Perhaps over the Easter break you had the luxury of a long four-day weekend. Perhaps you enjoyed long lie-ins; lazy afternoons or possibly reignited your love affair with chocolate.
I did none of these things.
Why? Because I was on a bike. In Edinburgh. And the only way back to Glasgow was to get on said bike and peddle.
My 55 mile adventure started at the Gear Bikes shop on Gibson Street in Glasgow, where I handed ‘Joe the Bike Guy’ around £35 for three days on wheels.
Admittedly the prospect of cycling from Edinburgh to Glasgow for three days consecutively filled my body with dread. I could only hope that my natural padding would protect my bottom.
Discovering new and wonderful things – and fantastic views
Our eight-bike convoy of varying abilities assembled in Edinburgh and wheeled nearly 20 miles per day along the canal, biking between four – six hours each day before collapsing each night at our hotel.
On day two my weary legs and fragile arse recoiled at the sight of the tortuous seat but amazingly by day three I got into a flow, fortified my posterior and actually began to enjoy the freedom of two wheels.
And I saw a heck of a lot of stuff that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Cool stuff like the fascinating Falkirk Wheel and the eerie 600 metre long Falkirk Tunnel.
Beautiful stuff like sunset in Linlithgow, miles and miles of extraordinary scenery and boats of all shapes on the canal.
Old stuff like the Linlithgow Palace and aqueducts.
And other random but totally wonderful stuff like the sweetest and possibly shyest duck. Ever.
Start early, take breaks – make one of them at the pub
By day three I’m filled with accomplishment as I bike along the canal with Glasgow on the horizon. I’ve conquered 55 miles and my fear of birds. If I can do it, anyone can.
But if you’d rather try something a little less full on, rent bikes for half-day from friendly Joe and head east for about an hour until you reach the lovely Stables Pub and Brewery. Treat yourself to lunch, lounge by the canal and if you’re lucky, soak up some sunshine and get aquainted with a timid feathered-friend.
Top tips from a (non) pro
Do it with a group – helps if some are bike enthusiast to cheer you on, pick you up and dust you off.
Start early and take short rest breaks. Lots of breaks. If at all possible, make one of these breaks a stop at the pub for a SINGLE celebratory drink – then back on the bike pronto!
Put your fastest in the lead, you’re slowest in the centre and the mid-range riders at the back – this isn’t a science but it works and keeps a constant pace. Mind over matter, your bottom will get use to and triumph over the callous seat.
Albert Einstein supposedly came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bike. And while I didn’t have any metaphysic epiphanies, when this moving body was gliding along all seemed right with the world.
*Ok, so really only 55 miles. But after three days on a bike your arse may feel like it’s done 500.