I wondered why the image of an older citizen pedalling with glee through the streets of Amsterdam seemed to stay with me days after my recent cycling study visit to the Netherlands, and then it came to me.

I have never seen my mother on a bicycle. Not ever. Not even on family holidays.

The image captured perfectly the contrast between Scotland and the Netherlands. For the Dutch, age is no barrier to the everyday activity of cycling whereas for most Scots it is a minority pursuit made more difficult by the twin challenges of our turbulent climate and our inadequate cycling infrastructure.

Travelling to Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and the city-region of Arnhem Nijmagen it was obvious that the Dutch are the Rolls-Royce of cycling with their holy trinity of mass participation; integrated cycling and transport networks; and political commitment. They have 26% of all traffic movements done by bike. We have a paltry 2%.

Across the UK the imperative is for cities to aspire to European levels of cycling and that is why Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, London and Glasgow were represented in a delegation to explore the meaning behind the enticing slogan: "Love Cycling. Go Dutch."

The Dutch success was no accident. Of course, favourable topography and a cultural inclination towards cycling helped but conscious political decisions dating back to the 1970s prioritised cycling as a key mode of transport. The result has been major advances in road design and the reversal of extreme congestion in Dutch cities. In Amsterdam almost half of transport journeys are made by bike and across the Netherlands 50% of children travel to school by bike.

Glasgow can learn from the Dutch experience. We made errors in the past by shaping our city around the car and it is time to create a much more cycle-friendly city for our citizens and visitors.

There is demand and enthusiasm for change with an increase of 137% in cycle usage in recent years and the creation of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome has created a real buzz about cycling in Glasgow.

We need to maintain year-on-year progress with our infrastructure investment with a strong commitment to the development of an enhanced cycle network linked to the public transport network. More needs to be done to create space on our roads for safe cycling and we should continue to improve on making junctions less risky for cyclists.

We have an ambitious target of ensuring 10% of journeys are taken by bike in 2020 and in the modern age cities are in a constant struggle for space but building a more sustainable city has to be our overall aim.

We need to imagine a different way of doing things. In Glasgow we have a golden opportunity to redesign the unfairly maligned Sighthill estate. Why not have the scale of ambition of the Dutch new town Houten? Once a small village, it has grown to the size of a small city of 50,000 residents. Now known as the bicycle city of the Netherlands, it has been shaped by the principles of a cycle-friendly environment. Why not redesign radically the modes of transport and make walking and cycling the preferred choice in the new Sighthill?

I recall as a child working in my Uncle Tommy's newsagent shop at the top of Castle Street and seeing the high-rise flats being constructed followed by the brutalism of the Townhead interchange.

We can learn from that experience and create better links from Sighthill to the city with a green bridge link and connect the area more effectively to the Forth and Clyde Canal network.

Our cycling legacy should not just be an integrated cycling network but the renaissance of an unfairly maligned neighbourhood that demonstrates the vibrancy of its residents. Perhaps, with a little imagination and a lot of commitment, we can emulate the Dutch and Sighthill could be the future bicycle neighbourhood of Scotland.

Frank McAveety is a Glasgow councillor and the city's cycling tsar.