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Pedal on COP – 1,000 cyclists ride to Glasgow to highlight how bikes can help save the planet

Riders from across Scotland joined huge Global Day of Action for Climate Justice march

Around 1,000 cyclists converged on Glasgow yesterday from all over Scotland, joining a further 200 how had ridden for Edinburgh plus local riders to take part in the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice march as the city hosts the COP26 conference.

More than 20 Pedal on COP rides converged on Glasgow from as far afield as Aberdeen, Inverness and Dumfries, co-ordinated by the campaign group Pedal on Parliament and Cycling UK, to highlight the role cycling can play in tackling climate change and making cities more sustainable and liveable.

Iona Shepherd of Go Bike, the Strathclyde cycling campaign, said: “We've seen the irony of a climate conference cutting off safe routes for the most environmentally friendly form of transport, while delegates are being ferried around in electric limousines. We want to show people that there is a better way.

“During lockdown, people took to their bikes in massive numbers as soon as they had quiet streets and temporary infrastructure. Cities and countries could act now and start to cut transport emissions immediately with a few simple measures to prioritise cycling and walking.

“The perfect machines to fight climate change are staring us in the face – but we need safe places for people to use their bikes if they are to ride in enough numbers to make a real difference.”

Sally Hinchcliffe, one of the organisers of Pedal on Parliament, led a Pedal on COP ride to Glasgow from Dumfries.

She said: “I've been feeling real despair in recent years as warning after warning about the climate has been ignored, and extreme weather events are starting to disrupt our lives everywhere.

“Seeing the response from across Scotland to our Pedal on COP rides has given me a glimmer of hope.

“The fact that perfect strangers have been prepared to brave the weather and the distances involved to share our message has made me feel less alone, and more like I'm part of the solution.

“It means I can look my nieces and nephews in the eye and say we're all fighting for their future.”

Amaya Bañuelos Marco, a member of Edinburgh Critical Mass, which organised the ride from the Scottish capital to Glasgow, said: “This conference is probably the last chance we have to stop climate breakdown.

“Many people feel desperate about the situation, but a massive shift away from cars and towards active travel is a really easy and achievable tool in the fight against climate change.

“Not everyone can come to Glasgow but most people could manage short everyday journeys by bike instead of the car, especially if there are good cycle paths and safe streets.

“We think there’s too much emphasis by governments on electric vehicles instead of investing in cycling, walking and public transport, which have so many other benefits beyond cutting emissions.”

Simon joined 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.

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Organon | 2 years ago
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So n+1 = carbon sequestration.

ktache | 2 years ago

The weather looks iffy, but look how happy the lead rider looks

wycombewheeler replied to ktache | 2 years ago
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Because there is no one in front of him riding without a mudguard

AlanMyles replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
1 like

That particular ride leader had a superb electric tern cargo bike. I was a bit jealous (but my face is hidden 4 riders back!). It was a really good day though.

Sriracha replied to AlanMyles | 2 years ago

Never knew they made cargo bikes that small.

BigSigh replied to AlanMyles | 2 years ago

I can just about make myself out towards the back of the group there.
It was good to see so many out despite the weather. A really friendly atmosphere and great to chat with so many others.
And big respect to all those who came from much further afield than our little group.

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