People are getting on their bikes to beat the lockdown blues according to a new report from Cycling Scotland.
The national cycling body said that bike journeys recorded before the first lockdown in March last year grew 52% from 62,629 in 2020 to 95,506 this year. Of course, more and more people had been taking to two wheels before the pandemic arrived – and cycling has always been popular in Aberdeen and across the north-east.
We’ve had a pedal through our archives to see how people have enjoyed cycling – both for fun and seriously – over the years.
Just to prove there’s nothing new about cycling being all the rage in Aberdeen, this photograph from around 1900 shows some fashionable cycling gear of the day… and not a scrap of Lycra in sight.
Cycling wasn’t all fun and games in the Granite City. During the Second World War the bike was one of the main means of transport around the city. This dramatic photo from 1941 shows an ARP (Air Raid Precaution) drill on Union Street when smoke bombs were let off and passers-by, on foot or bike, had to don gas masks.
The Great Inverurie Bike Ride is a hugely popular date in the north-east calendar – and a big fundraiser for charity, too. This photograph from 1989 shows riders at the start of the 25 mile run, for the event’s third outing. Some 110 riders raised around £4,100 for the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children.
This penny farthing made a real stir on the streets of Aberdeen in 1944. It was an antique by then, but had been collected in a salvage drive for the war effort. Inspector A. Adams of the Cleansing Department decided to have a go when he came across it.
Competitors take a tight bend during one of the heats in the 440 yards cycle sprint at the Aberdeen Wheelers’ meeting at Linksfield Stadium in August 1961.
Young cyclists were out in force at Aberdeen’s Westburn Park in 1983 for a bicycle inspection and safety check. Accident prevention officer John Senior has a laugh with some of the young cyclists.
The agony and the ecstasy of Scotland’s biggest cycle race is captured in 1982 when the Health Race – formerly the Milk Race – reached Aberdeen. A crowd of hundreds was treated to an explosive finish to the fourth leg at the Beach Boulevard. Our picture above shows Dutchman Hans Daams winning the stage in a final sprint.
Members of the Aberdeen Cyclists’ Action Group gather for a picture at Aberdeen’s Albyn Place before staging their rally to the beach in May 1980. They were calling for better bike routes and more rights for cyclists in the Granite City.
Grampian Cycle Touring Group prepare to leave from Girdleness Lighthouse in 1989 for a trip to Stonehaven on a route avoiding the main road. The club was founded three years before by Drumoak enthusiasts Richard and Margaret Nicholl.
A wave of confidence from the young cyclists taking their cycling proficiency tests at the Beacon Community Centre back in 1972.
Taking a well-earned break at Kincardine O’Neil were some of the 150 cyclists who took part in the seventh sponsored cycle run from Aberdeen to Ballater in aid of the North-east Mountain Trust in 1987.
The Great Moray Bike Ride took place around Elgin in 2006 in aid of Grampian Society for the Blind.
Pausing for breath after their marathon bike ride in aid of Aberdeen Children’s Society in 1997 are, from left, Nicky Rennie, Jackie Glennie, Les Black, Alan Bowie, Dave Kirton, Russell Taylor, Jim Grimmer, George Kirkbride and Cindy Sobo. The group raised £10,000 after taking on the 500km trek from Gallipoli to Ephesus in Turkey.
The Stonehaven Great Bike Ride was a hugely popular annual event, as can be seen by the riders taking part in its outing in 2003.
The start of the Scottish Provident City Centre Cycling League race in Aberdeen in August 1992 drew huge crowds of spectators.