WE couldn't get the app to work so, instead of hiring a bike on Saturday in Malmö, I borrowed my friend's.

I believe myself to be a pretty competent cyclist but this was a slapstick hoot - the saddle was so high that I had to take a run and a jump to land on it; once I got going I couldn't readily stop without simply throwing myself to the ground; and everything in the middle was a precarious wobble.

If this had been Glasgow I would have been flattened in an instant. But this is Sweden, civilised, cycle-friendly Sweden.

Cars stopped for us, folk hopped out of the way with smiles at my "Sorry! Oh God, sorry!"

One of my closest friends lives in Malmö and every time I visit, I cycle around (normally more respectably) with heart aching for better infrastructure and better attitudes in Scotland.

READ MORE: After a woman's death in Glasgow is cycling worth the risk?

The day before, I had been out in the morning with the Shawlands Bike Bus.

This is a sight to make the heart sing. In a perfect example of community activism, parents at Shawlands Primary School decided to club together and set up a bike bus after being inspired by both a trip to Denmark and seeing a similar initiative's success in Barcelona.

Last year, when the scheme started on Glasgow's south side, it was just a handful of families taking part. Now it's swollen to a gaggle of around 60 children and parents, taking over the roads on the route to school every Friday morning.

The Shawlands Bike Bus on its way to Shawlands Primary school  Picture: Colin Mearns

What makes the set-up workable is that the local authority listened to what parents needed and stepped up to provide it. Initially it was a case of donating high-vis vests and signage for the route. Then the community police turned out to cycle alongside the bike bus.

Now developers have come up with a way to repurpose existing tech to allow the leader of the bike bus to hold a traffic signal at a problematic junction.

A special button utilising weapons-grade signals can keep the light green for 45 seconds to allow everyone through. You say science, I say magic.

While not to be sniffed at, this is, of course, a stop gap. What's really needed is permanent cycling infrastructure that de-prioritises cars and makes the roads safer for active travel.

As an imp on Twitter termed it, perhaps by the time these primary children are ready to cycle to university lectures we might have segregated bike lanes.

One of the reasons the junction was so problematic was that the people cycling were experiencing badly behaviour from those driving. If you've ever been on a bike in the city you'll recognise it - close passes and loud horns honking.

You should see the bike bus. It's a thing of real and pure joy. Lots of wee ones, lots of bright colours, lots of chattering and pedalling and giggles.

Imagine being so irked by that sight that you drive aggressively and freak small children out with horn honking.

READ MORE: The rise in cycling will need support to be maintained

But then, we're experiencing a hostile age for cycling. I imagine it's partly to do with the proliferation - as relatively and such as it is - of councils redirecting spending towards active travel. That, and the messaging that paints cyclists as virtuous, drivers as planet-killing.

People are easily irked and prone to a backlash. It makes it easy for lazy politicians to score lazy points, like Grant Shapps, Westminster transport secretary, calling for a review in insurance and ways to "actually track cyclists who do break the laws”.

Manna from right-wing heaven, that. The Daily Mail ran a front page story on introducing number plates for cyclists and making them "abide by the same speed restrictions and other road rules as motorists amid a cycling boom." That's a good use of civil servants' time, drafting legislation to ensure cyclists don't go at 70mph.

My Swedish friend cannot compute. It's lost in translation.

Other Glasgow schools' parent groups have contacted the city council for support in setting up their own bike buses. I'm hoping for a cycling revolution of city-wide weans wheeling around, car-free and care-free.

Maybe by the time they're ready to cycle to university attitudes will have changed. They're the generation who can change them, after all.

And the bike bus is such an ideal way to do this, starting them cycling on the roads young with the message being that they belong there, which they do.