Not rain, just a wee Scottish mist: Edinburgh adventures on rental road bikes

When you’re away, traveling, for two weeks, the month before a duathlon and a 600 + km bike ride, your thoughts naturally turn (in a bit of panic, especially if you’ve had a cold spring and less riding than you’d planned) to getting at least one ride in. I also love cycling holidays and while this wasn’t strictly speaking for me a holiday, I love seeing new places by bike.

Sarah was the organized one of us, also the one not attending conferences, and so a little more free to round up all the information. So she took on the responsibility for looking for rental road bikes.

Initially Edinburgh wasn’t that inspiring. Hills! Also rain!

The local cyclists had my complete and utter admiration. Not just the commuters but the racing/training cyclists too. One afternoon we watched them in team kit doing hill repeats of the road around Arthur’s Seat. It was about 10 degrees Celsius and alternating heavy mist with actual, umbrella worthy, rain. They looked committed. And a little bit fierce.

We decided that if you waited for a day without rain you might never ride. Scottish cyclists are tough. Did I mention that they were wearing just shorts and short sleeved jerseys?

So on the day after the conference ended we picked up our rental bikes and off we went. There were three challenges. First, riding on the left. I actually find it easier driving on the left as the car is set up that way. On the bike path when another bike comes towards you it’s hard not to veer off to the right. Second, the brakes are reversed and the rear brake is on the left. Tricky. Third, I hadn’t brought shoes and pedals so I was riding with flat pedals and running shoes.

But it was totally worth it. We stopped at a church’s strawberry tea social in Musselburgh. We watched hundreds of mute swans in their nesting/mating grounds in the Musselburgh Lagoons. We looked at all the beaches.  The one in the picture below is Portobello Beach. (Here’s what Portobello looks like on a busy day.) And ate ice cream in the rain.

Sarah’s side of the story: Coming soon!

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