Active Travel

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”Arthur Conan Doyle

Last week was Climate Week Scotland. Blink and you missed it. What with the covid-19 crisis and the looming Brexit crisis, the national media have little room for a Climate Crisis. But all is not lost; I will review the important aspects of this little-known campaign.

First up was Active Travel. Under the banner of Walk, Wheel or Cycle the Scottish Government is encouraging us to get out more and exercise, take trips or even commute to work using just our leg power. Have you noticed how people have been doing just that during lockdown? Out in the Shire we see many more people strolling about and lots of cyclists touring the countryside.

I would add Run to the trio of Walk, Wheel and Cycle. Running is up there with cycling as a great aerobic exercise; good for the heart, the spirit and the waistline. And, if you leave the car at home, carbon emissions are reduced too. What’s not to like?

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I’m just going to harangue you, dear reader. It’s time to get out in the fresh air and enjoy some exercise in nature’s gymnasium. But, I hear you say, there’s nowhere around me to safely walk/run/wheel/cycle. This is the usual excuse for putting off outdoor exercise. During the early days of covid-19, cyclists took advantage of traffic-free roads and country lanes. Now that people are able to travel more freely, traffic has built up again and drivers are getting frustrated with cyclists and vice-versa. There are many more letters to the Press and Journal complaining about “pesky cyclists”, as it were. What to do about this? You could add to the P&J Letters page, but better to complain to your elected representatives. After all, it’s their job to represent you!

Start with www.writetothem.com

Use the app/website to contact your councillors and respectfully demand that the City or Shire make better provision for active exercise. And where a council announces proposals like Aberdeen’s ‘Active Travel Action Plan’ this week, write to them and let them know you support them. Cycle lanes, dedicated traffic free routes and green open spaces are all great opportunities for exercise.

Demand these things from your Council. This is democracy at work.

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir