A short blog entry on the joys of mixing a love of cycling with a love of buildings… all in the name of a good cause.
Yesterday I cycled from Glasgow to Edinburgh. All 48 miles! I have never cycled that far but it was a fantastic experience. Pedal for Scotland… pedal for Maggies.. pedal for the challenge… pedal for a picnic in Linlithgow Palace grounds.. pedal for a nosy round Murrayfield pitch. The ups and downs of the journey were amazing (hills wise, more downs than ups I think.. and I enjoyed the emotional “ups” of the sights and sounds along the way).
Throughout the day I had many “ooh” moments as the landscape and buildings changed en route, there were some great views. Dennistoun red sandstone tenements turned a beautiful shade in the mixture of sun and rain. In Drumpelier we shared the route with some lakeside ducks, and small dogs who seemed intent on keeping up on the way to the feed station (feed station, I learnt, is sport event speak for “where you get nourishing food and drink”). I was almost disbelieving of the Falkirk Council sign, it seemed too early to have crossed that many Council boundaries. The Loch near here was rather lovely, it stretched out for some way lapping its way along the road. In West Lothian it was good to cycle under the viaduct which I had previously only seen from the train or from the motorway, spectacular towering arches of sandstone. The streets of Linlithgow are also a beautiful sight, a feast for architecture fans, whilst shortly after this, the picnic in the park by the Loch with a view of the palace was stunning. You couldn’t invent a better spot for a rest for weary legs.
I had never been so excited to see an Edinburgh bus stop in my life when I got to Kirkliston. Shared my excitement with some nearby participants who also shared my enthusiasm… hoorah we are officially on the other side of the country! The latter part of the route was also fully traffic free as the Edinburgh bound route was solely belonging to cyclists for this day only, then we joined one of the national cycle routes.
The sense of community and fun all along the route was great; the local church did a home baking stall in Avonbridge, small children gathered at various points on the cycle path to shout encouraging things and at Murrayfield many people joined to cheer peoples success in arriving. Even though I had read my Pedal for Scotland ride guide, I think the fact that I was going to ride through Murrayfield had slightly bypassed me. I’m not exactly a sports aficionado, but it was really exciting to go through the big gates and arrive in the middle of the stadium!
For more information on the route, or to register for next year go to http://www.pedalforscotland.org/ and to help Maggies go http://www.maggiescentres.org. They help so many people, and have amazing buildings too!