Cycling as a sport is a tradition that has been there for ages. People cycle for different reasons. Some people do it out of a need to exercise, some cycle for charity. Others cycle for fun and to catch up with fiends whom you may not have enough time to interact with, and therefore create time to catch up while undertaking a favorite or common activity.
Families are often seen cycling. This is because in the current fast paced life, it is continuously becoming challenging for families to be able to stay together to bond and relate. Often children are away in education institutions as their parent’s report to different locations for work. Do you take into considerations the weather outside before you go and enjoy cycling? The answer could be a yes or a no, depending on your love for cycling. It’s forever beautiful to have online cycling games; you have a variety to choose from. Is it cycling genres from racing to stunts? Or from rugged mountaintops to the innermost streets within the city? Whichever way or direction you choose to go, it is always fun and fun.
This is a game where cycling enthusiasts participate in a planned event, during which the designated members are allowed to use any mode of transport. This may include motorcycles, bicycle, or vehicles.
Each participant is expected to report to the five to eight designed stations called checkpoints and play card. It however does not mean that the more cards are planed cards is the winner.
Cycling for charity
Many are the times that cyclists have come together to create a group that is enthusiastic about supporting a particular type of people with need. The group’s common interest is cycling but they are out to satisfy a particular need in the community. Such are forums that have a cause to run.
Previous similar events have evoked both positive and negative reactions owing to a variety of opinion from people. While cycling is a good way to engage in physical activity, especially so with individuals who are rarely on the run, some people in the public view this as a non straight forward way of raising funds for charity. Some would rather just contribute to give.
Funds and grants offered for the needy groups have been a notable positive outcome of such runs alongside meeting specific targets.
Benefits of cycling;
· Remain fit and keep illnesses at bay
One of the proven ways that you can use to effectively remain fit is by maintaining a regular program of cycling. To do this, you do not need a physical attendance in your indoor gym. Gyms can be expensive and require a great deal of effort to ensure that you report to the gym as often as one would like.
This is attributed to the fact that you will need to maintain a particular regime, which over time, may become too monotonous.
Besides, cycling out in the natural is more interesting and engaging in comparison to cycling within four walls in a non moving machine.
This is one way individuals can use to reconnect with nature and with yourself. Many are the times that life activities swallow up its participants coupled with a fair share of a stressful life. Cycling can be used as a way to alleviate this negative energy and unwanted stress.
You may end up making more friends from that group of fellow cyclists.
· Weight loss regime through intense cardio involvement
Cycling is one of the high energy activities recommended for those interested for cardio kind of activities.
· Clear the mind.
There is a lot you can see on a simple road trip while cycling.
By staying close to cyclists, you will be able to learn more about the cycling sport and its direct benefits.
Bet365 bonus code no deposit is a platform that just like its name, allows you to get more insight on how how you can incorporate this sport into a fruitful mission of serving the community.
Cycling has been incorporated into the online casino arenas where lovers of the sport can engage in the virtual version of cycling. This also means that you can gain money or cryptocurrency upon winning. The sub-varieties to these cycling games are many and inexhaustible with much software being discovered daily. Indeed, this is one of the ways of keeping yourself busy while at the same earning some money.
Statistics about online cycling games
The cycling industry was not prepared for any changes especially surrounding the emergence of the pandemic. According to the Guardian, a former professional cyclist reported an increase of 300% year-on-year growth in daily activity. He also put forth claims to have 2.8 million accounts registered across 190 countries.
This 9 mile section of National Cycle Route One is on the Moray coast. It may not be as spectacular as the Cullen to Findochty leg, but it has plenty of interest. In particular, the remnants of the Moray Coast Railway and fishing heritage in Buckie.
Findochty to Buckie
Leaving Findochty the route heads slightly inland and then joins a disused railway path. I always have mixed feelings about the closure of railway lines. On the one hand it means the brilliant traffic-free cycle path that we can enjoy today, but it also means the loss of an important transportation link.
The bridge and platform at Portessie are reminders of what used to be. The last time that someone would have stood on this platform to wait for a train was in 1968, the year the line was closed.
3.5 miles from Findochty is Buckie, which means place of the male deer in Gaelic.
Buckie is one of the largest towns in Moray and it is somewhat of a shock to be thrown into a busier world. The approach into Buckie is through residential streets with large roundabouts. The harbour area is functional, with buildings associated with fish processing. The queues at the 'Eat Mair Fish' shop are testament to the popularity of locally caught seafood.
Buckie feels like a place to pass through rather than stop in, but it is worth taking a look at Cluny Square where there is a fine ensemble of Victorian buildings. Pause at the war memorial where the faces of the soldiers are detailed and beautiful.
Fishing heritage in Buckie
Take a wander down the streets with rows of granite and sandstone cottages. These had been built with money from the boom years of the herring industry in the 1800s. They had an upstairs that was used for storing and repairing fishing nets. This was reached by a ladder on the outside of the house, so that the ground floor living area was kept free of muck.
There's more to learn about this legacy in the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre. Although small, it is full of interesting things. The boat models are incredibly detailed. Look through a window on the lifeboat and you will see a cup of tea resting on a sink.
After a few minutes of cycling you will reach another reminder of the railway era, a gorgeous iron footbridge at Buckpool.
Further on and there is a double arched bridge.
Two miles from Buckie there is a sweep of sand and coast that leads you into Portgordon.
Portgordon was founded by the 4th Duke of Gordon. It was once a busy fishing village, but the harbour is now mainly used for pleasure vessels.
The village was once nicknamed 'Paraffin City.' The street lighting was powered with paraffin and it was one of the last settlements in the area to get electric lights.
Portgordon had an important role in the Second World War when three German spies turned up at the train station. The spies had been dropped off by an aircraft and made their way by dinghy to the mainland. The stationmaster was suspicious and contacted the police who made an arrest.
