Cycle Connections was set up by Queen Margaret Universities Sustainable Transport Team as a tool to increase active travel rates amongst staff and students as well as creating a scheme through which to hire bikes, run events, offer training and to source funding.
Our key aim is to create an environment that places walking and wheeling at the top of the transport hierarchy, where it is convenient, safe, social and enjoyable and where the facilities align with the demand.
Now in it’s eighth year, we have run multiple internship programmes, secured funding from Cycle Scotland for a fleet of hire bikes for students, have 6 e-bikes available for hire to staff and students thanks to the Energy Saving Trust . Some of the events we run are monthly Bike Breakfasts, Led Rides and Dr Bike sessions for free.
We run an annual travel survey which collects data on commuting habits and opportunities for improvement. Our 2019/2020 travel survey revealed that 21% of staff and students commute actively ( our full transport survey is available here).
We are constantly looking for new ways to promote active travel and engage our community. In 2020 we created the Universities first art exhibition. It was titled Wayfinding and looked at the theme of Transport and the Environment. Entries were received from staff, students, local artists and local schools. It aimed to generate conversation around our travel habits and our relationship with the surrounding environment. Due to the Corona pandemic the exhibition was moved online and can be viewed at wayfinding2020.wordpress.com
Our active social media presence enables us to form relationships with individuals, promtoe events and gain feedback. A major barrier to active travel that is often mentioned is lack of confidence and perceived safety. We target this by offering free one-to-one cycle skills events run by our Bikeability and Cycle Ride Leader trained interns. We recently applied for funding to offer further instructor training to 4 members of staff and students so that even more people can access this valuable service.
Since lockdown we have adapted our services, we have continued to offer semester long bike hire, while also running Wellness Walks for students living on campus and creating short videos of local cycle routes.
We are a small team here at QMU but are passionate about engaging people in the benefits of active travel. You can take a look at some of the things we do and get in touch to discuss ideas via our facebook or visit our website.