OAN Setterday ah loadit up a couple o ma auld Flying Scot racin bikes an heidit doun the Ayrshire coast tae Girvan. This wis tae tak pairt in a day’s cyclin ongauns unner the auspices o the Big Bike Revival an a new local cyclin initiative The Girvan Wheelers.

The event wis hauden at the new Quay Zone in the toun. This is a braw new leisure faceelity in the harbour area that’s juist bin biggit at a cost o £5.4 million.

The Scottish Government haes bin involved in mony sic projects ower the past 10 years, giein a heize tae buildin projects tae help impruive wir nation’s health.

The Quay Zone hus a state o the airt 25-metre swimmin pool, saft play area, a byordnar fitness gym, wi the addeetion o a multi-purpose studio an community space, chaingin feceelities an a café.

At the weekend it wis breengin wi families an weans an seems a richt guid new asset tae the place.

The Big Bike Revival an Girvan Wheelers fowk hud strategically set up their stall forenenst the Quay Zone buildin. The waither wis a bit breezy an cloudy, but it steyed dry an nou an agane the sun keeked throu the cloods. The organiser fir the project wis Sally Johnston. Sally is a rael livewire, the kindae lassie wha’s burstin wi enthusiasm an energy. She’s employed bi Firstport, a social enterprise organisation that haes bin brocht oan buird tae get the Girvan Wheelers aff the grund. Sally is the lead oan the What if … Girvan programme, ettlin at supportin stairt-up schemes an ither siclike development projects.

Sally wis ably assistit bi a sma team o keen local cyclin enthusiasts; frae wee bit bairns tae full-oan Mamils (middle aged men in Lycra!). There wis somethin tae cater fir cyclin tastes in evri age group.

Ah unloadit ma pair o Flying Scots an set thaim up bi the main stall. There wis a fair bit o interest in the auld machines; Jeff Frew (ages wi masel an the development oafficer fir the Big Bike Revival) said, in a voice tinged wi regret, that he hud sell’t his Flying Scot a while syne, an wis keen tae try an fin anither ane. We exchanged nummers an ah said ah’d see gin ah cuid track a frame doun fir him. Onybody oot there wi a 20in frame? Ye cuid mak an auld man verra happy!

Ah hud a blue fully-restored bike; an a totally unrestored 1950s model, wi its oreeginal pent wark! Jeff hud a hurl oan the unrestored bike, wi its Benelux gears – an a fowr speed cog! The gear shift warks erse fir elbae oan that setup, sae Jeff wis taen richt back tae a different era o cyclin aa thegaither! We cuid aamaist see the ghaist o Davie Bell, “The Highwayman” (legendary Ayrshire cyclist) amangst the onluikers! Jeff an masel craiced fir a while anent auld bikes an cyclin, he’s a rael advocate fir the sport – an fir gettin young anes oan tae their bikes!

The Big Bike Revival in Scotland ettles tae help mak a reality the Scottish Government’s veesion o 10 per cent o journeys bi bike bi 2020. This is aa pairt o the wider an bigger Cycling UK group. They aa want tae see cyclin re-establisht as a practical, normalised, an evriday acteevity in fowks’ lives.

Amang the flags, bunting an stalls Sally an her helpers, lik local mum Lynne Sykes wi her wee boy, wir giein oot promotional flyers, free cyclin watter boattles, badges an siclike tae the fowk croodin roond, speirin anent whit wis gaun oan.

Alan Vass, Cycle Station project manager at Kilmarnock train station wis their wi his van an team. Alan wis Dr Bike fir the day! Ye cuid tak yer bike tae him an he wid sort oot ony wee technical issues fir ye free o chairge – settin up brakes, tichtenin heidsets, adjustin gears, etc. Alan alsae hud a fantoosh bike trailer an hud brocht alang aboot 10 electric bikes fir fowk tae hae a shoat o. Ah’d ne’er bin oan yin o these, sae oot wi the auld an in wi the new! Alan gien me a quick leccy bike lesson – an we wir aff alang the promenade! It wis quite a revelation! Ye cuid fair feel the electric pouer pu’in the bike forrit! Appairently the battery is guid fir a 70-mile run, an taks three/fowr hours tae chairge up. Ah wis fair taen oan wi the leccy bike!

A burger stall wis duin a roarin tred, a mobile disco beltit oot pop music, an weans likesay, frae toddlers oan wee “balance bike”’ tae teenagers gettin their mountain bikes fettled, wir aa cyclin roond the Quay Zone in their droves!

Aa in aa ah think Sally, Jeff, Alan an the ithers are duin a richt braw joab in giein a heize tae the Girvan Wheelers an gettin fowk o aa ages an abeelities interestit in cyclin in their ain airt.

Ah howp the initiative really taks aff an luik forrit tae mair Big Bike Revival events aa roond the kintra! Check oot their future events by clicking this link  – an get oan yer bike!