Like the other coastal villages on this section of Moray's coast it is surprisingly low key in its offerings for visitors. It has a perfect location that seems ripe for things like seafood restaurants and gift shops, but the lack of such offerings is what makes these villages special. You get to enjoy them as they are without distractions and the crowds that would come for the distractions.
4 more miles on National Cycle Route One will take you to the Spey viaduct, one of the most magnificent bridges in Scotland.
I love that there are more and more sustainable cycling products available and this is the first time I have come across a recycled cycling jersey. It's from Craft Cadence, a London company that specialises in gear for cycling commuters. They asked if I could review one, so I tried it out over the summer and pretty much love everything about it.
I always use a cycling jersey in warmer weather. Although the main market for this type of clothing is road cyclists I have always used jerseys when cycle touring and for commuting. I Find them to be the best clothing to keep me cool because of their wicking action. The close fit is ideal for cycling and the quality makes them pretty indestructible, they tend to last forever. The rear storage pockets often mean I don't need to carry a bag. Would a recycled jersey provide all these features?
Initially I was a bit concerned that a jersey made from recycled material would not match the performance capabilities of a standard cycling jersey. I had no need to worry. From the moment I put this garment on I found it to be as good as any other jersey I have used.
Comfort, fit and style
I loved the feel of the material. It felt nice against my skin. I tried comparing the feel of it to one of my standard cycling jerseys and could not notice enough of a difference.
The fit was great. Just the right balance. It was close fitting, but not body hugging.
I like the teal colour with the black dots. I think it looks awesome. It also comes in orange and a couple of designs in black.
Testing the jersey on a warm day
I wore the jersey on some really warm days. Twenty-five degrees might not sound much, but this is Scotland and I start to feel too hot in anything over 17 degrees! Not once did I feel sweaty as the jersey did its job brilliantly of wicking away the moisture. At the end of one of those warm days a smell test showed that the jersey didn't need to go in the wash. I could get a good few rides out of it before it needed a wash. When I did wash it the jersey came out looking as good as new, and its probably had over 15 washes since I got it.
Pockets and other features
The three rear pockets are well made and reinforced. Anything that you keep in there will not be falling out if you happen to bounce over something during your ride. One of the pockets has a small zipped section, for a bit of extra security for belongings.
There is some reflective material under the pockets, but it doesn't seem like very much for it to be that effective. However, with bike lights and reflectors it will be an addition to your arsenal of night time safety measures.
Made from recycled plastic bottles
Cycling is sustainable transport, so all of the gear that comes with it should also be sustainable. That's why I was thrilled to come across a cycling jersey that is made from recycled bottles. My review has shown that the recycled material is up to the job and I could detect no difference when compared to the material of a standard jersey.
£64.99 (November 2021). Cycling jerseys are performance clothing and built to last, so they will pay back the cost by lasting for years and helping to make your rides comfortable.
This is a quality cycling jersey that looks great and feels great to wear. It is robust and does a superb job of keeping you cool in hot weather. The fact that it is made from recycled material makes me love it even more.
It is only 4 miles from Cullen to Findochty, but it's one of the best coastal bike rides in Scotland. This short stretch of National Cycle Route One packs in beaches, rock formations and seaside villages.
Cullen has a grand backdrop of railway viaducts, a sweeping bay and a good selection of antique shops. It is also where Cullen Skink, Scotland's famous fish soup, was created. The cycle route leaves Cullen on the railway viaducts, the perfect spot to look down upon the sparkling blue sea and inviting sands of Cullen Bay.
Find out more on my reasons to visit Cullen blog
Bow Fiddle Rock
15 minutes of cycling will take you to the Bow Fiddle Rock, one of the most spectacular coastal formations in Scotland.
Find out more on my blog about the Bow Fiddle Rock
Three creeks shore
It is not just the Bow Fiddle Rock that is impressive around here. An area called three creeks shore has a shingle beach, caves and rock formations that were formed 650 million years ago. It thrives with bird life, including Common Eider Ducks, Rock Doves and Shags.
This village is close to the Bow Fiddle Rock. One of the most striking things about it is the position of the houses, atop the high cliffs.
The harbour is sheltered by a huge rock formation and has an outdoor swimming pool.
It takes less than 15 minutes to cycle along the gravel track to the next village, Findochty. This is my favourite part of the whole route. It is worth parking your bike and walking to the edge where the coastal scenery reveals itself in all its glory. Sea birds put on a show by swooping elegantly to land on precarious cliff edges.
The approach to Findochty is glorious. The downhill gravel track means you can ease off the pedals and sit back and enjoy that first sight of the white church sitting above the village and the sweep of a sandy bay. That church is what gives the place its distinctive look and makes the arrival into the village so special and memorable.
Findochty, despite its obvious beauty, is not a touristy place. Gift shops, seafood restaurants and ice cream parlours are lacking. It surprises me that this location has not been exploited for tourism, but that's also what gives it such appeal. You don't feel like you have ended up somewhere that everyone else has ended up in just because it has 'stuff' for visitors to do. Instead you get to enjoy the place for what it is and it feels all the more special for that.
A wander around the streets reveals pretty cottages that were built for fishing families.
And it is worth a wander up to Findochty Church, the building on the elevated position that makes the village look so impressive and distinctive. It dates from 1863 and for the next 24 years, until a bell was installed, a fog horn was used.
How to get here
The path between Cullen and Fincochty is part of National Cycle Network Route One, but if you are not doing that route the best way to reach the path is from Keith. There's a train station here and it is a 14 mile ride using quiet B-roads to get to Cullen. There is a full description of this route in my blog about the Willows Tearoom.
