Tag Archives: union canal

Urban cyclery.

Taking bikes to a Jean Michel Jarre gig might not be the first thing that pops into your mind but with gig tickets and 2 nights hotel booked it seemed like an ideal opportunity to explore some of Glasgow on two wheels.

Carol and I travelled by train to Glasgow Queen Street and then onwards to our hotel in the West End by a very effective protected bike lane which took us through the traffic and over the motorway system safely and efficiently.  Before heading for our hotel we nipped into the Siempre bike cafe on Dumbarton road to while away some time till book in.  We had checked with the hotel that they had storage for bikes and this was in the main corridor under a cctv camera which, by the markings on the wall was a pretty regular occurrence.   With bikes stowed and after a wash and change we headed out for food and the Hydro which was just a short walk away.  Whilst browsing the net for food outlets in the vicinity I came across Fanny Trollopes literally 200yds from the front door of our hotel, Fannys it was. Advertising a two course pre theatre dinner for £15 I would happily have paid double for the food.  It was excellent.  No use describing what we had here as the menu changes on a frequent basis but suffice to say even if you think you know what you are getting it will be different with some twist to the flavour.  The gig at the Hydro was amazing and JMJ in his seventies still has the energy and passion he showed at the Docklands in the 80’s.

After a not too heavy breakfast served efficiently and quickly by the staff in the Sandyford we climbed on our bikes and headed back to the Hydro and the Clyde walkway.  This had been work in progress when I did my LEJoG and although some stretches were still undergoing work had vastly improved in the 3 years since I had last been thru.  We followed the walkway out to Clydebank and Dalmuir where we had a break for a cuppa mainly to warm ourselves up as a slight rain was falling.  We had lunch booked at The Ubiqitous Chip in the Centre so after tea we headed back to the centre but along the F. C Canal.

WE followed the canal back towards the centre, through the Botanic Gardens and into Ashton Lane and the Ubiqitous Chip.  Unlike Fannys this was booked on purpose and features in Peter Irvine’s Scotland the Best.  Soup and an open sandwich was the order of the day here and the results are shown below.  Another gem of a place!

After lunch we headed back to The Sandyford.

We had return tickets for the train but decided to bike down the Canal to Lenzie or Croy and catch the train from there.  So we headed back to the Canal via the River Kelvin and the Botanic Gardens and headed NE first then due East along a well tarmaced canalside path.   We stopped at a canalside pub for a cuppa and sheltered under an umbrella from the rain. Then continued on towards Lenzie.  We left the canal at Kirkintilloch and picked up a cycle path near the marina from there it was simply a case of following signs to the station.  On the way there we cycled across a nature reserve and through a wood both of which even in the rain were very pleasant.

We now begun a tour of Central Scotland’s lesser known rail stations from Lenzie to Larbert where we changed to get our train to Edinburgh and were told in no uncertain terms by a surly rail guard to move our bikes two carriages down as the bike storage was full.  We would have done this anyway. But a smile doesn’t hurt does it!!

Totals for the weekend were 30 miles 530 feet climbed in 3h 27.  Not great distances but the whole point of the trip apart from JMJ obviously was to do some biking in Glasgow. 


A wee Visit to Edinburgh

Sometimes the best rides are those that are a bit more off the cuff than planned turn by turn that was Wednesday’s ride with Carol.  With good weather forecast and an unfinished trundle around cycle paths in the capital still on our agenda we headed over to Auld Reekie by train with a couple of objectives but no fixed plan.

Carol wanted to visit Evans and Edinburgh Bike Co-op to take a look at panniers for our trip to France so with some sort of loose plan we headed for the train station and the 10:33 to South Gyle.  We headed along the path that you can see from the train when you come in from Fife to Edinburgh and cut off along the Water of Leith and the Union Canal to the Canal Basin at Fountainbridge. Once at the basin Evans is literally up the road about 200m.  We spent about 45 mins in the shop and Carol tried a set of panniers on her Pug whilst I queried the guy about a Tour de Fer 20.  We both left the shop empty handed and retraced our steps back to the canal basin for lunch in the sun.  A sharing platter of smorgasbord. 

Once we had eaten we mounted our trusty steeds again and pedalled off to the Meadows and Edinburgh Bike Co-op.  Once again Carol tried a set of panniers on her Pug, the shop’s own brand whereas the others had been Altura.   The Bike Co-op had a Tour de Fer 10 in but not a 20 so once again we left a bike shop empty handed!  After a bit of to and froing on the path and a 180 degree turn we headed in the direction of the Forth.

Our next stop was Go Outdoors which was the other side of the town and meant cycling thru the city centre with not only traffic to contend with but TRAM LINES!!! 

 It must be said we negotiated both obstacles safely and were soon whizzing down Scotland Street on our way to Leith and Go Outdoors.  It has been a while since I have been in the shop and it looks a great deal better than it used to with good prices on well known brands.  The Leith shop has a large selection of bikes from Orbea, Viking and some other brands it also does servicing.  After a quick look round we left and headed for a cafe.   It was approaching 5 by this time and although we had not done many miles it was great in the sun and good practice for pedalling down the canals in France although it might be slightly warmer there.  We stopped at a cafe just down from the Botanics and consumed a waffle each and a pot of Earl Grey.  The waffles were amazing and so light. 

Fed and watered we headed to Waverley station and the train home.  The station now has a bike lane going down into it this was news to us and whilst I managed to get onto it Carol couldn’t and proceeded to cycle down the pedestrian way.  At the bottom of the path she was approached by a man in blue and told to use the bike lane next time.  Fine officer but your van is parked right in the middle of it!  With 45 mins till the next train we decided to head outside and try and catch what was left of the sun in Princess Street Gardens.  Unfortunately they were being locked up so after a quick circuit of the gardens we headed back to the station and our train home.

So with 21 miles pedalled 800ft climbed 3 bike shops visited and more of the capital’s bike paths explored it was rather a good day!!