The Black Isle
The Black Isle is brilliant for cycling, with some superb on and off-road routes to be explored on two wheels.
Using a bike is cheap, gets you fit, and is a great way to beat the queues - particularly relevant when the Kessock Bridge is busy.
If the option of using an E-Bike interests you, loans are currently available via the Energy Saving Trust / Home energy Scotland to help with buying one. See this link for more information
or call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282.
Moving away from rural car dependency
Bo Hickey, infrastructure officer at Sustrans Scotland, explores the issues of car dependency and transport poverty in rural areas.
The definition of “rural” is subjective, but often raises a mental image of remoteness, challenging weather, and timber lorries hurtling along single-track roads. For many, the notion of driving is seen as an absolute necessity for rural residents and visitors alike.
However, these perceptions overlook that many, perhaps most, settlements considered “rural”, are actually located on arterial public transport routes and path networks, with many outlying houses and hamlets within a 20-minute walk, wheel, or cycle from local services.
Given how many rural settlements were established (and sometimes even more populated) well before the rise of the Motor Vehicle, could it be that barriers to active travel are not actually related to distance and location?
Perhaps the lack of safe active travel provision, combined with modern expectations to live life at a rapid pace, present a much bigger obstacle.
New cycling promotion project by Cycling UK
George Ewing of Cycling UK in Scotland has emailed
. . . I have been recently appointed as a Development Officer for the Highland area by Cycling UK in Scotland to implement a project call “Shift” and I would like to provide you with a brief overview of this project.
Shift aims to increase the number of people cycling for short everyday journeys, increase confidence to cycle and promote positive attitudes towards cycling. Shift aims to do this by -
- Enabling grassroots groups/community organisations/business to run cycling support activities.
- Supporting partners to explore and incorporate services using bikes.
- Enabling individuals and organisations across Scotland to access webinars and content supporting cycling.
- Enabling organisations across local communities to network, collaborate and share experience and learning.
An interested party will be able to apply for Shift funding of between £400 - £800 via a webform. The funding can be used in various ways to provide opportunity, capability and the motivation for all to cycle more. This could be achieved by using the funding anyway within the guidelines but could include the following -
- Basic bike maintenance sessions
- Dr Bike / "M" check sessions
- Purchase group/organisation accessories e.g. helmets, locks, panniers, lights
- Security bike marking session
- Essential cycling skills sessions
- Training staff/volunteers to be cycle ride leaders
- Training (other) for staff/volunteers
- Knowledge sessions e.g. maps & route planning, riding in adverse conditions
- Cycle demo/try out sessions
- Hire/Loan of cycles
- 1:1/small group confidence or route orientation sessions
I’m really excited about the opportunities that this project offer our communities and I for one am looking forward to getting started. I would like to highlight that this project has not officially been launched yet, but I am sending this information out to you as a taster of what is to come. If Shift interests you in any way please get in touch with me to discuss further and I will be more than happy to help.
Development Officer (Caithness)
Direct Line: 07341 792374
Main Line: 01483 238300
National Active Travel Conference 2021
Pre-conference comment from Paths for All
Stuart Douglas, Smarter Choices Smarter Places Manager at Paths for All, writes
“Lockdown has brought with it many challenges to the sector. Local and national government have focussed their attention and efforts on dealing with Covid, rather than building their response to Climate Change and prioritising sustainable travel. This priority has been replicated in the third sector with agencies focussing their activities on supporting the most vulnerable and ensuring key workers can travel to work safely. So collectively the momentum that had been generated in previous years has been paused and we need to reignite the passion and commitment that may have been lost.
The seismic reduction in use of public transport has accelerated a worrying decline in patronage that will take a concerted effort to reverse. It was a big task to get people out of their cars and onto public transport before lockdown, it is an even bigger ask now.
Embedding the changed behaviours that have seen more people walking and cycling than ever before has to be a priority. Building on the momentum of people experiencing their local community as a pedestrian or a cyclist so it becomes everyday behaviour, not just something that is done during a pandemic. Lockdown has created a new audience of people who have experienced the benefits of quieter streets, improved physical health and living without the need for a car.
There is real hope that embedding home-working as a norm will reduce car use. If people do not need a car to commute, there is a real potential that they will question the need to have one at all. There is a whole new audience of people that are on the cusp of changing their regular travel behaviours. The sector needs to make sure it is communicating with this new group of people, helping them to keep up their new behaviours.
