I thought I was juggling when we just had one charity to run but the past four months has taken my juggling skills to a whole new level. And all in a good way. Andrew’s sudden and early death in January has reinforced my already strong belief in living each day as best you can and as fully as you can.
Our way of honouring him is to work with others to try to make cycling a safer mode of transport in Scotland generally and Edinburgh in particular. The ‘others’ have included very supportive MSP’s especially Alison Johnstone who tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament in March and who now has the bit between her teeth and will continue to push for action.
But it’s hats off to the Pedal on Parliament team – this is a small group of enthusiastic and experienced cyclists who started to talk about this idea in December but really only got properly going in February. They wrote a manifesto which is sensible and achievable and through considerable use of social media and other media they spread their word far and wide. They organised a Pedal on Parliament cycle ride from the Meadows in Edinburgh down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 28 April. (coinciding with one in London on the same day).
Ian and I were invited to join them and we did our bit in advance to promote the manifesto, petition and cycle ride. Dave Brennan, one of the organisers, told me he hoped for 300 cyclists. By 2pm as we assembled at the Meadows, it looked as though that target would be met. We even had the Lothian and Borders Police bike section as our escorts. The atmosphere was celebratory, happy, positive and noisy. And it got noisier the closer we got to the start at 3pm. By that time, it was hi viz jackets and bike helmets as far as the eye could see. After a very poignant minute’s silence there was a mass ringing of bike bells which signaled the start of the ride. I don’t mind admitting I was worried I would wobble or fall off my bike – it was three years since I had been on it. I needn’t have worried – with the support of the crowds around us we were absolutely fine cycling. It was a short cycle ride really (though we did cycle there and back from home so our round trip was about 8miles) but by the time we reached the Scottish Parliament there were still cyclists leaving the Meadows.
Estimated numbers were 3000 cyclists took part. Variety was certainly the name of the game – tandems with tagalongs, unicycles, toddlers on bikes with stabilisers, you name it and it was there. The age range was from, well a baby inside mum looking as though it was due to appear soon, to lets say the more mature generation.
The Police said it was one of the friendliest demonstrations they had attended. I hadn’t even considered it was a demonstration and so it was a first for me – never been on a demonstration before and proud that this one was my first. After his own short speech Dave Brennan handed over to me to say a few words and then Mark Beaumont, the round the world cyclist – and then to the politicians who had either cycled with us or come to support at the end.
I mention all this to you because it is the highlight of my month as far as Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust is concerned. It was a quite extraordinary day – a day of peaceful and joyful campaigning and one I hope with all my heart sees the start of change in cycling facilities in our country.
My cup brimmeth over this month though as I had yet another highlight and one which means so very much to me. Unknown to me, STV Local, had written a tribute piece about me on their local website. It was very very nice and they had spoken to quite a few people for quotes. I was a wee bit embarrassed by it all though and didn’t share it on social media. Others did though and soon I had a flurry of comments from parents, supporters and young people. The comments that mean the absolute most to me though are the ones from four teenagers – their appreciation of my work and support to them shows me that I am getting it right. And that is what I am going to keep trying to do.
I love my inspirational quotes as you may know by now. I just got a new poster from a new website called Holstee and from it now I give you this opening quote
This is Your life – Do what you love and do it often.