Cycling at West College Scotland
The WCS Bike User Group is a college-wide project which aims to support the staff and students who currently cycle, and to encourage others to take it up by making it as accessible and fun as possible.
For more information, to sign up for the mailing list, or to get involved, please contact our dedicated Cycling Officer at Suvi.firstname.lastname@example.org, or come along to one of our events.
Check out this page for further information and useful tips on cycling.
- It’s a great way to start the day, making you feel more refreshed and more alert
- It can save you money in the long term
- It’s an easy way of including exercise in your daily life and can improve both mental and physical health
- It’s environmentally friendly and allows you to get around at your own speed, without having to rely on bus or train schedules
- It can often be faster or take the same amount of time as other forms of transport. Even when slightly slower, it’s far more enjoyable than sitting in a traffic jam
- No need to fight for a car parking space, and you’ll help tackle congestion at the same time!
- Showers and changing rooms are available within the gym on level 2
- Around 45 bike parking spaces at the front of the college
- Workstand and a toolkit to carry out repairs – speak to the motor vehicle department
- Outdoor maintenance stand with tools to conduct basic repairs by the Riverside entrance
- Lockers in gym changing rooms – need old pound coin or supermarket trolley token!
- 30 bike parking spaces on campus, of which 2/3 are sheltered. These can be found in front of the entrance to the Renfrew North building. The non-sheltered racks are located in front of the Oakshaw building
- Workstand and a toolkit to carry out repairs – speak to the motor vehicle department
- Workstands and a toolkit to carry out repairs – get in contact with the motor vehicle department
- 10 secure bike lockers located in the covered staff car park – please get in touch if you are interested in a space
Improving facilities at Greenock is a priority when funding becomes available
Helping you get started
If you’re thinking about cycling to college, we can help to make it as easy as possible.
- Bike hire – for more info click here
- Advice on anything and everything (within reason!) – from which bike to buy, to what clothes you need (or don’t) to where to find stuff on campus. Cycling Scotland also produce a very useful guide to cycling skills for beginners. The college have a number of physical copies which we can give away
- We will be offering frequent led lunchtime rides to help build confidence and skills – we can tailor these depending on the level of each rider and the specific needs of each group. To sign up for a session, please contact our dedicated Cycling Officer at Suvi.email@example.com
- One-on-one sessions for those not quite ready for group cycling. Please note: this is not for complete beginners, but rather for those who need a little more assistance before going out alone or with others
- Bike ‘buddies’ who will be able to join less experienced riders on their first few commutes, sharing their routes. Our buddies can meet anywhere on their route, and may be willing to make (slight) detours if asked nicely enough. Please get in touch with the Cycling Officer if you’d like to offer your support, or get in touch with any of our current buddies if you’d like to join them.
Suvi Loponen – Cycling Officer – Suvi.firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus: Mostly Clydebank, sometimes Paisley – can usually go to either if necessary
Route: Pollokshields, Glasgow via Scotstoun, Whiteinch, Yoker along the cycle path/via Mosspark, Cardonald, Crookston along Paisley Road West
George Kerr – MV Technician – email@example.com
Route: Inverkip, via Castle Levan and Gourock, almost entirely off-road along the coast
David Doherty – Engineering Lecturer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Route: G33 (Glasgow East End), via Glasgow Green, Clyde cycle path, Scotstoun, Whiteinch, Yoker, along the cycle path
Julie Laing – Curriculum Enhancement Lecturer – email@example.com
Route: Broomhill (near Partick), via Scotstoun, Whiteinch, Yoker, along the cycle path
Bernie Milligan – Development Funding Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Route: Cathcart, Glasgow, via Pollok Park, Mosspark, along the White Cart Water, Blackhall (once a week)
For those who are interested in making the leap into commuting by bike, we offer a bike hire facility which allows students and staff to get a taste for it and see whether it’s for them. This service is available for staff and students at all campuses, but the bikes must be picked up from Clydebank, as we unfortunately do not currently have the facilities to support moving them. We have 6 Raleigh Strada hybrids in a variety of sizes.
Bikes can be rented for as little as an hour up to a maximum of two weeks, and come with all the appropriate accessories. If you are interested in renting a bike, please contact our dedicated Cycling Officer at Suvi.email@example.com
Buying a Bike
Buying a Bike
Bike Radar have an excellent guide to buying a new bike on their website, which answers a lot of common questions new cyclists have. There are a number of shops in and around Clydebank and Paisley, which are all recommended. These include:
- CycleForm, Clydebank
- Bike Chain, Scotsoun
- Q Bikes, Paisley
- Dooley’s Cycles, Paisley
- The Bicycle Chain, Johnstone
- Magic Cycles, Bowling
Buying a used bike, especially a refurbished one, is the best path to go down for those who want a high-quality bike on a budget. £100-200 for a second-hand bike will go a lot further than for a new bike. Cycling Weekly have a good guide to buying second hand. You can find a link to majority of second hand bike shops in and around Glasgow here, although not all are as active. Particularly recommended are Bike for Good, whose bikes are guaranteed to be reliable and well-serviced. Community Tracks in Port Glasgow, De’ils on Wheels in Scotstoun, Pedalwise in Neilston and South West Community Cycles in Pollokshaws West also refurbish donated bikes to provide them to the local community at an affordable price. All of these groups exist to get more people cycling, and are also a fantastic contact point if you have any questions! Gumtree is always a good option, but comes with fewer guarantees that the bike will be in smooth working condition, so it is usually best to factor the cost of a service (around £40) into any price.