Paths for All has continued working with local communities throughout the pandemic. We will build on this work across all our workstreams. There is a resurgence in Health Walks across Scotland as people want to carry on their new found love of walking. Enhanced awareness of local greenspace will result in more community groups taking responsibility to improve their local path networks. Our Step Count Challenge is a great motivator to keep people walking rather than slipping into sedentary activity.
Our communication activity will inspire and motivate individuals and agencies to keep walking. Our Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme has expanded, with an additional £500,000 available in open grants and we are looking to reach newer and more diverse projects the length and breadth of Scotland. We will be promoting good practice and celebrating successes through the year, demonstrating that walking and wheeling is something that everyone can do every day, everywhere.”
In the run up to the online National Active Travel Conference 2021 on 2 June, Cycling Scotland reports a massive increase in cycle journeys and cycle and equipment sales in 2020.
Statistics we released on 6 April 2021 show a 47% increase in cycling journeys recorded between 23 March 2020 and 22 March 2021 - one year since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in Scotland.
In 2020, increases of 68% in April, 77% in May, 63% in June, 44% in July and 33% in August were recorded, compared to the same months in 2019.
September 2020 saw a rise of 32%, followed by October (22%), November (7%) and December (4%). During bad weather in January this year, cycling rates decreased 14% before rising 20% in February 2021.
Latest figures from the Bicycle Association show sales of bikes, bike parts, accessories and services increased by 45% across the UK in 2020, with the trend set to continue.
Conference information and tickets (£30.00)
Avoch to Munlochy Cycle path
TBI has been trying since 2014 to facilitate the creation of a cycle and pedestrian path to avoid the busy main road between Avoch and Munlochy. After a feasibility study identified possible routes, progress slowed in the face of anticipated problems in acquiring the necessary land. Activity resumed in 2019 with a further consultants' review of the route and the recent announcement of a public consultation process, but problems over land acquisition remain unresolved.
TBI Convenor Julian Paren outlines the thinking behind the proposal for a path and reviews the progress to date.
Culbokie Community Cycle Club
Cycling clubs on the Black Isle
One of the unexpected benefits of Covid-19 has been the increased interest in cycling, and in Culbokie they have formed a new cycle club to help new and returning cyclists, and to give an opportunity for more experienced riders to find new pedal pals.
The Culbokie Club organises two club rides most weeks, sometimes more, and has also organised ride leader training and a roadside maintenance course for its members. And one of the benefits, in these days when socialising is difficult, is that the club rides are classed as “organised sport” so the rides are a rare chance for a blether with like-minded folk.
Over the coming weeks and months TBI is planning to work with the Culbokie Club to see if their model can be replicated in other Black Isle villages. For more details, contact Martin Sherring (email@example.com/ 07730 927518).
Velocity Cafe - GoByCycle and GetCycling
GoByCycle is a schools and community outreach programme
Our Go ByCycle project encourages and supports Active Travel in schools and communities either by walking, cycling, wheeling or parking & striding! We are currently working within the Millburn, IRA, Dingwall and Fortrose clusters.
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We organise and deliver free activities such as Bikeability (cycling proficiency), Essential Cycling Skills, cycle training, presentations, workshops, Dr Bike sessions and fun events such as Bike to School Week.
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As lockdown is easing we are offering outreach bike maintenance, led rides and ‘how to cycle safely’ sessions for individuals and households in Inverness and Mid Ross. If you’re interested, please complete this short form: ParticipUKt Info Form. Please also see our COVID-19 Information and Advice.
Please contact 07921 843374 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Active Travel and general cycling links have recently been moved from GoByCycle to a new GetCycling page.
This includes links to our new Active Travel map and the TBI website.
- Saturday 22 January
- NA Culbokie indoor and outdoor markets
- 11:00 Gaia Foundation Seed Saving course
- Wednesday 26 January
- 19:30 TBI Admin meeting
- Saturday 29 January
- 10:00 North Kessock Community Market
- Friday 4 February
- NA Scotland's Climate Assembly weekend 8
- Saturday 5 February
- NA Scotland's Climate Assembly weekend 8
- Sunday 6 February
- NA Scotland's Climate Assembly weekend 8
- Saturday 26 February
- NA Gaia Foundation Seed Saving Course
Events to add to calendar? Contact Us.
Add Your Business
Do you run a sustainable business on or near the Black Isle? Add it to the TBI business directory