THE day began with a minute's silence to remember those who had died on Scotland's roads, the poignant revere punctuated with thousands of bicycle bells ringing in unison.

About 4000 cyclists converged on Holyrood yesterday for the Pedal on Parliament campaign to lobby for better funding and safer conditions.

The mass ride through Edinburgh was led by former world champion Graeme Obree alongside relatives of two cyclists who died.

Audrey Fyfe, 75, was killed after a car clipped her back wheel at a junction in Edinburgh in August 2011. Motorist Gary McCourt was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and given a five-year driving ban earlier this month.

Andrew McNicoll, 43, from Balerno in Edinburgh, died following a collision with a vehicle in the city in January 2012. A man has been charged in connection with the incident and is due to appear in court at a later date.

Lynne McNicoll, co-founder of the Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust, said: "There are so many people here, but there's one face in this crowd we're not seeing who would have been here and that's my stepson, Andrew. We can't change that but we can make a difference and thank you all for coming."

Addressing the crowd, Mr Obree said: "I came here to enlighten our politicians that we're not asking for spending here, but an investment, where young people can cycle freely and without fear.

"We want a network from our homes to our workplaces, shops, schools and everywhere we want to go. It's an investment in the health of the nation. If you can spend £800 million in one city on a tram, then you can find £100m for cycling."

Pedal on Parliament organiser Dave Brennan said: "It was a fantastic atmosphere and great to see so many people come along, especially the huge number of families with young children.

"There's a real hunger out there for conditions where everyone can ride, from eight to 80, and we're calling on the Scottish Government for the investment to make that a reality."

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, was heckled as he spoke to the crowd, reiterating the commitment of the Government to see 10% of journeys by bike by 2020.

He said: "Active travel is an important part of Scotland's climate change reduction targets. The Scottish Government are committed to making cycling easier and have funded a mutual respect campaign for all road users and are refreshing the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland."