November 2021

Pedalled on COP26

Congratulations to the magnificent 200/300 people who cycled from Edinburgh to Glasgow through unforgiving weather to demonstrate their climate concern and to highlight the vital place of bikes in a more climate-friendly transport future. And to the magnificent organisers, Edinburgh Critical Mass & @AlexDRobertson for the Edinburgh ride. And to Pedal on Parliament & Cycling UK Scotland for the whole event, with over 1000 people arriving by bike in 20+ feeder rides.



COP26 and Transport – blog by Jim Densham of Cycling UK Scotland
Pedal on POP26 report by PoP with lots more great photos
PoP press release

With fears rising that the COP26 talks in Glasgow won’t deliver the action needed to avoid a dangerous rise in global temperatures, an estimated 1,000 cyclists have converged on the city to draw attention to the role bikes could play in cutting emissions with the urgency that is needed. Riding under the banner ‘This Machine Fights Climate Change’, grassroots campaigners cycled from as far afield as Aberdeen, Inverness and Dumfries. They joined riders of all ages and from every corner of Glasgow to march through the city as part of a larger mass mobilisation for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. A mass ride of about 200 riders also set off from Edinburgh to Glasgow to bring the same message to the world leaders at the conference.

Coordinated by Pedal on Parliament (the campaign for safer cycling in Scotland), over 20 ‘Pedal on COP’ rides were organised by individuals, campaign groups and local businesses across the country who are frustrated at seeing cycling and active travel overlooked as part of the solution to catastrophic climate change. With transport emissions rising in the UK and other developed countries, the slow pace of change towards electric cars will not be sufficient to deliver the cuts in carbon that experts agree are needed within the next few years. Pedal on Parliament argue that, as well as avoiding emissions by switching away from private car journeys, investing in the conditions that enable a greater number of people to cycle helps build more sustainable cities and stronger
communities – something that simply swapping internal combustion engines for zero emissions vehicles cannot do.

Organiser Iona Shepherd, a prominent Glasgow campaigner who has also been campaigning locally to stop cycle routes being blocked by the conference closures, said that the message of the ride was aimed as much at individual cities as at world leaders. “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, another long-term Pedal on Parliament organiser who led a group of cyclists over 90 miles from Dumfries to take part 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, one of the Edinburgh Critical Mass team which organised the mass ride from Edinburgh, 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.”

More great pictures/videos
CargoBike soup

Lovely to see a Cargo Bike which Spokes had supported being used to dispense soup to the rained-on multitudes!

Thanks to @davecykl for tweeting this. Though we can’t claim credit for the soup!!


If you feel inspired to contact your MSPs…

there’s some current issues and ideas on our website here…



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