As mentioned in my bio page, most of my riding is made up of the regular commute into and out of Edinburgh from my home in Livingston. When I first started working in this job I would drive the 19 miles there and back. Public transport is not good for getting there from my house: I need to get a train into the city then bus to the office. Having tried this a couple of times, the 2 hours each way is just not sustainable, not to mention the cost!

It wasn’t long before I tired of driving it though. At times the traffic just grinds along and it can take half an hour to travel 1 or 2 miles. Noticing the odd cyclist on my journey got me thinking whether it would be possible for me to occasionally ride it myself. I paid very careful attention to possible routes along the way (cycle paths, junctions, any troubling spots) and began formulating plans.

Here is a map of the route I planned back then and have actually continued to use more often than not. It works out as:

  • 17.5 miles;
  • 500 ft of climbing in the mornings;
  • 850 ft of climbing in the evenings.

Although I had cycled around the city when I was a student, quite a few years had passed since then. I was therefore slightly nervous about using the busy roads all the way so planned to utilise cycle paths for part of the route. The long straight section in the map above can all be done on paths if wanted. It wasn’t long before I became too frustrated with the paths to continue using them (as mentioned in some of my other blogs).

I also decided to treat myself to a nice new road bike as encouragement – best commuting decision ever ๐Ÿ™‚

My usual route is good in the mornings because I have a long downhill section in the first half, so its a good way of waking me up!

Familiar Route

One of the great things about cycling is that I have an endless choice of routes, knowing that traffic will never be a hindrance. In our location the wind direction is predominantly west to east, which means I usually get a nice boost in the morning but can find myself battling home in the evening. If it’s really strong I will detour into some country roads instead of heading directly west into the wind. If it’s icy I’ll stick with the main roads which are generally salted better. If the weather is nice I might head into some hills to enjoy the views. There are so many options, only limited by the time available to me!

I remember the feeling I got on those first few rides: the freedom, the rush of adrenaline, the fresh air and sounds of nature. I’d get home exhausted but buzzing from the experience. To begin with I could only do 1 day a week, then built it up gradually until a few months later I managed a full 5 days. It’s amazing how quickly the body can adapt. Don’t be scared to try something new, fear is the main limitation.

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