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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.