Overcast skies and the threat of rain failed to dampen the spirits of the crowd that gathered in Cambuslang Park, just outside Glasgow, earlier this month (July 2014) for the official launch of the CamGlen (Cambuslang and Rutherglen) Bike Town project.

A five metre high mirrored Bike Tower had been built on site the previous day (watched over during the night by two security guards) and there was a queue of adults and children waiting to have their bikes hung up on the sculpture and photographed.

biketown-logo_230_170Around 40 organisations including the local authority, community council, amenity groups and clubs, are involved in the CamGlen Bike Town project, which is being run by the Happy n Healthy Community Development Trust, set up in 2002 with the aim of making Cambuslang and Rutherglen the “healthiest and happiest places to live in Scotland.”

CamGlen Bike Town is the latest project undertaken by the Trust whose activities cover the physical, emotional and mental well being of the community – and they even have a radio station!

Says John Cassidy, a director of Healthy n Happy: “The Bike Town project got off to a great start at the end of last year when we heard we’d been successful in a bid for £272,000 funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

“This has enabled us to employ three, full-time people, for two years. We’ll also be able to buy a small fleet of bikes that can be used by people who want to take up cycling again or have never learned to ride a bike but would like to have a go.”

Even before the official launch, a series of Dr. Bike sessions had been held, offering free safety checks and advice on how to carry out simple repairs.

Bike Town will be working with local organisations to further generate the positive image of the town centres of Cambuslang and Rutherglen according to John Cassidy.

As well as encouraging more local people to get on their bikes, the Bike Town branding (a specially designed logo appears on badges, bags and tee shirts) is also intended to attract cycling visitors to the bike-friendly area, thereby boosting the economy and encouraging the creation of new local businesses and jobs.

Bike Town is in discussions with the local authority about identifying a piece of land beside the Clyde near a national cycle route (NCR) which will be developed as an active travel hub where, among other services, commuters could leave their cars and get on a bike to cycle to their work in Glasgow.

Other plans include creating a cycling activity area for children; improving the infrastructure for cycling . . . and opening a healthy drinks cafe where customers can hop on a static bike to power the machine that blends their smoothies!