fined five shillings for causing a slight injury to a small girl who ran across his path.

The Original Bicycle Festival is being supported by Mark Beaumont, from Perthshire. who in 2008 finished his record-breaking round the world epic ride, covering 18,297 miles through 20 countries in 195 days - a feat James Bowthorpe, from London, is currently in the middle of attempting to better.

The Original Bicycle Festival features everything from biking fun days to films and guided cycle rides along quiet country roads in the area. 

For more information visit the website: http://www.originalbicyclefestival.co.uk