There are a number of great resources online for planning safe cycling routes to the college. Cycle Streets allows users to select between three different levels depending on experience (quietest, balanced, and fastest). Open Cycle Map is also a great way to visualise what the safest routes are likely to be, as it highlights cycle paths and trails. Google Maps is of course a great resource, especially when out and about, although it doesn’t make it as easy to establish how busy each street will be, or if there are quieter alternative routes nearby.
If you would like any assistance with route planning, please get in touch with the Cycling Officer. In the future, we hope that a number of current cyclists will be able to act as ‘bike buddies’, joining less experienced riders on their first few commutes and sharing their routes.
It’s also worth noting that bikes are allowed on trains, but not on buses, in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, or your bike develops a fault which can’t be fixed while at college.
From both east and west, the journey can be made almost entirely on a dedicated off-road cycle path. All these routes are virtually traffic-free, flat, pleasant to cycle on, and can be taken at your own pace, without the pressure of other vehicles. Those coming from Clydebank itself may struggle somewhat given the hills and speed of traffic on Kilbowie Road and Argyll Road, but it can certainly be done by those more confident.
Common journeys to the Clydebank campus along traffic-free routes:
- From Anniesland along the canal, through Knightswood
- From Bowling along the canal, through Old Kilpatrick and Dalmuir
- From Partick along the old railway line, through Whiteinch, Scotstoun and Yoker
There are shared use paths and wide pavements coming from both Port Glasgow and Gourock, and for those who wish to spend no time at all on the road, it is a very short walk from the end of the cycle paths to the college. Generally speaking, the roads in Greenock aren’t too busy, and traffic speeds are usually reasonably low.
- From Inverkip via Gourock along the waterfront, mostly using a shared use path
- Two options from Port Glasgow:
- The very steep diversion which had been in place since 2015 was recently repaired, which means the path is mostly flat and relaxing once again
- Along the waterfront, taking the pavement along the A8 from Port Glasgow Road to Dalrymple Street
These routes are also easily modified for access to the Waterfront campus, with even less time spent on the roads.
As there are few off-road routes, and not many cycle paths, access to our Paisley campus is not ideal for less experienced cyclists. Taking the pavement on Renfrew Road is one option which may make cycling a bit less daunting! The situation should however improve over the next few years, as Renfrewshire Council implement their Cycling Strategy.
For route planning around Paisley, please get in contact with our Cycle Officer.
Useful Information and Links
The information below contains answers to some frequently asked questions regarding cycling, and contains advice that even experienced cyclists can likely learn from.
While it can initially be daunting cycling on the road, many people do it safely every day. By following some simple advice from British Cycling, you can feel more confident, and learn to enjoy cycling, even amongst traffic. We are also happy to help those who are lacking in experience gain some on led rides. It is important that you always follow the Highway Code, both for your own safety and for that of other road users.
Unfortunately, bikes are a popular target for thieves, and cyclists can often make their job easier for them by not securing their bikes properly. To avoid becoming a statistic, please see here. The college are also very pleased to be able to offer regular cyclists a free high quality Sold Secure Gold D-lock in exchange for a poor-quality cable lock. Please get in touch with the Cycling Officer if you are interested.
For more complicated maintenance, beginners might be better off taking their bike into a shop. However many simple repairs can be undertaken with easy tools, and are worth learning. Made Good have dozens of excellent and informative videos covering just about everything that can go wrong with your bike, with a particularly handy series detailing the basics. For those looking to learn more about bike maintenance, there are a number of evening courses which run across Glasgow. Bike for Good also offer ‘Fix Your Own Bike’ sessions, with supervision from experienced bike mechanics. We are also looking into running an evening bike maintenance course at the college, and will be hosting various ‘Dr. Bike’ sessions, with a mobile bike mechanic coming to the campus.
What to Wear:
You absolutely do not have to wear lycra when getting about by bike. For shorter journeys (around 15-20 minutes) or if you’re cycling relatively slowly, you can most likely wear whatever you want. If your commute is longer, or you want to go a bit faster, you might want to avoid wearing cotton, as it can get a bit cold and damp once sweaty! It’s not necessary however. Even if you don’t want to, you should wear a helmet, as it could save your life someday. Lights are essential at night, and a reflective jacket (a hi-vis vest can be bought for £3 from Amazon) is also advised. A waterproof jacket when it rains is common sense, and waterproof trousers will make your life much happier (I recommend the kind that pack away in a bag, as you can just roll them up and put them in your backpack when you arrive). If you want to continue cycling through winter, it’s a good idea to add some extra items, as the link at the side details. You’ll most likely have a lot of the things you need around the house already. If you catch the cycling bug and want to buy more cycling-specific clothes, Road.cc have a great beginner’s guide.
The following is a list of various bike organisations around the west of Scotland. Some are community cycling initiatives intended to encourage more people to cycle, some are second-hand bike shops, and some are cycling groups who offer training and social group rides.
- Y Sort It Streetbikes, Clydebank
- Community Tracks, Port Glasgow
- Clyde Activity Bikes, Gourock
- Belles on Bikes, Inverclyde
- The Bothy, Inverclyde
- Pedalwise, East Renfrewshire
- Kustom Kruizers, Renfrew
- Ride 63, Clyde Muirshiel Park
- Canny Cycling, Bridge of Weir
- Bike For Good, Glasgow
- Belles on Bikes, Glasgow
- Free Wheel North, Glasgow Green
- Soul Riders Scotland, Pollokshields
- De’ils on Wheels, Scotstoun
- South West Community Cycles, Pollokshaws
- Drumchapel Cycle Hub