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Cyclists converge on Glasgow as COP26 conference begins

Riders from UK and beyond head to Scotland ahead of crucial climate change talks – and you can take part in Pedal on COP day of action next Saturday, wherever you are

Cyclists from the UK and beyond are converging on Glasgow as the crucial COP26 climate change conference gets under way in Scotland’s largest city to urge politicians to take action on the environmental crisis facing the planet.

During the conference, which lasts until 12 November, the charity Cycling UK will also be co-ordinating a mass bike ride next Saturday 6 November called Pedal on COP, as part of a global day of action, and will be highlighting the role that cycling and active travel can play in reducing emissions and encouraging sustainability.

The charity campaigns and policy manager in Scotland, Jim Densham, said: “On 6 November we have a unique opportunity to loudly and clearly tell the gathered global leaders how important it is to reach a historic deal in Glasgow.”

Cycling UK has highlighted on its website how people can take part, including joining the Cycling Bloc at the mass march in Glasgow next Saturday, with feeder rides from other cities in Scotland, joining a COP26 rally or action at towns and cities across the UK, or undertaking a virtual ride on Strava.

Among those who have headed to Scotland by bike are a team of paediatric health practitioners who have ridden from London accompanied by award-winning art installation Pollution Pods, their journey taking place under the banner Ride for their Lives.

They arrived in Glasgow today, where they are due to deliver a letter to politicians signed by millions of health practitioners across the globe.

A cycling campaigner and Extinction Rebellion supporter from Ceridigion in Wales, meanwhile, is making the journey solo, and is carrying a message in Welsh and English from the Mayor of Cardigan addressed to delegates at the conference.

Speaking at an event last Saturday as the letter was handed to him by Mayor Debra Griffiths, Peter Weldon said: “In a year plagued by severe floods, wildfires, and heatwaves, the need act on climate change has never been more urgent.

“The time for decisive action is overdue. Governments have a duty to protect the lives and wellbeing of their citizens.”

The Dutch ambassador to the UK, Karel van Oosterom, took inspiration from the Hague-based BBC News foreign correspondent Anna Holligan’s Dutch News from the Cycle Path as he rode a cargo bike by St Pancras International.

The ambassador said that “sustainable transport in London is getting more and more accepted, and on these cargo bikes we will be bringing the Dutch delegation to the global climate change summit in Glasgow from the one station to the next,” he said, referring to the short trip between St Pancras International to Euston.

Hopefully they will have arrived safely, given today’s disruption to rail services on the West Coast Main Line due to a fallen tree.

Not everyone has managed to take their bikes to Glasgow with them, however.

Henk Swarttouw, president of the EU Cyclists Federation, tweeting yesterday that several pasengers hoping to travel to Scotland by train had been unable to board with their Brompton folding bikes.

Instead, they had to leave their bikes in left luggage lockers at Rotterdam station and continue their journey without them.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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