My friend Sophie is lovely and pulls off a style that works both on the bike and off. Here, she tells us a bit more about her cycling experience in Edinburgh.
How long have you been cycling and what got you interested in it?
I’ve always loved cycling but wouldn’t have called myself a regular cyclist until about six months after I moved to Edinburgh, over four years ago now. Since then, apart from a brief hiatus in Canada, barely a day has gone by when I haven’t used my bike (the days off usually due to the treacherous icy roads in winter…). As I’m sure many city cyclists would agree once you realise how much faster, how much more convenient and how much damn fun cycling around the city as lovely as Edinburgh is it’s almost impossible to stop!
Tell us about your bike.
She’s a thing of beauty – though in this case beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. My bike is a 7 year old black Giant hybrid, fantastically smooth on the roads but with enough tread on the tires to navigate comfortably through the potholes on Leith Walk and the muddy Innertube paths. This year I’m determined she shall also have some mud guards to protect my backside against constant splashback…
What is your favourite cycle route in Edinburgh?
There are so many! I don’t think I would have discovered half of my favourite places in this city without a bike. For peaceful, sunny, summer Sunday evenings cruising down the canal towards Ratho is wonderful. After being told about the amazing Innertube pathways by Bikeable Jo last year (how had I not known about these before?!) I ventured down to Cramond Island and along the coast to Ocean Terminal, now another favourite route. Though a firm contender for my new favourite is the Water of Leith, which at this time of year as the trees are turning gold is truly spectacular.
What is your must-have bikeable accessory?
A waterproof jacket. It is worth investing a bit of money into a garment that you will most likely wear nearly every day, especially in the wetter months. I have a lovely blue Rab, which although a few years old now still staves off the worst of the weather. Also a helmet! It may look lame but death by skull-crushing is lamer.
Best tip for cycling in the cold weather months
A decent pair of gloves! We’ve all had the experience of fingers so cold they actually hurt and trying to change gear/brake with said fingers can be pretty unpleasant. Winter in Scotland can be long so, again, worth spending the money on a decent pair. Chain Reaction and Wiggle often have some good deals on their websites in the run-up to winter.
Any advice for people starting to cycle
Don’t be scared of the road. Cycling in the city is mostly about common sense and a solid pair of quads and for the most part Edinburgh is a very accommodating and enjoyable city for cyclists. Having a bike gives you so much freedom, so just enjoy it!!