A Cap­i­tal Day’s Cy­cling

Time to go ur­ban and sam­ple some of Ed­in­burgh’s ex­cel­lent trails and take in the many sights

The Scots Magazine - - On Your Bike - By ALEX COR­LETT

THERE was a big head of haar rolling up the Forth as we caught our first glimpse of the bridge tops from Dun­fermline. It seemed as if we’d made a counter-in­tu­itive de­ci­sion, head­ing into the foggy heart of Ed­in­burgh on a hot Sun­day, when ev­ery­one else looked to be leav­ing for the hills.

It can be the fate of those of us who live on the sunny side of Scot­land that oc­ca­sion­ally, when a day gets too hot, the haar rolls in and we lose a fine day. But the fog is as fickle as it is fast-mov­ing, and de­spite a drop of 10 de­grees on the A90, by the time we’d parked up at the wa­ter­front in Leith it had all dis­ap­peared and the sun­glasses were back on.

Our route fol­lowed two of Ed­in­burgh’s many fab sign­posted cy­cle paths, the NCN 75 and the 1. The city is rid­dled with shared and ded­i­cated bike paths, eas­ily linked to­gether to take you out of the cen­tre in any num­ber of di­rec­tions, or just around it, as we were go­ing to­day. It’s a real treat to ride through the cap­i­tal on these rib­bons of un­usu­ally ver­dant land.

I’ll be hon­est, we started by get­ting lost. Ur­ban cy­cling ob­vi­ously gives you much more op­por­tu­nity to do this, and be­fore we knew it we were pan­ick­ing on Princes Street. But al­though the traf­fic had been busy on the routes in and out, the city cen­tre was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally re­laxed – every­body was on foot or bike.

Mike’s part­ner Suchi was dis­grun­tled that we’d climbed stiffly to get there – no­body likes an un­nec­es­sary hill – but it made for a fun des­cent down the cob­bles of Scot­land Street, which were too bumpy for me to catch a glimpse of num­ber 44.

Mike had us back on track al­most im­me­di­ately and we cruised along to Stock­bridge and the Sun­day mar­ket. Nor­mally I feel blessed to find a tea room at any point on a ride, but at no point in the whole af­ter­noon were we more than 500 me­tres (1640ft) from re­fresh­ments, al­though I don’t think Mike had counted on as many stops as I made. Crepes. Brown­ies. An­other cake. Ice cream. It seemed likely I’d end up tak­ing on more calo­ries than I’d burn.

The Wa­ter of Leith path was gor­geous, though busy paths meant a lot of stops,

“I’ll be hon­est, we started by get­ting lost

Dean Vil­lage

Dis­tance: 23km (14.3 miles)As­cent: 230m (754ft)Maps: OS Ex­plorer 350 & Lan­dranger 66. It is well sign­posted, but if you need a map the Ex­plorer is bet­ter for the dense ur­ban routefind­ing.Park­ing: There’s a multi-storey at Ocean Ter­mi­nal, or lim­ited on-street park­ing down near the docks.

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