Guardbridge – St Andrews Led Rides

This week we finally launched our Guardbridge Park and Pedal Scheme, which allows people who need to travel to and from St Andrews to park their cars at Guardbridge and cycle the rest of the way on FREE loaned bikes!

Bike Pool and the University’s Estates Department have been busy spending the last couple of months getting this scheme together, to make it ‘road-ready’. We were so excited that Ali (Transition), George (University Environment Team) and myself decided to get up bright and early on the scheme’s first day last Monday, and ride the route from Guardbridge to St Andrews. We were joined by Jim, Bike Pool’s local cycle mechanic who has worked hard to make sure that all the free loan bikes we are handing out are in good, safe riding condition, and came down specially that morning to do the same just before we started.

(l-r) Ali, Jim, and George getting ready to start the day with a bike ride.
(l-r) Ali, Jim, and George getting ready to start the day with a bike ride.

This is us at the new 20-bike shelter that has been installed at the Park and Pedal site. You can find the site just across the road the instantly recognisable Guardbridge Mill clock. We’ve taken down extra bikes to be stationed at the shelter so that if you need a bike in a hurry, there will be one waiting for you. My own bike currently has a broken pedal, so I was riding one of our folding loan bikes, on the right of the picture. Many people turn their nose up at it, but in fact it’s a nifty little runaround, and I often had to hold back from overtaking the others!

Don’t be fooled by Jim’s hood – it may have been cold, but it was a crisp, bright, dry morning. The perfect start to the scheme. For a short while we watched as several cyclists of all shapes and ages whizzed past us, no doubt on their own morning commutes.

We set off around 8.30, and very quickly managed to keep the cold at bay as we got the blood pumping. It was great to be actually able to enjoy our ride to work, separated from road traffic and in the morning sun. Without a windscreen or car roof, we could watch the whole pattern of lapwings on the fields, or look further out to the bright blue and grey-green brushstrokes of Eden Estuary and Tentsmuir Forest.

Sun and sky
Sun and sky

It was a sociable ride as well. Instead of all finding our own ways to work, we could come together and chat. The scheme may have launched but the work doesn’t stop here, so we talked about what our plans for the day were. It’s certainly one way to have a meeting!

The traffic-free route eventually came to an end at St Andrews Links. We came onto Old Guardbridge Road and continued our cycle into St Andrews. The road is quite quiet and particularly pleasant to ride alongside the historic course, with the spires of the town rising into view.

Coming off the cycle path and onto Old Guardbridge Road - Pose!
Coming off the cycle path and onto Old Guardbridge Road – Pose!

(An important thing to bear in mind: Although it is normally possible for bicycles to cycle both ways on Old Guardbridge Road, the works for the Guardbridge biomass pipeline have made this not possible. So cyclists heading the other way out of St Andrews towards Guardbridge should follow the main A91. Because of the roadworks, this section is one-way westbound and has a speed limit of 30mph, so will be much safer to ride on)

We all landed at our desks just a little after 9, (well, we probably shouldn’t have spent so much time stopping to take photos!) refreshed, exercised, and ready to start the day. It’s clear to see why we felt that way too – there are many proven benefits that cycling provides for the brain.

Want in? We want to share the benefits of sociable cycle commuting with everyone, so we’ll be holding led rides every Friday morning for the duration of the road closures. At the parking shelter, Jim will also be on hand to check up on any bicycle niggles you might have before starting out. The movement can only get stronger – imagine the fun of being in a group of 10, 20, 30 riders. This is your Park and Pedal Scheme, so take advantage of it. You can find all our led ride times below and here where you can also find all the details on how to rent one of our bikes yourself, if you haven’t got one already.

Friday 19th Feb from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am (this is tomorrow!)
Friday 26th Feb from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am
Friday 4th March from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am
Friday 11th March from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am
Friday 18th March from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am
Friday 25th March from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am
Friday 1st April from 8am to 9am with a led ride leaving at 8.30am

See you there!

Esmond

Sustainable Travel at Transition

ejs26@st-andrews.ac.uk