It is a beautiful day for a cycle ride here in Edinburgh. The sun is shining, the air is clean, the sea and the sky are both blue, and there is very little to spoil the view.
You can watch the highlights video on my Facebook page as always here
But I did want to highlight some of the bits of my cycle today because they were a mixture of good, great, funny, and perplexing.
First there was navigating the unexpected roadworks.
Then it was the pinch points. Thankfully I could follow a chap through the first narrow alleyway and waiting at the gate for the up hill rider wasn’t a problem.
The road closure certainly aided access to the seafront and meant lots of space on the hill.
And having got through to the sea front the wide path allowed for plenty of social distancing although some people seemed to have a different understanding of 2metres to others. There were plenty of people out; cyclist, dog walkers, runners, and people just enjoying a stroll in the sunshine. I thought I’d entertain you a little by including a picture of me, taking a picture, in my very large and bright ‘Pedal on Parliament’ T-shirt, and my new hi-vis socks.
Heading back along the fairly deserted roads heading for the next section of cycle route put me into the shade for a wee while, which as it was now getting quite hot, was welcome. I think some visitors didn’t realise Scotland was still closed, including the camping sites if this road was anything to go by.
Through the last real pinch point and then on to the confusing exit, and the bit where there looks like there’s a cycle path but it suddenly disappears…
Having turned around and headed in a different direction, aiming to link with the Telford Road path, you have this wonderful piece of infrastructure (sic). It’s not quite painted on, as there is an overlay surface as well as a paint boundary, but much of it is worn away and the surface is badly breaking up. It is also very narrow considering the lorries and buses that use the route. Although it is still clear, and as I said it isn’t very wide, in fact the pavement is wider, and I couldn’t quite work out if I was meant to be on the road or it had been superseded by the wider path(?).
The directions at the wide junction are not clear and easy to miss until you’ve practically passed them. You are supposed to leave the road, for that same wide path I was questioning earlier, and then use the pedestrian crossing to get over the junction. Thankfully, being so quiet, I managed to get across in the change of lights but it was a close run thing. Some earlier indication of what is coming up would help, just one extra sign 50yards earlier? Or if the path is now shared use, can it have some signage please?
Some of the Telford path is more interesting that other bits. Much of it is not wide enough for a real 2m social distance, but while it is quiet you can around it to a degree. The tunnels still stink of pee, there is no two aways around it, and the darkness is not very welcome even on a nice sunny day. But, we can’t have everything, and some inner city bits are a damned sight scarier than this is, believe me.
The new ‘Paths for Everyone’ signage was out along almost all of the routes I took today and this was very welcomed. I hope it decreases the problems between all the various user groups, and it really is just applied common sense. Not in the Boris Johnson sense, but in the age old society is for everyone common sense.
But the most exciting thing on the whole route was being overtaken by the family on e-cargo bikes, or are they cargo e-bikes? I am not sure, but they looked brilliant. I told them as much. You really could dispense with the car in the city with one of these, and having the loads split between the family would enable you to do a very large shop indeed!
After that excitement it was off the segregated route, onto the ‘quiet route’, back again through the pinch point, and onto NCN1, happily signposted with the big number ‘1’ on the road. From here it was just navigate the roadworks, and the machinery, and head onto the quiet suburban roads towards home.
Sadly, home isn’t on a quiet road, it’s on a fairly busy road in fact, and I have to negotiate that every time I go out. I am lucky I can get off it fairly quickly, but it isn’t anywhere near so much fun in the ‘normal’ traffic levels.
At the moment it’s quite pleasant, although I would say there’s a car going past my house roughly every 10seconds so it’s definitely getting much busier again.
Lockdown is still in place in Edinburgh, in fact it’s in place in all of Scotland at the moment, but the sunny weather and the pressure from English owned companies (who are back at work), is forcing many Scot’s residents back to work also.
The lovely weather is set to continue tomorrow, although today is supposed to be the hottest of 2020 so far for much of the country. Up here in Scotland that means a very pleasant temperature indeed, and I was happy to be out and back pretty early.
I have been studying with the OU during this lockdown period, and I understand the system of development of infrastructure in cities a little more now. It is hard to meet the needs of all the stakeholders, but there has to be more done now whilst we have the chance to change both the attitudes and the city. We might not get this opportunity again, and climate change is going to made Covid-19 look like a mild cold.