Steve Silk cycles the route of Britain's most prestigious road, the London to Edinburgh road. It is now called the A1, but until 1921 it was called the Great North Road. With each pedal stroke the author experiences more of the towns, landscapes and remarkable history of this route.
The journey is around 500 miles over 11 days and Steve wonderfully describes the sense of adventure when heading north:
"For reasons that I can't quite explain, the compass point is important. Which proper traveller can resist a road sign with a crisp, white arrow pointing to "The North" in no-nonsense sans-serif?"
Steve came across the books of Charles G. Harper who wrote about doing the same journey over 100 years ago. Throughout the book Steve reflects on Harper's experiences of places along the way, nicely weaving this with modern day comparisons. In honour of Harper, Steve buys an old fashioned bike, a Jamis Aurora, to do the journey on the 100th anniversary of the A1.
The adventure begins in a cool London bike cafe called Look Mum No Hands. Steve's description of travelling through busy London is brilliant and really captures the atmosphere and sights of the capital. I love that he records that sudden moment when London ends, the buzz is replaced with greenery and tranquility at a place called Hadley Green. I imagine that this is the kind of detail that you are more likely to notice travelling by bicycle and miss if you are driving.
The heyday of the Great North Road was when stagecoaches raced up and down it. For me this was the most fascinating aspect of the journey and the book is interspersed with tales of the romance of the coaching era. The most visible legacy of that time is the coaching inn and Steve visits many of them along the way and there is a lovely round up of his favourite ones at the end of the book. I found that his writing about this period was very evocative and it really felt like I was stepping back in time.
I learned so much about parts of Britain that I am unfamiliar with. For example, the commuter town of Stevenage had been planned as cycle-friendly in the 1950s and 60s with 26 miles of cycle lanes. Then there is the Bedfordshire clanger- a pastry with meat filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other!
That was one of the great joys of this book, discovering new things about Britain. On his route Steve visited the birthplace of Newton that still has the famous apple tree in the grounds. He even visited inside Margaret Thatcher's childhood home. I am ashamed to say that I had no knowledge of these places before reading this book. The lesson I have learned is that a cycle touring adventure in Britain can be just as revealing and as exciting as any journey that you might take overseas.
The Scotland section of the road is mostly in East Lothian. Steve uses routes familiar to me and his writing captures the landscapes and sights of the area really well.
The Great North Road is a captivating read. Here is an adventure that we can do in our own country, with so much to see and experience along the way. I loved how the book beautifully combined the past and present stories of the road, in particular transporting the reader back to the era of stagecoaches. Reading this book made me want to book some nights in historic coaching inns and jump on my bike to get there.
Scotland has some magnificent coastal rock formations. One of my favourites is the Bow Fiddle Rock on the north-eastern coast. It is near Portknockie in Moray.
The rock was sculpted by the crashing waves of the North Sea into a shape that looks like a fiddle bow. Photos of the rock look good, but they don't prepare you for how magnificent it is in real life.
It is not just the first sight of this uniquely shaped rock that captivates you, but it is the sense of where you are. On the edge of Scotland, on a cliff looking down at something that was created by the might of the sea.
The stack is teaming with seabirds, like herring gulls. Their cries drown out the sound of water lapping up to the rock. And then your eye is drawn beyond the rock to the endless expanse of the sea. It is a place where it is easy to appreciate the beauty of our planet.
Come here and take a seat for a while. Absorb everything you see, hear, smell and feel. Whenever you need a moment of escape let your mind to take you back to the day you visited the Bow Fiddle Rock.
How to get here
The Bow Fiddle Rock is about a 15 minute walk from Portnockie Harbour, along the cliffs path. From Cullen it is a 15 minute cycle.
Cullen is on National Cycle Network Route One, but if you are not doing that route the best way to reach the town is from Keith. There's a train station there and it is a 14 mile ride using quiet B-roads. There is a full description of this route in my blog about the Willows Tearoom.
For ideas of things to see and do in Cullen, visit my blog about Cullen and my review of the Cullen Bay Hotel.
Name a Scottish coastal town. I imagine you are thinking of somewhere like Oban, Ullapool or Saint Andrew's. Did you think of Cullen? I don't think it is on the radar for many visitors, but it should be and this is why:
Beaches, the sea, the harbour
They are the building blocks of a great coastal town. Cullen has the beautiful beaches, the harbour with the bobbing boats and the sea views.
Seatown is an area of Cullen that once housed a fishing community when the town was a major fishing port. It is characterised by small cottages, many brightly painted with front doors that open directly onto the winding streets.
The dense form of Seatown makes it difficult to drive through, so it is a pleasure to wander here, uninterrupted by traffic. I will always remember the smell of the salty sea mixed with freshly laundered clothes on washing lines.
The Ice Cream Shop
You expect to get a good ice cream in a coastal town. The Ice Cream Shop on Seafield Street does a fine range of flavours. I tried both the rum and raisin, and the coffee. The coffee one, laced with chocolate chips, was particularly delicious. For the perfect spot to eat your cone head to the nearby benches that overlook Seatown and the harbour.
Cullen Skink at the Cullen Bay Hotel
Seafood is the other type of cuisine that a coastal town should do well, and Cullen has a major claim to fame in that department. Cullen Skink, the famous Scottish dish of fish, potatoes and cream, was created here. The Cullen Bay Hotel does one of the best I have tasted and it is also the host venue of the World Cullen Skink Championships. I stayed at the hotel and you can read my review.
Cullen is a bit of a treasure trove for antique lovers with Shops like Cullen Antiques Centre and Bits N' Bobs packed with curiosities, like these vintage bicycles in the photo.
The Moray Coast Railway must have been one of the most scenic lines in the country, until it was closed in the 1960s. One very visible legacy of the railway is the viaducts in Cullen. They provide a spectacular focal point in the town and you can still walk or ride a bike across them to experience the views that train passangers would have enjoyed.
