ORGANISERS of Inverness’s first Pedal on Parliament (PoP) cycle ride are urging people to turn out this weekend and show support for active travel in the city.
This weekend’s event comes as thousands of cyclists flood the city for the annual Etape Loch Ness cycle sportive on Sunday.
Local politicians will be among the speakers at Saturday’s PoP event, which begins at Bellfield Park at 11.30am and involves a leisurely ride to Highland Council headquarters on Glenurquhart Road.
Campaigners are calling for more investment in cycle routes in Inverness and across the Highland area to make it a safer, healthier and happier place to live and work.
The Inverness event coincides with other Pedal on Parliament rides across Scotland, with mass cycles in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow also planned.
This year is the first year Inverness has taken part in PoP and hopes are high for a good turnout.
Mark Falconer, a local cyclist who is behind the Pedal on Parliament ride, told the HN: "Inverness is a cycling hotspot this weekend, showing off its famous Highland hospitality to thousands of visitors.
"What we are hoping to do on Saturday is ensure it will be welcoming for those of us who live and work here all year round.
"Please come along with the family and make your hopes for an active travel plan known to our elected officials.
"The route is suitable for all and we will not be rushing. The roads are open so follow the law and respect other road users and enjoy this day out safely."
The route will see cyclists leave Bellfield Park and ride along Haugh Road onto Castle Road before crossing Ness Bridge and turning left onto Ness Walk. The cyclists will then pass Eden Court before turning right onto Bishop’s Road to reach the council offices.
Green party transport spokesman MSP John Finnie will be among the speakers at the ride, along with representatives of the SNP and Transition Black Isle.
People attending the event are also being asked to contact their MSPs via the www.writetothem.com website to show the importance of the issue.
They can also share photos on the day via social media using #POPInverness and #POP2017.
People are asked to arrive at Bellfield Park by 11.15am for a pre-ride briefing before setting off in groups from 11.30am.
PoP calls on all Scotland’s politicians to sign up to an eight point manifesto in order to make cycling a realistic choice for all ages and to show the rest of the UK that cycling doesn’t just belong to continental Europe.
The manifesto calls for proper funding for cycling, safer speeds where people live work, and play, and cycling incorporated into the design of roads.