Bike Security event in the Sir Ian Wood Building

Active Travel Fest at RGU: Two weeks of cycling extravaganza

By Clara Maurillon - 13 March 2024

Active Travel Fest takes place between Monday 18 and Friday 29 March this year and we have planned a range of cycling activities to promote sustainability as part of our mission to reach net zero. Our Campus Cycling Officer, Bianca Anechite, tells us more about the importance of giving cycling a spotlight and what we have in store to get our community involved.

What is Active Travel Fest and why is it important for the RGU community to take part?

From refurbished bike sales and led walks to bike maintenance workshops and a panel talk featuring guest speakers, Active Travel Fest aims to promote sustainability. This gives the University the chance to not only showcase the fantastic services available to staff and students, but also to highlight the journey to reaching net zero through the promotion of greener transport methods. 

Considering the current and future devastating effects of climate change, from flooding and storms to coastal erosion and loss of habitats and wildlife, it is more important than ever to be mindful of our practices.

Cycling in particular is an important part of this sustainability journey. Reports show that it can significantly reduce air pollution and congestion, particularly impactful when replacing journeys which tend to be less than two miles. 

Furthermore, other benefits such as increased fitness, better mental health, and decreased loneliness, only add to the appeal.

What is on at RGU during Active Travel Fest?

We have an exciting line-up of events for students and staff to take part in, including:

Dr Bike – Tuesday 19th March, 9.30am - 3pm

In partnership with Love to Ride and Adventure Aberdeen, we are finally able to host another Dr Bike at the Sir Ian Wood Building plaza!

Throughout the day, an experienced mechanic and cyclist will check everything on your bike, from wheels, brakes, gears and tyre pressure to lights, racks, pedals, saddles and more.

By the end, the bike will feel loved and cared for! Make sure to book a time slot by emailing Shona at Love to Ride.

Bike security session – Tuesday 19th March, 9.30am - 3pm

Alongside the Dr Bike session, students and staff have the opportunity to get their bikes registered and marked on the police database, in order to reduce the risk of stolen bikes.

Police Scotland will also be able to hand out some safety equipment, and teach about safe cycling behaviours, road signs, and answer any questions you may have. Just drop in throughout the day for this handy service.

Changing Gears: Inspiring Cycle Culture – Friday 22nd March, 1pm - 2:30pm

The last activity of the first week hosts five amazing panellists who will speak on all things cycling: Gavin Clark (Aberdeen Cycle Forum), Anna Vince (Cycling UK), Emma Roberts (Cycling UK), Martin Sharman (Critical Mass), and John Campbell (CTC Grampian).

From what got them started in the first place, to the impacts of barriers such as gender and infrastructure, and LEZ Aberdeen, it is guaranteed to be a fascinating talk.

This event is also open to the wider community, in order to tie in with NESCAN’s Climate Week North East. Make sure to book your spot on Eventbrite and come over to N117 in the Sir Ian Wood Building to join us!

Bike maintenance drop-in – Tuesday 26th March, 11am - 12:30pm

Join the amazing BikePad crew in a drop-in workshop where you can learn the basics of bike maintenance.

From repairing tyre punctures, to knowing how to clean and store your bike appropriately, you can learn or brush up on important tips and tricks to keep your bike healthy.

This is particularly useful for anyone new to the cycling world, but also great for those who want a quick refresher. Just meet us at the SIWB Plaza!

Gear swap – Tuesday 26th March, 11am - 12:30pm

Join GoGreen, BikePad and RGU Transport in a Swap Event for bike lovers!

Got any old or unused bike accessories or clothes laying around? Bring them along and trade them for something handy brought in by fellow riders.

Let's pedal towards recycling, scoring some exciting gear for your next cycling escapade along the way.

Refurbished bike sale – Thursday 28th March, 10am - 3pm

We've partnered with Angus Cycle Hub and Stella’s Voice to host a refurbished bike sale on campus. The bikes on offer will be affordable (from £40) and eco-friendly as they have been given a second life to avoid ending up in landfills.

This event is open to everyone, so even if you have never cycled but are ever so slightly interested, make sure to pop down to the Riverside Building Plaza.

Your new bike can be delivered within 1-2 weeks of purchase.

Cycling confidence training – Friday 29th March, 10.30am - 4pm

If you have ever wanted to learn how to ride a bike, then our Cycling Confidence Training will be the perfect opportunity! Our tutor, the fantastic Tim Bowden, will provide one-to-one teaching for 40 minutes, along with the bike and helmet needed.

As there are limited slots available, make sure to book a time slot on Eventbrite and head down to car park 4, next to the SIWB.

Please contact me if there are no spaces available, so that you can be added to the waitlist.

How can our community continue to get involved beyond Active Travel Fest?

Although Active Travel Fest is a great way to promote sustainability, there are many opportunities for the RGU community to get involved beyond these two weeks.

The student-led service BikePad, situated at Woolmanhill, offers bike hires for as little as £20 a semester, along with free repairs on your bike. This is perfect for those not wanting to commit to buying a bike long-term.

Furthermore, there are various groups around Aberdeen and the shire which offer led rides. This is the perfect way to get a bit more confidence cycling on roads or throughout the countryside in a group situation, while also meeting new people.

Some events, such as the cycling confidence session and the refurbished bike sale will also potentially be continued throughout the year, giving those new to cycling a chance to continue their practice at a free/low cost!

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