Bridget is an active volunteer member of a Transition Town initiative campaigning for more active travel routes for cycling and walking.
She has created a local active travel map and secured the funding to distribute it to every schoolchild. Bridget has campaigned for improvements to local infrastructure to make sure they meet the needs for active travel for people of all ages and abilities.
"Apart from cycling around the Isle of Man at nine years old, tagging along with my mother’s Guide company, I had a normal active childhood in 1950s. In the 1980s I occasionally took my own daughter exploring by bike, finding a rural pub with chips and beer/Coke.
"But I only really got into cycling in my 50s when rehabilitating from an illness that kept me off work for 18 months. I found another feeble soul and we cycled weekly, exploring local tracks, quiet roads and cafes for lunch, starting with five miles up to 35 miles with hills. By then I knew how to cycle the seven miles to work avoiding traffic and tried to arrive at inspections not too muddy. People said I should make a map.
I joined a Transition Town initiative and got funds to create a green-travel map – to encourage walking, cycling and public transport, and explore our environment and heritage
"Then just before retiring, my husband suddenly died from a brain tumour, so I got into local community projects. I joined a Transition Town initiative and got funds to create a green-travel map – to encourage walking, cycling and public transport, and explore our environment and heritage. A map was given to every schoolchild, and we also provided road cycle training for the three local primary schools, and a car-free day – nicely illustrated by wrapping our parked cars in brown paper and string.
"With our local cycling organisations network I encourage improvements to the local infrastructure, major development plans and design standards, to meet the priorities of local cyclists, and all ages and abilities on wheels. I find that there are some advantages in being a community volunteer not limited by organisational remits and boundaries. You can persist for the right solutions. Though there is a long way to go.
"I raised funds and brought key people together to save and improve local paths, which takes persistence, but it all makes sense when you see people out enjoying them in these challenging times. Our local website features our maps and ideas for walks and cycles.
"I helped shape priorities for European LEADER funds in Forth Valley and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs area; supporting rural businesses by promoting cycle tourism. We have a project promoting our local national routes with day rides, in partnership with Sustrans and Visit Scotland.
I don’t feel disabled on a bike and enjoy the camaraderie of all ages, who wouldn’t normally chat to an old ‘granny’
"Six years ago I discovered e-bikes after I broke my leg and couldn’t walk far or ride an ordinary bike any more. But I could strap my crutches on my bike rack and still cycle door to door to meetings. I enjoy cycling holidays with my family and friends, as well as exploring on my own. I help with our local e-bike loan scheme which has encouraged people to buy their own e-bikes and keep cycling.
"I don’t feel disabled on a bike and enjoy the camaraderie of all ages, who wouldn’t normally chat to an old ‘granny’. I love cycling with my grandson on his balance bike and providing a challenge to my daughter on hills. Cycling gives me fun and focus, hopefully for some time yet."
Bridget was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Andrew Abbess, who said:
“Since her retirement Bridget has single handedly driven forward active-travel initiatives in the local community. Creating an active-travel map; securing funding and volunteers to renovate the closed road linking Dunblane and Bridge of Allan as an active-travel route; leading rides for the Sustrans local group; responding to many planning and highways applications to better consider cycling and disability access; encouraging local older people to consider the benefits of electrically assisted bikes. On days I feel tired and beaten down in my campaigning efforts I think of Bridget and am inspired to keep plugging away.”