Deskford Church and Garden Galleries
Around 4 miles south of Cullen there is a ruined sixteenth century church with a beautiful carved Sacrament House. Nearby is the Deskford Garden Galleries with antiques, art and a wonderful vintage tea room experience. Read my blog about this place to find out more.
Bow Fiddle Rock
One of Scotland's most spectacular coastal rock formations is just a 15 minute bike ride from Cullen. The rock is located closer to the next town, Portknockie, but is very easy to visit from Cullen. My blog on the Bow Fiddle Rock gives you a good idea of what it is like to experience this place.
How to get to Cullen
Cullen is on National Cycle Network Route One, but if you are not doing that route the best way to reach the town is from Keith. There's a train station here and it is a 14 mile ride using quiet B-roads to get to Cullen. There is a full description of this route in my blog about the Willows Tearoom.
Inspire.Repeat is a Dublin company that produces a range of cycling socks. They have an eye catching design and technical features that make them suited to bike riding. I put them to the test.
The socks come in a selection of bold colours with words that capture the passion that cyclists have for their sport. Current choices include 'inspire, repeat', 'road hero', and 'no pain, no gain.' The design looks great and will appeal to those who want to be noticed. Cycling socks can be pretty bland and functional, but these are interesting. I was excited about receiving them in the post, which is not something you normally say about socks.
A great feeling
When I tried them for the first time I was struck by how rigid they are compared to normal socks and I had to pull them quite a bit to get them on. This is a sign that they are built to last and this tightness is what stopped them from falling down or bunching up inside my show. They felt soft against my feet and really comfortable.
The socks are made of something called PROLEN®YARN which is light, but lasts longer than cotton or wool. It is also a quick drying material.
After a couple of months of using these socks I have been impressed. Best thing about them is that they are built to last as they still feel and look like they did when new out of the box. I have bought similarly priced socks from other manufacturers and been disappointed at how quickly they started to fail. In one case it was a matter of weeks before my toe was poking out! However, the Inspire.Repeat socks have had no such issues.
There was a week of hot weather and I wore the socks everyday on my bicycle commutes. Although my feet felt warm in the socks, they were not uncomfortably hot. There was no build up of sweat, so the material must have been wicking away the moisture. After 5 days I dared to sniff the socks and they smelt fine, certainly not of smelly feet. Don't worry, I did eventually wash the socks, but I just wanted to see how well they would perform. They have been through the washing machine more times than I can remember, but they always come out looking like they are new.
I have used the socks on rainy days and they kept my feet dry. This was normal rain, nothing too heavy and the duration of the ride was 30 minutes. To be honest, I don't expect any cycling sock to keep me dry in the worst of the worst rain. That's what overshoes are for. I am more than happy that these socks kept me dry for typically rainy conditions on a short commute. Considering that these socks come out of the washing machine almost dry they can probably stand up to a good soaking, or at least dry pretty quickly once the storm has passed.
Inspire.Repeat have a strong commitment to lessening their impact on the environment. There is a CO2 offset for every order and the amount of water used to produce the yarn is a lot less than is needed for cotton. They don't use pesticides or toxic dyes.
These socks preform well on the bike and they are going to last a very long time because of the high quality of the material and construction. The design with the colours and motivational words is unique and adds to the appeal of this product. Take a closer look at the Inspire.Repeat website for great images of the socks. Let me know if you get a pair and what you think of them.
Cullen Skink is one of Scotland's most famous dishes. It is a fish soup made with potatoes, onions, milk and/or cream. It is delicious and one of my favourite Scottish foods.
I have to confess that, until recently, I had no idea there was an actual place in Scotland called Cullen, and that the soup originated here. I also discovered that Cullen is a coastal town famed for its beaches, harbour and relaxed atmosphere. That was it, I had to go! And where better to try the soup than the Cullen Bay Hotel, the host venue and previous winner of the Cullen Skink World Championships?
Overlooking Cullen Bay this hotel has probably the best location in town for views.
A short walk from the front door and you are on the beach, via the golf course. A main road, the A98, is right in front of the hotel and you must cross this to begin the walk down to the beach. The hotel is not in the centre of the town, but you can walk there in about 15 minutes.
This area of Scotland, the Moray coast is spectacular, but does not seem to get talked about as much as some other parts of the country. How many people would say Cullen when asked to think of a Scottish coastal town or village? I felt like I had come across an undiscovered part of the country, but that's just me. If you are looking for places in Scotland that might be less busy with visitors then Cullen could be a good choice.
There are 14 rooms and some have sea views, but they are more expensive. My room, without a sea view, was cosy with very comfortable beds.
Coming to the restaurant was like one of those TV ads for the perfect holiday. Someone shows you to your table and it has the most gorgeous view of the sea. The sky has no clouds and the water is a tranquil dark blue.
It was time to try Cullen Skink, in Cullen. I was was surprised to see not one, but two types of Cullen Skink on the menu. There was the traditional option and there was 'Cullen Skink With a Twist.' The 'twist' version had sherry, port jam and smoked haddock marinated in dark molasses.
I wanted to try the original version and it more than lived up to my expectations. It was thick and creamy, with succulent fish and the satisfying potato chunks that make this such a filling meal. I have tasted a lot of Skinks and this was definitely one of the best. Actually, it was the best because it was delicious and I was eating it in Cullen with this magnificent view.
For my main course I had the Fisherman's Pie, with salmon, haddock and prawns. It looked small, but it was packed with chunky bits of fish and a thick, creamy sauce.
Stroll on the beach after dinner
Take advantage of the hotel's location and head down to the beach after dinner, particularly in the summer when it is still light at 9pm.
