A Dumfries-based campaign group has beaten off competition from across Scotland to win a grant to encourage people living in the area to get on their bikes for shopping trips and other everyday journeys. The ‘Bike Message Challenge’ will offer participants the chance to win prizes if they run their errands, or get to work or school, in and around the town by bike – not just helping to cut congestion and parking woes in Dumfries, but also acting as a boost to local businesses.

Cycling Scotland have granted local campaigners Cycling Dumfries over £1,800 for their challenge which will run for six weeks in May and June. Competitors can get their cards stamped at participating businesses and organisations across town, but can also prove they have made a trip by bike with a ‘selfie’ of them and their bike. The funding comes from the Cycle Friendly Communities fund which attracts entrants from across Scotland and this is the first time a Dumfries-based organisation has been successful.

Campaign co-ordinator Sally Hinchcliffe said, “As regular cyclists, we know that the bike is not just a practical way to get around town – it’s also the most fun. But a lot of people just don’t think of cycling because they’re used to just stepping into the car, saving the bike for weekends. We thought we’d inject a little bit of adventure into the everyday routine of shopping, running errands, even going to work or school. By the time the challenge is over, we’re sure some people won’t want to go back to the car – after all with a bike, you’re never stuck in traffic, and there’s always somewhere to park.”

Organiser Rhian Davies said, “We hope that this will provide a boost to local businesses who may not realise that their customers don’t always come by car. Taking part in the challenge will demonstrate that they’re a bike-friendly business – and cyclists are loyal customers. People who walk or cycle to the shops actually spend more in the long run than those who drive, and they are also more likely to shop in locally-owned businesses rather than out-of-town superstores. This can only benefit the local economy all round.”

Cycling Dumfries campaigns to improve conditions for anyone who wants to cycle in and around Dumfries

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