Cycling at RGU: World Bicycle Day

To help mark World Bicycle Day and Bike Week, RGU Campus Cycling Officer Nicolò Silvani writes about the benefits of cycling, its role during the pandemic and the University policies around it.

May 30th to June 5th marks Bike Week, an annual initiative by Cycling UK to celebrate and promote cycling across the UK. World Bicycle Day also falls within this week, on June 3rd. Make sure to check out both sites to see what events have been planned. At RGU, we embrace cycling, encouraging everyone to cycle to and from the campus and support sustainability initiatives such as BikePad.

Invented in the 19th century, thanks to the curiosity of a German baron named Karl von Drais, the bike has been one of the most enjoyable vehicles ever since.

Did you know that the bike as we know it today had different names in the past? Some of the names include the ‘velocipede’, ‘hobby-horse’, ‘draisine’ and ‘running machine’?

History.com

Cycling during COVID-19

Since the start of the pandemic, cycling has seen a surge in Scotland and even in Aberdeen. This was driven by the need to find an alternative mode of transport when public transport has not been an option, quieter roads during lockdowns and the need to exercise whilst gyms were closed.

In fact, cycling is increasingly being considered by individuals, companies and authorities given the breadth of benefits that come with it. Cycling can be:

– A good way to stay or get into good physical and mental health, by exercising, enjoying urban and rural landscapes and providing a break from the daily routine.

– A convenient mode of transportation when used instead of public transport or private cars, often saving not only money but also time, particularly for journeys shorter than 5 miles.

– A solution to poor local air quality and a way to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector. This is essential if Scotland aims to achieve net-zero by 2045 as set out by the Scottish Government, as transport is the highest emitter among all sectors.

Cycling and RGU

Cycling is now included as part of the university strategy to a Net Zero Campus and a bespoke Cycling Strategy is soon to be adopted. The Transport webpage has also gotten a refresh to promote sustainable transport choices with a page dedicated to cycling information.

Our on-campus bike facilities include secure parking, and showers are already available. The University was also recently successful in getting funding for new cycling infrastructure and initiatives which will be rolled out in the coming months.

As we recover from the pandemic, we think that this is a great time to make the switch to more sustainable transport options. Cycling to campus from the city centre only takes around 25 minutes and we have identified routes to campus for you to follow if you have not done so before. The easiest option remains to ride along the Deeside Way, which starts from Duthie Park and has access points throughout. The Deeside Way is one of the main walking and cycling routes in the North East of Scotland and has become ever more popular during the lockdown. The history and guide to the Way are covered more in-depth here. This route is unlit, so make sure to have your lights and bright vest on when dark.

Routes in Aberdeen

If you are not interested in cycling for commute purposes, but rather for leisure/sport, or simply want to try it out, the Deeside Way still remains a great choice to build cycling confidence. It is a traffic-free route and covers a good distance for a one or multi-day trip, depending on your pace. For more inspiration on cycling routes across the North East, make sure to check out Ride the North website, as they have put together a great collection of them in the Grampian Highlands Cycle Network, with descriptions, pictures and maps.

If you are interested in other cycle routes in Aberdeen please take a look at this handy map.

Hire a bike through BikePad

BikePad is renting out bikes to students and staff members who wish to hire for the summer. The rental cost is £20 and it includes a bike, bike lock, high visibility vest and lights. BikePad also offers a bike repairing service at a cost of £10. If you are interested in renting from BikePad or have your bike serviced, please email them at bikehire@rguunion.co.uk

We hope you get to enjoy Bike Week, perhaps with an extra, or a first(!!), ride to celebrate the occasion. If you have any questions, the Transport team at RGU and I are happy to help however we can!

Where is your favourite place in to cycle in Aberdeen and surrounding area? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nicolò Silvani

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