Cycling is a great way to see a city – you can get a good feel for a place riding past its buildings and parks, hearing snippets of conversation of the pedestrians you pass, and even getting wafts of local aromas (delicious food if you’re lucky)!
It’s also a great way to see further out than just the city centre of a town – which is what I did in Edinburgh. (Oh, and if you’re like me and eat your way around a city, it’s a good way to work off all the extra calories consumed!)
When in Edinburgh recently, my lovely airbnb hosts Mary and Donald offered to take me on a cycling tour. When discussing which of the trails we should do Donald spoke of the Forth Bridge. “What’s the Forth Bridge?” I asked. Donald was horrified that I had not heard of it and our destination was settled!
Mary and Donald are setting up their little cycle tour business, Cycle Tours Scotland, and I can see that it will be a great success. They both genuinely love Scotland and Edinburgh and their passion is contagious. Between them their knowledge of the area is pretty impressive and I learnt so many interesting and intriguing things (don’t ask me for examples #goldfishmemory).
They appreciate that not everyone is an expert cyclist and are happy to tailor the ride to all skill levels. I’ve always been more of an endurance participator in sports (slow and steady), which was great because while we cycled a fair way (26 miles, or 40 kms) our pace meant we could enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and the lush green scenery we were passing.
We started just before midday and meandered through the streets of Leith. Every so often we’d come across roads of cobblestone and the kid in me could not resist holding a note and listening to the vibrating distortion that resulted. Urban turned to parkland, which turned to affluent suburbia, which turned to quaint little village. The mix of gorgeous buildings and beautiful landscapes were heavenly!
I didn’t take too many pictures to start with, but as we neared Queensferry (where the Forth Bridges are located) I found myself stopping more and more to capture what I was seeing – Shetland ponies, bright yellow fields of rapeseed and the coastline.
I’m not sure what I was expecting of this Forth Bridge, but if you get the chance while you’re in Edinburgh to go and see it, do! It’s amazing!! It was a huge engineering feat of its time, not to mention how cool it looks even today. The total length of the main bridge structure is more than 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and the rail track is 157 feet (48 metres) above high water. It is made of a whopping 50,000 tonnes of steel connected by 6.5 million steel rivets. 6.5 million!
Overall it was a brilliant afternoon (easily in the top three from my Edinburgh trip). And of course a couple of celebratory pints were required to complete the experience!