The pleasures of East Lothian cycling beat all others in our summer competition, My Favourite Bike Ride, with first prize awarded to Dunbar resident and Spokes member, Mark James…
Mark says, “My ride goes through great countryside almost entirely on quiet roads and tracks. It’s a bonus if a ride includes fun stuff to do whether alone or in a group. This ride is superb in itself, but with many possibilities, in order of appearance… [we added the links]
- Fantastic echo-y tunnel under the A1
- Ropeswings over a river – bathing/ skinny dipping possible in a small pool upstream
- Climb – Traprain Law – fabulous views
- Castle with river – Hailes castle
- Village – East Linton
- Water mill – Preston Mill NTS property
- Ford – River Tyne at Knowes
- Farm shop – Knowes Farm
- After harvest, straw bales to run along
- A fantastic beach – Belhaven Bay
I don’t always do all the above but pick and choose. The ride can take a couple of energetic hours or most of the day, picnic essential.”
East Lothian also had another prizewinner, Edinburgh resident Eileen Holttum’s circular tour of the west of the “perfect cycling county.”
We need hardly add that the perfect accompaniment to these rides is the wonderful East Lothian Spokes Cycle Map!
Just pipped to the post by Mark’s entry, 2nd place went to Tim Smith’s fEASTival ride – a superbly selected cycling tour of East Edinburgh. Tim’s ride provides “largely stress-free cycling, linking favourite peaceful, green spaces: Lochend Park, The Wisp, Portobello Prom, Leith Links. It includes long-standing features such as Holyrood Palace, Salisbury Crags, the Engine Shed, the Innocent Tunnel, Craigmillar Castle and the Hope Lane Bridge – and also new developments such as the RIE campus, the nicely landscaped BioQuarter, the path link to Greendykes and then up the hill to join The Wisp – with great panoramic views over the whole east of the city.”
The 3rd and 4th prizewinners, David Dougal and Elaine Appleby both showed how a commuter trip, or parts of it, can be turned into a delight by taking an offroad alternative. Using the Cramond Foreshore “transforms a daily chore into a daily adventure where you can have fun spotting dogs, airplanes and birds, smelling the sea air and feeling the sun, wind and sometimes rain on your skin” says David. Elaine’s brief escape daily beside the Water of Leith “is like cycling over the edge of a folded map into a completely unexpected and rich place. Immediately the noise and smell of the traffic has gone, replaced by the burble of the water.”
OTHER PRIZEWINNING RIDES
- from the city to the reservoirs at the edge of the Pentlands
- a circular tour of south Edinburgh green spaces
- a kiddies ride via the Innocent path to the Meadows
- a largely offroad circle in south-west Edinburgh
Overall, the Lothians are great places to find a favourite ride, whilst within Edinburgh there are some lovely circular rides (largely offroad and minor road) and there’s special love for Cramond Foreshore, the Canal->Railwaypath->reservoirs route, and the Innocent Tunnel.
All told, we had 38 entries, which grouped as follows…
- 6 – Largely circular rides within the city
- 5 – East Lothian rides
- 5 – Heading south-west, usually via canal & Balerno railway path, often to the Pentlands reservoirs
- 4 – Midlothian rides
- 4 – West Lothian rides
- 4 – Cramond foreshore
- 3 – Featuring the Innocent tunnel
- 3 – Very localised rides within Edinburgh
- 2 – To Craigie’s farm cafe
- 2 – Other
USING THE RIDES
The full set of rides – prizewinners, runners-up and also-rans are on this page.
A few of the rides give fairly detailed instructions, one or two are quite general, leaving you to devise your own route within the area described, but for all the rides you need an accompanying map. We needn’t ourselves recommend the excellent Spokes maps of Edinburgh and the Lothians because users of the maps do that for us!! – as you can see on our maps page. “Superb” “Excellent” “Brilliant” “Wonderful” are just a few of the adjectives that make us blush!
THANK YOU – OUR SPONSORS
- Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op
- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
- Kalpna Indian Vegetarian restaurant
- Sustrans Scotland
- Peter’s Yard
- Reiss Hairsalon
Details of prizes on the entry form.
THANK YOU – EVERYONE ELSE!!
Many thanks to you if you entered, even if you didn’t win this time. Thanks also to the organisers and to Ewan Jeffrey our expert advisor to the Resources Group judging panel.
We very much hope to produce a booklet of Favourite Rides, as we did 10 years ago with this topic – though it will depend on finding a suitable skilled volunteer to do the artwork.
See the results of our many previous exciting, amusing and/or interesting competitions here.