Martin’s Bike Column – October 08

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Glasgow West, Local News

Pothole Patrol

I joined Councillor Danny Alderslowe on pothole patrol outside Queen’s Park just after 7.30 am recently, writes Martin Graham. The idea was to make cyclists aware of the Council’s commitment to repair potholes within 24 hours on main roads and within 5 days on side roads. We handed out leaflets and free bike maps to over 50 people and the response was tremendous: people were delighted that someone was taking an interest. Also, there was an element of camaraderie which let cyclists know that there were other folks out there concerned about their issues.

If you spot a pothole you can call the council on 0800 373635 to report it. You can also let Danny know via email at


Pedal for Scotland

This year’s Pedal for Scotland took place on 14 September, and was the biggest yet, with over 5000 people making the 55 mile journey from Glasgow Green to Victoria Park in Edinburgh, via Linlithgow and South Queensferry.

There were plenty of refreshment stops on the way, and Avonbridge Parish Church laid on their usual home baking tent for the ravenous cyclists. The pit stop was needed as one of the biggest hills on the route is just after that village. At Linlithgow, Sustrans had a huge tent serving pasta, soup and sandwiches, the queue was massive!

Participants ranged from experienced cyclists to complete novices and special mention must be made of Patrick, aged 5, who was enjoying the day with his dad.


Bad Luck in the Clyde Cycle Tunnel

I’ve had a run of punctures recently, then a broken chain out at Mugdock Park. To trump it all, I was out on a ride with my brother and we went through the Clyde Tunnel. My bro ended up crashing just at the bend on the southbound cycle path. Luckily he was wearing a helmet and his wheels took the brunt of the force, but it could have been much worse, as the tunnel is a very enclosed space with a metal barrier running down it.

The tunnel is a great route linking Govan and Yoker, and is the only way to negotiate the river between the Science Centre and the Ferry at Whiteinch.

Glasgow City Council has recently secured funding to progress some upgrades to the tunnel, including a controlled entry system supported by CCTV cameras. Hopefully, this should discourage anti-social behaviour in the tunnel and make it a more pleasant environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

There is also talk of a new ferry between Govan and Partick which would re-instate a centuries-old link.

Rocks New Sponsors

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow West, Local News

The happy lads at Scottish Rocks are really pleased with the vehicles which Motorpoint will be providing now that the Mount Vernon company is a major sponsor of the professional basketball team.

New strips and eight new cars from Motorpoint are the result of the latest sponsorship deal struck by the Scottish Rocks professional basketball team.

The cars, valued at over £120,000, have the rocks’ logo on them and include Vauxhall Astras, Vectras, ZAVIRA/SAVIRA and Ford Fiestas.

The new strips feature joint sponsorships between Motorpoint and returning sponsor, Stewart Asset Management Group (SAMG).

The deal will serve the team for the current British Basketball League season which starts this month. (Oct 08) Motorpoint located in Mount Vernon, Glasgow, five years ago and is the only Scottish branch of the company. The busy place has customers travelling from all over Scotland. Last year they bought 85,000 cars.

Steve Wright, Public Relations Manager at Motorpoint said: ‘We are really pleased to support this up-and-coming professional basketball team. We have similarities in trying to become the best we can be and to become much bigger which is what the Rocks are also trying to do. It makes sense for us to support them and to inspire them to succeed.’

Sarah Bell, Senior Commercial Manager at the Rocks said: ‘This is a very exciting partnership for us. Motorpoint are an ambitious company and we are thrilled to be with them as they continue to grow and evolve.’

Rob Yanders, Captain and Point Guard said: ‘Everybody in the team is delighted with these new cars and strips. We feel really inspired by this and we are hopeful of winning this season.’

Vinicombe Street Garage Meeting

October 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow West, Local News


Around 40 campaigners trying to save the threatened Vinicombe Street Botanic Gardens garage from demolition and redevelopment proposed by owners Arnold Clark Automobiles, were urged to lodge new objections to the new planning applications.

Said Dr Sam Maddra, chair of the Save the Botanic Gardens Garage group: ‘This garage is at risk of being demolished. Thanks to the efforts of our campaign, it has been A listed which means its importance is nationally and internationally recognised. Demolition is unthinkable. But people must lodge objections again because this is a new application for planning permission. All previous objections are no longer relevant because  they apply only to that previous application.’

Ann Laird of Friends of Glasgow West, a voluntary amenity society, gave detailed advice on how to frame objections. ‘It is a little like being at a wedding when the question is asked  – ‘does anyone here know of any legal impediment to thsi marriage?’ – It is not a case of you don’t want the marriage to go ahead because you don’t like the idea. You must have objections which can stand up in law.

