Waterways C2C (West coast)

Possibly the shortest and easiest C2C route in the country starting at Bowling to the west of Glasgow and stretching across Central Scotland to Leith this is a relitively flat route almost exclusively on Canal or cycle paths.

I alighted from the train on a bright and dry morning to begin the exploration of the route from Bowling to Leith.  Today I was stopping at Falkirk as I have already done the Falkirk to Leith leg before.  At the basin in Bowling there is a bike shop and a cafe and the start of the route.​

​The surface is tarmaced and in good condition and makes for pleasent cycling.  The first points of interest on the route are the Dalmuir drop lock, the first in the UK and the Beardmore sculpture.

The canal winds it’s way through Knightswood, Kelvnside and Bishopbriggs finally leaving Glasgow and heading for Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth.  Wildlife is rife along the canal I saw these two just lazing around by the bank!

I made my way past Auchinstarry Basin the surface still in great condition towards Bonnybridge and Falkirk.   I stopped for lunch at the wheel and made my way to the station and back to Fife.

A great ride this part of the C2C. Was 31 miles with 1000 ft of climb.

Weather, website and Weblog.

Taking this chance to update the blog as my planned 50 miler on the road bike has been shot or should that be snowed from under me.  It’s not unusual to have snow in Scotland in April but this is nearly May and in Fife where I live we usually miss the worst of it but we didn’t last night.

I like being in this business.  It’s the look of incredulity on a clients face when you take them on a ride in an area they have lived in and they see it from a different perspective or see something they never knew existed.  Giving them a new experience, recently I have had two clients that had never taken a bike on a train before and did not believe it could be so simple.  They are the good bits last night though was “books” night not too onerous but something that has to be done.

As a counterbalance to the boring bits I finalised the Summer rides programme for the website, the majority of them have been posted but, as it is still crappy out there I will have some unplanned time on my hands to finish it off today.  So if you have some unplanned time a wee break at your desk maybe or just want to dream about being on your bike take a look at http://www.scottishbiketouring.com Book a tour give me some feedback or simply spread the word about this blog and the tours. Next big event for SBT is the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling (EdFoC) 9-19 Jun.  There are tours before then and if you wanted to fit one in I will be happy to help.

In 2013 I completed a LEJOG and of course did a blog.  Now the blog is going to be resurrected by ukcycle chat on thier web site.  Take a look see what you think if you have any questions or want me to come along to a group to talk about it get in touch.

The Kelpies, Falkirk wheel and Union Canal.

Sunday 20th March I got the train to Falkirk with my CX bike and headed out on a recce of my Kelpies route.  It was a great day with the sun shining and loads of people taking advantage of the weather.  I got off the train at Falkirk Grahamston and made my way to the Kelpies two enormous horses heads in the Helix park area.  

 After having a look around and taking some pics and video footage I headed for the Falkirk Wheel along the canal bank which leads you straight there.  Not pretty at times but the route is straightforward and mainly flat.  The canal bank was busy and a loose Spaniel caused a bit of consternation to a cyclist in front of me luckily it was under control by the time I reached it.

It’s approx 3 miles from the Kelpies to the Wheel and pretty soon it’s looming in front of you. 

   The Falkirk wheel is used to transport craft from the Forth and Clyde canal to the Union canal and an amazing piece of engineering it is.  It takes the  same amount of power to boil 66 kettles as it does to operate the Wheel!  After watching it in operation I headed through the  180 metre long tunnel leading to the wheel just as another craft came through.  

With the two major sights visited I headed East on the Union Canal path.  The CX bike has CX tyres on it and in general they handled the surface well.  It was obvious that improvements were and are being made to the surface.  The path and the canal were busy as walkers, cyclists, canoeists and sailors took advantage of the day.  The John Muir Way coast to coast walk and bike route uses the canal for some of its route with various detours into the villages near the canal.  However I stuck to the canal path until I reached the village of Old Philipstoun where I headed for South Queensferry and the Forth Road bridges!  The approach roads to the new bridge are under construction and it was heartening to see that cycle tracks are already marked out!

After crossing the bridge I headed down into North Queensferry and picked up the Fife Coastal Path it was here that I could have done with the suspension provided by my 29er not impossible on a CX bike just uncomfortable.  I made my way along the north coast of the Forth taking in the views along the coast and paused near Kirkcaldy to watch a few seals sunbathing on the rocks.

Another good day on the bike and part of a route recce’d.

SBT tours

Scottish Bike Touring shall be offering 2 very different types of tours.  On one hand there will be the traditional ride designed by SBT travelled very frequently and at a fixed cost such as:  The Kelpies and canal tour in Central Scotland, the Five Ferries ride in W Scotland inc Bute and Arran and the Forth and 3 bridges a point to point ride utilising the great rail links between Fife and Scotland’s capital.

The other type of ride is a tailored ride.  This is chosen by you but organised and if required led by SBT.  If you want to visit a certain area say to look up your family tree you give us the area, how far you want to cycle, surface, accommodation type  and speed and we will do the rest.  The cost of a tailored tour is different as there is a lot of variables.

SBT will be open for business in March.  Spread the word, better still come along for a ride!!