From the hotel's front door it is a short walk across the golf course to the beach. The sand is soft and there might be a gentle wind sweeping across it. Let your mind relax and focus on the waves rolling in. Turn around and look back towards the hotel where you had just enjoyed Cullen Skink and you will feel very fortunate to have experienced this place.
Look out for the wildflowers growing here.
The sunsets are spectacular and during my stay I noticed that someone had written in the sand "last night here. Maggie is sad." I know exactly how she felt, it is a place that you don't want to leave.
The breakfast menu here is excellent with items like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, grilled haddock with a poached egg and haggis with poached eggs. I tried the French toast and it was perfect.
How to get here
Cullen is on National Cycle Network Route One, but if you are not doing that route the best way to reach the town is from Keith. There's a train station there and it is a 14 mile ride using quiet B-roads. There is a full description of this route in my blog about the Willows Tearoom.
If you’re planning your next big day out on your bike, you’ll need to be just as sure about the kit that you are taking along with you as you are of the route that you’ve spent time working on and mapping out. Making sure that you have wisely chosen your touring kit is one of the most important parts of preparing for your big cycling adventure, so everything goes smoothly. Since you’re going to be carrying whatever you choose to pack, picking lightweight and easily portable items is one of the most important parts of making sure that you are prepared. Here are some of our must-haves to consider packing when you’re preparing for a cycling adventure.
Water and Food
You can’t assume that shops are going to be open everywhere that you go, or even that you are going to be near one when you need to eat or drink, so making sure that water and food are high up on your packing list is a priority. It’s a good idea to invest in bottle cages that can be mounted on your bike’s seat tube or downtube, so that you can take plenty of water. If you’re planning to cycle on a hot day, consider chilled water bottles to keep your water cool. When it comes to food, snacks that are high in protein and energy are a good idea since they are typically easy to carry around.
Puncture Repair Kit and Spare Inner Tubes
You never know when a puncture might hit when you’re cycling. Make sure that you are prepared with everything that you need to deal with this problem, including a puncture repair kit and some spare inner tubes. It’s never fun to have to push a bike with a puncture home or to somewhere you are staying, so make sure that you take at least a pump, puncture patches, tyre levers, and a multi-tool with a chainbreaker. A couple of spare inner tubes are also useful. That way, if you get a bad puncture, you don’t have to rely on simply patching it up and can completely swap it out.
If you’re planning to be cycling all day and after dark, then you’ll need to make sure that you are well-lit. Even if you’re not planning to cycle on the roads, good lighting will make it easier for you to see around you and for you to be found easily if you need assistance at any point. This 1500 lumen front cycling light is designed for outdoor activities and a great choice for cycling tours. You may also want to consider using a headlight and definitely get bike lights.
Phone and Portable Charger
Most of us wouldn’t think about going anywhere without taking our phone these days. When you’re planning a cycling adventure, it’s important to consider where you’re going to safely store your phone. An arm phone band or sleeve can be a useful piece of kit to have, allowing you to keep your phone hands-free but easy to reach at any time. Along with that, if you’re planning to cycle for a long time, the last thing that you want is for your phone to run out of battery, leaving you unable to check the maps or call for help if you need it. This is where a portable charger can come in handy. You can get a charging case for some extra juice or even consider a solar-powered phone charger that will use the sun to keep your phone’s battery filled up.
If you’re cycling anywhere in the UK, you will know just how unpredictable the weather can be. Even on a warm day, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality. A lightweight rain jacket is a good idea since this can easily be carried around when not needed and will keep you dry if the heavens do open. A jacket that is thin and lightweight enough to be rolled into a pouch that can hang on your bike or bag is a good choice, as it isn’t bulky and won’t take up a lot of room.
Wherever your next cycle adventure takes you, don’t leave without these essentials.
An electric bike, also known as an e-bike, has all of the features of a standard bike plus an electrical drive system.
While e-bikes are slightly heavier and bigger than ordinary bikes due to the added motor, they shouldn’t be confused with electric motorcycles or scooters, which are quite different. Electric bikes still need to be shifted, steered, and pedalled like any other bicycle. The only difference is that they have a small engine, which helps make pedaling a lot easier. As such, having reasonable balance and handling to ensure the bike stays upright is a basic requirement for riders.
What are the benefits of using an electric bike?
1. They’re efficient and eco-friendly. Just like riding a conventional bike, e-bikes offer environmental benefits as they are a more sustainable means of transportation compared to gas-powered vehicles. Since they are powered by rechargeable batteries and do not burn any fuel, e-bikes do not release harmful gases into the environment.
2. Easy to use. Electric bikes, such as the Fiido D2S are quick to master and make bike riding easier without really taking away from the exploratory, fun-filled spirit of a bike touring trip.
3. They are a good equalizer for people with different levels of stamina and strength. With a little bit of exertion, even the weakest of riders can confidently face headwinds and rough terrain, things that would considerably slow them down on a normal bike. Simply put, electric bikes make touring more appealing and a lot easier for more people. While many people would love to be active and enjoy the landscapes and sights that are accessible during a bike tour, not many have the strength or stamina needed to go on a multi-day cycling tour. For those with physical restrictions such as back or joint pain, the boost that pedal-assist motors have to offer can help reduce strain while making the riding experience even more pleasurable.
4. They make bike riding even more fun. Choosing an electric bike could mean a more hassle-free bike ride where you get to spend more of your time enjoying the scenery along the way than huffing and puffing. Ebikes simply add ease and extra comfort on the trails.
5. They serve as an added safety net. Since e-bikes lessen the impact on your joints and reduce much of the strain exerted on your legs than regular bikes, they are the perfect solution for you if you have a physical condition or injury. Ebikes allow cyclists to stay active and have fun regardless of their physical limitations.