She pointed out that there was an application to demolish the Vinicombe Street garage, leaving the facade and there was a separate application for a new building. ‘It is a technical game, but you must lodge objections to both applications. That can be done in the one letter.’

The meeting, held in Hillhead Library community hall, was chaired by Jean Charsley who is chair of Hillhead Community Council. She urged everyone to spread the word and lodge objections. ‘This development is contrary to the City Plan for the area.’

According to Ann Laird, if there was no public fuss over the intentions of Arnold Clark, ‘Glasgow City Council just might let them do what they want to do.’

A spokeswoman for Arnold Clark told the LOCAL NEWS the company had no comment to make. She explained that when an application was going through the planning process, the applicant was inhibited from making any comment as the planning authorities could take exception to their decision being pre-empted in any way.

See or email:

The Botanic Gardens Garage in Vinicombe Street off Byres Road is the oldest surviving multi-storey car park in the UK. It was built between 1896 and 1912 and was designed by David Valentine Wyllie. Efforts by the Save the Botanic Gardens Garage campaign resulted in the premises being ‘A’ listed. The building is owned by Arnold Clark Automobiles. The company has submitted a new application to Glasgow City Council’s planning department for partial demolition and redevelopment of the A-listed structure.

Pressure from the campaigners a year ago, resulted in Arnold Clark Automobiles withdrawing its initial application to demolish the garage and build flats and retail units on the site. A new application has been made by the company which again shows that the garage buildings would be demolished and replaced by a four-storey complex for mixed residential, leisure and retail use but saving the facade.

Pothole Patrol

October 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Cycling, Local News

Andy Ross and Cllr Danny AldersloweCouncillor Danny Alderslowe has been on pothole patrol at various locations in the city, encouraging cyclists to report potholes to the Council and get them repaired.

The Council has a service commitment to repair potholes on main roads within 24 hours and on side roads within five days. Potholes are particularly hazardous for cyclists as they often occur at the edges of roads where cyclists usually ride. Swerving to avoid them can place cyclists in danger as they can come into contact with passing traffic. Danny told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘It’s great to see so many people cycling these days, but if the roads are in poor condition it discourages people from using their bikes. And it is especially difficult for new cyclists. Potholes are a serious hazard.’

The council’s pothole hotline number is 0800 373635.

Nursing Major Wins Top Award

October 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Local News

Major Janet PilgrimDubbed a modern day Florence Nightingale, Major Janet Pilgrim who is currently based in Glasgow, has received one of the highest honours in military nursing. She goes to Buckingham Palace later in the year to collect the Royal Red Cross.

This rare honour was introduced by Queen Victoria and recipients include Florence Nightingale. Major Pilgrim (41) is also in the running for the title of Ultimate Heroine in a competition run by Cosmopolitan magazine to celebrate inspirational women.

A very modest woman, Major Pilrim told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘The magazine heard my story and I’ve been short listed. It’s a fairly spectacular thing and lovely to be nominated.’

As a member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, Major Pilgrim was under constant enemy fire while leading the team of 109 staff in Basra’s air base hospital between May and September last year. She said: ‘The insurgents were firing missiles while we worked, just to let us know they were there. I was responsible for patients from the front door to getting them back to the UK.’

The hospital, the busiest military field hospital since the Falklands War, was a fifty bed unit with an emergency department, theatres and laboratories. In one incident the place was left with an entire department destroyed and without power and water. Twenty soldiers died and Major Pilgrim insisted in personally leading the team who prepared each body for repatriation. Her Royal Red Cross award was awarded for her courage and devotion. She will find out on November 5 if she will be crowned Cosmopolitan’s Ultimate Heroine. Meanwhile she is quietly working in Glasgow within the Army’s Human Resources Department.

Close Condemned in Govanhill

October 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

Residents at 276 Langside Road were evacuated at short notice after their building was condemned as unsafe by Glasgow City Council. The Council’s Building Control department had been contacted by the factor following concerns about dry rot in the basement.

The tenement is in the G42 postcode area where £2 million has been allocated by the Council to stop the neighbourhood becoming a slum.

Seven of the eight flats in the close were occupied. Now the ground floor windows have been sealed with metal shutters, the close door has been padlocked and a DANGER sign erected.

Next door neighbours knew nothing about the evacuation when it happened on Friday October 5.

Resident John Fleming told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘I came home from work at about 4.45pm and saw people leaving the building with their possessions. It was like a mass flitting. The Council’s community and safety services department have been in the area all week doing work to improve the environment. The Council guys were even helping folks to move their stuff.’