Yesterday I cycled in the Edinburgh Critical Mass.
The idea about Critical Mass is to raise awareness of cycling. A large group of cyclists just get together and cycle around a city as a group. It is completely unorganised except the starting location and time. No route is planned in advance. Anyone in the group can decide to take the lead and the route is chosen on the fly by consensus.
In Edinburgh, on the last Friday of every month at 17:30 for 18:00 set off, a bunch of cyclists get together at the the foot of the mound beside the National Galleries of Scotland. The cycle takes around an hour or two.
Some photos that I took on Flickr
Same photos on Picasa Web Albums
On Wednesday I cycled about 36 miles from Edinburgh to Dunbar in just over 2 hours. The tail wind and my significant amount of recent cycling helped with the short duration. I lazily took the train back.
Map of ride (no track points between Dunbar station and Edinburgh Waverley station).
Alex Salmond is now the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament.
There were 4 candidates in total: Annabel Goldie (Conservative), Jack McConnell (Labour), Alex Salmond (SNP), and Nicol Steven (Lib Dem).
The 2 Greens voted for the SNP leader to become First Minister. All the other parties voted for their own party leader. Votes were: Annabel Goldie: 16; Jack McConnell: 46; Alex Salmond: 49; Nicol Steven: 16; abstain: 1.
The voting went to a second round with only Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond. The candidate with the most votes in the first round did not get more votes than the votes for all other candidates. For the second round the votes were: Jack McConnell: 46; Alex Salmond: 49; abstain 43.
The political landscape in Scotland is changing, hopefully for the better.
Today is an election day in the Scotland. We are voting for new MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) and local councillors.
For the Scottish Parliament Constituency vote, the BBC is providing a free txt alert system. (Choose you constituency, then reply to a text message to confirm that you want the message).
This year the council elections will be interesting as this year Scotland is moving from First Past the Post to the Single Transferable Vote (or proportional representation). Instead of putting a cross for the appropriate candidate, we are numbering the candidates with 1 for the candidate that we want, a 2 for the candidate that we want next, etc.
Lets see what the election brings about in terms of a potentially new government.
Yesterday I cycled 140KM (87 miles). I first headed out to Balerno along the Lanark Road, where I joined the National Cycle Route 75. I followed it as best as I could all the way into Glasgow. Along the Clyde I switched over the the National Cycle Route 7, which took me out to Bowling, where I took a break at the Bowling Basin/Harbour. Bowling is where the Forth and Clyde Canal joins the River Clyde.
Unfortunately I managed to get 2 punctures from the rim side of the inner tube. The first around Coatbridge I managed to fix. After that I got all the way to Bowling and then start heading back along the Forth and Clyde canal. At the towpath access point for Kilsyth and Croy I got a second puncture in another place again on the rim side of the tire. I tried to fix it, but as soon as I got it all back together, I start to hear a high pitched whistle coming from where I just fixed the puncture. The tire was flat within minute. It was getting dark and it was still about another 20 miles to Falkirk, so I decided to head to Croy station and get the train from there back home for £6.05.
It wasn’t all that bad, it seems to be the second most I have cycled in one day. Maybe I’ll get around to doing the trip again and set myself a new record for how far I can cycle in one day.
Some photos of my trip
Maps of the trip (in 4 sections):
Edinburgh -> Livingston
Livingston -> Puncture Repair 1 (Coatbridge)
Puncture Repair 1 (Coatbridge) -> Bowling
Bowling -> Kilsyth/Croy on Forth and Clyde Canal
On Saturday I cycled from Edinburgh to Glasgow along the National Cycle Network Route 75 (except the bits where I missed some signs and got lost). Then to get back home I used the Forth and Clyde canal to Falkirk, where I switch to the Union Canal back into Edinburgh.
This is the first time that I have knowingly cycled over 100 miles in one day. It took me about 12 and a half hours to get there and back. I was expecting it to take another hour or two to do the journey. Heading West took longer due to the head wind and getting lost a few times due to the National Cycle Network not being well sign posted in places and not having been in the area before.
Going through North Lanarkshire isn’t particularly great on the bike due to the very high amount of broken glass lying around on the cycle paths. Livingston has some glass lying around in a few places, but it is no where near as bad as heading through the North Lanarkshire council area.
See the route.
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Yesterday I took a long 80 mile cycle. Initially I headed West from Colinton in Edinburgh through to Airdrie. In Airdrie I lost track of the sign posts for the National Cycle Route 75. So I headed North to the Forth and Clyde Canal to Falkirk. At Falkirk I joined the Union canal home.
There was only 2 hilly sections of the route. There is a steady climb from Colinton to Balerno. Though from Balerno towards Kirknewton there is a steep downhill. Heading from Airdrie to the Forth and Clyde Canal there were quire a few hills that I went over.
Along the Bathgate to Airdrie section there is a series of large artworks along the path.
At Falkirk the sun was setting behind the Falkirk Wheel as I was passing.
I was surprised that I didn’t get another puncture going through Livingston or on the Airdrie side of the Bathgate to Airdrie Cycle Path, with the amount of broken glass lying around.
The longest cycled in one day was about 70 miles to Berwick Upon-Tweed. So yesterday set a new record. Not much more now until I cycle 100 miles in one day.
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Today was the first time that I cycled along the Union Canal from the canal basin near Tollcross in Edinburgh to Wester Hailes in the West of the City. The surface was very smooth and without the potholes that were there before. In many places, the path is wider than what it was before.
The nice weather has also got people out, as the canal towpath was fairly busy, compared to what I have seen it before.
On Sunday afternoon, there was some strong Westerly winds, so rather than cycling into the wind, I decided to cycle with the wind. Rather than do my usual of cycle somewhere, and then take the train home if it isn’t a circular route, or I’m too tired; I took the train out to Dunblane and started cycling from there.
It took about an hour to get from Edinburgh Park to Dunblane. The train diverted via Falkirk High instead of Falkirk Grahamson and missing out Camelon due to some essential rail maintenance. After Falkirk High the train stopped to turn around and head in the other direction so that it could go north towards Dunblane. The cost was £4.10.
On getting off the train at Dunblane, I looked North and though “oh no, the heavens are about to open”. The sky was very dark with very heavy and dark cloud. I set on my way hoping that I wouldn’t get totally soaked. Heading down into Bridge of Allan, there was a little flurry of snow. There wasn’t enough for it to lie on the ground. After Bridge of Allan, I headed through Stirling, Tullibody, Alloa to Kincardine on the North Side of the River Forth.
Due to the high winds the Forth Road Bridge was closed, so I headed South over the Kincardine Bridge to Grangemouth. There I headed into a head wind into Falkirk. At Falkirk I joined the Union Canal beside Falkirk High Station. I now know how Falkirk High got its name. It sits at the top of a hill on the south side of Falkirk.
I probably would have been faster keeping to the road, though the canal towpath is much simpler since you are unlikely to take a wrong turn.
The total distance that I cycled was about 54 miles. It took me about 5 hours and 40 minutes in total, with a couple of breaks.
Map of the Route
On Saturday I took a cycle along the Union Canal to Falkirk and then the Forth and Clyde Canal to Glasgow. It was a total of about 60 or 70 miles.
I timed it nicely for getting into Falkirk as I got to see the Falkirk Wheel turning.
It was a really nice day for the cycle, with only a short shower of rain just after Falkirk. The great thing about cycling along the canal towpaths, is that it is fairly level all the way along the route. However, the towpath in places is very muddy.
I took the train home from Glasgow Central to Wester Hailes. At £4.35 it was cheaper than going from Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Park, which is more frequent, but requires a change to get there.