6. An e-bike allows users to achieve their goals, and some more! Some cycling routes can be very hard to complete on a normal bike, especially for newbie touring cyclists. However, with an e-bike, conquering such routes shouldn’t be that difficult.
Who would an electric bike benefit the most?
Built with simple operation and comfort in mind, and with designs suited for all types of people, e-bikes make it easy for cycling enthusiasts to enjoy the ride without having to worry about the strain associated with riding a bicycle. These bikes make touring trips a more viable option for everyone, regardless of their fitness level.
If you are new to cycling holidays and road cycling, aren’t yet an avid cyclist, or don’t know if you will be able to endure the cycling trail, then consider getting an electric bike.
Would you like to tackle some of the tough climbs on your cycling route? Then an e-bike is what you need as it offers you the extra boost you need to reach the summit.
If you are recovering from an injury or have joint issues, then the added support and boost e-bikes have to offer help reduce the strain on joints and legs far better than traditional bikes.
Choosing an e-bike is the best option for anyone concerned about their physical capabilities or fitness. These bikes allow people of varying cycling experience, fitness, and health levels to enjoy cycling together without too much of an effort.
Why are electric bikes more expensive than regular bikes?
The inclusion of a motor and the fact that the bike requires more maintenance means that buying an e-bike will cost you more than a normal bike. So, if the added ease and support that an electric bike has to offer appeals to you, then why not invest in it?
Gorgie farm is one of the top attractions to take children to in Edinburgh. It is a great place for kids to spend a few hours looking at the animals, sitting on the tractor and using the play park. I have used my bicycle to transport my son to Gorgie farm many times, but there are challenges with the route.
Gorgie farm is an example of a location, because of the nature of the attraction, that should be accessible by safe cycling infrastructure. The reality is that the busy roads that you need to use to reach Gorgie farm will put off many people from using a bicycle to get there.
I managed to find a safe route to Gorgie farm, but it took a lot of time to research and I have to push my bike for the last 5 minutes to avoid cycling on busy roads.
My main consideration for the route was the safety of my son, My route is a classic illustration of the challenges people face when trying to use a bicycle for everyday journeys.
Get on the Union Canal
Gorgie farm isn't too far from the Union Canal, which has the traffic-free cycle and walking path, so this was a good starting point in researching a route. First step was to work out how to get on to the Union Canal from where I live in a manner that avoided busy roads. I discussed the challenges of doing this in my post about cycling on the Union Canal.
Where do you get off the Union Canal?
The next step was to work out where to leave the Union Canal. Travelling north from the canal it is impossible to avoid the busy A70 road, but I studied the map to see if there was a compromise or alternative. I found one! If I came off the Union Canal at Harrison Park I could access some quieter residential streets that would take me that bit closer to the farm, avoiding busy roads.
From Harrison Park I took West Bryson Road, which curves down to Dundee Terrace. These two streets have more parked cars than moving cars, so they are nice and quiet. There is a little path near the end of Dundee Terrace, through some trees and bushes, that drops you at a pedestrian crossing over the A70 to Henderson Terrace. From here, Gorgie Farm is just a 5 minute walk.
Time to push the bike
Walk being the key word in this case. No way am I going to cycle down Henderson Terrace and then Gorgie Road to get to the farm. These are busy roads with no cycling infrastructure. I am not taking that risk with a child, so I push the bike along the pavement the rest of the way. I am content to do so and think 'actually, that wasn't too bad, at least I got here even if I had to walk the last 5 minutes.'
However, should I expect better? When I see images and videos of cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands or Denmark I think it should be better in Edinburgh. I should be able to take my son to Gorgie farm on a bicycle without feeling that the only way to do it safely is to use a car.
What is the answer?
Whereas I am happy with my partial cycling and partial walking route to Gorgie farm I can appreciate that many people would see this as a hassle and much rather use a different form of transport to get there. I cannot expect people to do what I do and spend ages researching safe bicycle routes, particularly when it is easier to jump in a car in a city that is largely designed to move people around in cars.
However, if we want to meet climate change and active travel targets then we need to have a city with more safe cycling infrastructure. The residents and visitors should feel that they have a choice to use a bicycle instead of a car to reach places like Gorgie Farm.
Read more of my thoughts on using a bicycle for commuting and everyday cycling journeys. I have been keeping a diary of my experiences.
Currently, besides EURO 2020 and Wimbledon, the biggest thing in sports is Tour de France. This is the 108th edition of this monumental event, and we are currently in the middle of the same.
The race started on June 26th, which is why we are free to say that the competition is underway for a solid period of time. There have been numerous exciting events, surprises, both positive and negative (the biggest being Primoz Roglic's withdrawal), but overall, this year's Tour met the expectations for now. Some aren't thrilled with the fact that Tadej Pogacar's win is already apparent, but that is what it is. All the bookmakers and their cycling betting odds suggest that the Slovenian is way ahead of the competition.
Pogacar's victory is currently priced at 1/11, meaning that you'll need to invest 11 units in winning one. It might not be what most punters desire, but that is the case for now. Richard Carapaz is second at 13/1, and Ben O'Connor comes third at 18/1, even though he wears the yellow jersey right now. The biggest tests are yet to come, and that is when Pogacar turns up the pace. Rigoberto Uran is 25/1, and Jonas Vingegaard sits at 33/1.
As said, the battle for the Tour de France winner this year is not that interesting, but that is solely because we have a very dominant rider, much, much better than the rest of the competition. Judging by the way he develops and his age, Pogacar might be the next big thing in the history of this sport. Let us remind you that he has only 22 years.
The path towards a win is clear now, with his biggest rival, Primoz Roglic, abandoning the race. The crashes he endured in the early stages of the race were too much for the older Slovenian, and he decided to quit before the 10th stage. This is a gift, Pogacar won't skip.
However, the other competitions will be very interesting.
King of the Mountain title will be hard to reach, even for Pogacar. Right now, the top favorite for this one is Nairo Quintana, 6/4, who is ahead of Pogacar, 9/2. The Colombian won this honor in 2013, while the Slovenian is the last year's winner. Wouter Poels waits his chance from the dark, 13/1, and is slightly better positioned than Michael Woods 7/1. The next batch of riders is led by Miguel Angel Lopez, Mattia Cattaneo, and Sergio Higuita, all 25/1 to win.
When talking about the Points Classification, the undisputed Peter Sagan, who didn't win just twice since 2012, is not almighty as before. With 13/2 for another eighth green jersey, he is in the second echelon of the candidates for that title.
The No.1 favorite is the British veteran and the 2010 winner, Mark Cavendish, 10/11. Second on the list is Sonny Colbrelli at 7/1, and then comes Nacer Bouhanni at 11/1. With 13/2 besides Sagan are Michael Matthews and Jasper Philipsen, while Wout Van Aert is far behind at 14/1.
There isn't too much excitement in the remaining two competitions for the Young Rider and the Team Classification. Pogacar will win his second straight award for the best youngster, and the bookmakers see that as an inevitable outcome, 1/20.
As for the team's competition, Bahrain Merida created a gap that is probably too big for all others to cover. Their win is priced at 4/6, and the closest rivals are Ineos Grenafiers with 11/4. Ag2r is 14/1, Astana 15/1, while Jumbo Visma and EF Education-Nippo have the same odds, 18/1.
We have almost two more weeks until the end, with the last stage taking place on 18th July. It shall start at Chatou and finish at Champs-Elysees.
The Union Canal path is one of Edinburgh's primary traffic-free cycle routes. It can be the ideal way to reach various parts of the city whilst avoiding motor traffic. However, I don't always use it because of a number of issues that I will discuss in this blog. These issues highlight why the Union Canal cannot always be a part of the solution to providing segregated cycling infrastructure for everyday journeys.
In a previous blog I wrote about my cycle commute using Colinton Road. The Union Canal path follows much of this road and it provides a traffic-free alternative, but I don't always find that it works for me and this is why:
1. Poor access onto the canal
If you are lucky enough to live right next to, or very close to the canal path then its easy to get on it. My closest access point is via the disused railway path that travels through the famous Colinton Tunnel. This railway path goes through Colinton Dell, alongside the Water of Leith and is a beautiful place for a leisure bike ride. However, for most of the winter months it is a muddy mess that is difficult and inconvenient to cycle through, particularly if you need to get somewhere in good time and you really do not want your bike to be messed up by all that mud.
I can use another access point just off Craiglockhart Road North and this avoids the muddy path. However, to get to Craiglockhart Road North you need to cycle on Colinton Road, which can be busy with traffic. You can avoid some of Colinton Road by taking the quieter roads through the housing streets of Craiglockhart, but it is convoluted, takes longer and it involves trying to cross over the busy Craiglockhart Avenue. Once you reach the canal access point you will find that there are steps. That's okay for some, but not everyone will manage to get their bike down these steps.
2. Slateford Viaduct
If I do access the canal from the disused railway path I will come across one of the canal's main pinch points, the Slateford Viaduct. This has an extremely narrow cobblestone path. The signage here states that you should not cycle on it and walk across with your bike, although some people do cycle it. It is too narrow for people travelling in opposite directions to pass each other without one person coming to a complete stop and pulling right into the edge. There is always a feeling that someone is going to fall into the water. Crossing the viaduct a few times a year for a leisure trip along the canal can be a novelty, but for everyday cycling for commuting or other purposes it is inconvenient and slows down the journey time.
3. Blind spots when cycling under bridges
When cycling on the Union Canal there are a large number of bridges that the path passes beneath. Many of these are pinch points with a blind spot that means you cannot see if there is another person approaching in the opposite direction. A collision is likely without the use of a bicycle bell. Not every person that uses the canal has a bell on their bike and some people might not hear it if they are listening to music. I slow right down at these bridges because of the risk of a collision, but I have seen many people on bicycles going too fast. The path under some of these bridges narrows and some have cobblestones which adds to the challenge of clearing these bridges safely.
4. The volume of people using the Canal path
The closer you are to the city centre the busier the path can be. It is extremely popular with joggers, dog walkers, other bike riders, families and anybody who fancies getting out and about for fresh air. The path is very narrow in places and this can make it a challenge to get anywhere quickly on a bicycle. The right thing to do is to slow down on this path and respect the other users. The huge number of people that enjoy this space and the large number of people using it for cycling is a clear message that the city needs more spaces like this. Everyone is cramming onto the few traffic-free green spaces that we have in the city.
5. The fast cyclists
I notice that there are some people using bicycles on the canal path that are in a rush and rarely slow down for anything. I guess they are using it for their commute and want to be able to go as fast as they would on a road. They will ring their bell and expect everyone else to move out of their path. If someone like this is behind me and I am taking precautions like slowing down at the bridges or slowing down for pedestrians I always feel that they are getting impatient. And if someone like this is travelling in the opposite direction I fear the possibility of a collision, particularly at the narrowest parts of the path.
These are the reasons that I do not always use the canal path for my everyday journeys. I think it largely depends on where you live and where you are travelling to as to how useful and convenient the canal path is, and if you mind dealing with things like the bridges and cobbles.
The Union Canal opened in 1822 and the purpose of the path was to allow horses to pull the boats along. It was never designed with cycle commuting in mind. It is wonderful to be able to travel by bicycle along this canal and I highly recommend it for leisure cycling. I feel fortunate to have the canal path as an outdoor space in my city. However, it cannot be depended upon as part of the plan to provide segregated cycling infrastructure for efficient, everyday journeys.
How about you? Do you use the canal path for your everyday bicycle journeys? Leave me a comment below.
Guest post by Trevor Fenner, founder and owner of Electric Bike Paradise.
Staying indoors, playing with your PlayStation, or watching TV could be a decent way to spend the day, but it can also get boring. At some point, you have to pick yourself up and just go outside. Explore the outdoors and appreciate the scenery! However, getting around with only your feet can only go so far. Likewise, with a private car or a motorcycle, you’ll end up consuming too much fossil fuel in that probably long journey, not to mention the costs.
The outside world has so much to offer! From the beach to the mountains, cities, and suburbs, roads and trails never seem to end. These picturesque destinations are waiting for you. All you need is a reliable ride to make you appreciate all that there is around you. And what better way to explore the great outdoors than with a bicycle (or perhaps an electric-powered one.)
“But why electric bikes?” you ask. While there are many options to choose from, e-bikes seem to be the perfect buddy to accompany you on your trip! Not only because electric bicycles are more environmentally friendly than cars or buses, they too provide countless health benefits. And while we’re at it, here are five main reasons why you should choose a bicycle when exploring the outdoors.
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Bicycle
We all know leg days are important, but it is always something we try to avoid. Well, it doesn’t always have to be so scary. Cycling, especially with an electric bike, can make lower body exercises something to look forward to. (Ask the cyclers, even!) To top that off, with cycling, you not only give yourself a leg day, but you also work different areas in your body: cycling requires the coordination of your arms to your core to your legs! It’s a great form of aerobic exercise that can pump up your heart rate and encourage blood circulation.
Giving your body the movement it needs to be coupled with changing scenery allows you to take care of your physical and mental well-being! As your brain enjoys blood circulation, it experiences the promotion of a cognitive mind, the stimulation of happy hormones like endorphins! With research even stating it to be a great way to reduce vulnerability to anxiety, cycling has made a healthy mind just in reach.
With the ever-advancing technology, there is more significant emission of carbon gases experienced. But does that need to be the case? Electric bikes brought us a step closer to being the best caterer on the Earth by providing us with zero-emission modes of transport. That means that along with your body, the planet also enjoys the many benefits of your choice. By padding on, one less person contributes to the increasing temperature of the Earth, the pollution in the air we breathe, and more!
Unlike cars or motorcycles, cycling with e-bikes uses renewable energy—a sustainable choice for today and tomorrow. It utilizes energy most efficiently, allowing up to a whopping 100 miles of travel before the battery empties. Ultimately, an electric bike proved itself worthy of our attention and investment. Down from the source of its energy to the emissions (which is none, by the way), you are sure to be doing this planet an excellent service by using an electric bike!
Now you might be concerned about putting in that initial upfront cost but know that when you look into it closely, you'll find that you'll be saving a whole lot of money instead. First off, it's nothing compared to purchasing a car or a motorcycle—even considering only the down payment for the latter said vehicles, the disparity is massive. Maintenance, too, is another story. With cars, it's usually that expense that eats up your income. Electric bicycles don't also require gas as it only needs recharging. And of course, this just altogether reduces your cost of transportation, allowing you to save up in the long run. Aside from costs that you may incur now: living a healthy lifestyle is the most cost-saving practice you could do. Imagine the vile of hospitalization expenses. You don't want to get your hands on that! As you can see, the overall economic considerations of getting an electric bike are just too good.
More Fun to Use
Riding a conventional bicycle can get a little exhausting at some point. Your legs can't sustain the same level of effort and energy on pedaling all the time, so when the time comes you're too tired to pedal, an extra boost or assistance is extremely helpful. With an electric bike, you can easily switch between pedal-only mode, pedal-assist, and throttle mode.
Speaking of added boost and strength, remember that problematic bike trail you couldn't pass through last summer? Well, with an electric bike (especially the electric mountain bike type), there will be no more untackled path.
Most electric bikes' main features include the display systems that let you see the speed, trip distance, and battery level. Some also come with a USB port where you can charge your portable electronic device. But most of all, electric bikes feature assisted pedaling, so you won't have to spend most of your energy pedaling so you can focus more on what really matters, the lovely scenery.
There’s always an e-bike for you!
Since electric bikes became a trend, countless types of e-bikes started to develop. The e-bike industry adapted to the latest technology and made breakthroughs to cater to the specific needs of the people. We know you're wondering which one suits you best, but worry not because we've listed some of the best e-bike types:
As we have come to notice, there are numerous advantages in getting yourself an electric bike. These come in the number of benefits: from yourself, to your wallet, and even to the environment.
Often, we think we need to do something big or extravagant to take care of ourselves and our space, but it is in the small consistencies where we can create healthy and sustainable environments for ourselves and others.
If you’re having doubts now, know that as we’ve uncovered, choosing this eco-friendly vehicle is something you can guarantee yourself for the long haul. It is something you can conveniently use to step out (literally) into the world and out of your comfort zone.
An electric bike is an inclusive instrument you can use to get yourself going into a healthier and Earth-friendly lifestyle. There really is no reason to hesitate as the pros far outweigh the cons. Get one for yourself and get moving now!
About the author:
Trevor Fenner is the founder of Electric Bike Paradise, the #1 online retailer of electric bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, and electric golf caddies. Trevor has been selling bicycles, electric bikes, and electric scooters online since 2010 and eventually established Electric Bike Paradise in late 2013 when he happened to meet a car enthusiast that introduced him to electric bikes. Trevor spent time searching for electric bikes online but couldn’t find a website that offered a wide selection of electric bikes, scooters, and informational articles. That is why he decided to start a website where everyone can shop conveniently, browse buying guides, and read educational posts. The website is called ElectricBikeParadise.com.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.