I promised an update of my cycle to work so I guess I should oblige.
For years I have been a road cyclist. I’ve used cycle paths maybe a handful of times, always finding them crowded with too many dog which are off the leash, unmaintained, littered with glass and worst of all taking very indirect routes. Therefore I’ve made the conscious decision not to use them for my daily commute and instead used the public roads. in all honesty though, I have had very little bad experiences on the road. I found most of my journeys go without issue and because the roads are maintained, I’ve been able to cycle right through winter without worrying too much about ice.
Recently however, I joined the group of cyclists traveling from Portobello in Edinburgh through to the city centre for the Pedal on Parliament event and they used the well known cycle route called the Innocent cycle path. So called because it uses what was the old Innocent railway and tunnel.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
My normal route to work is 6.9 miles of road traveling through Niddrie and up the Dalkeith road hill through to edinburgh centre. It’s not a bad route and most of the roads are pretty wide and there are a few bus lanes and cycle lanes. Mostly I have enjoyed this route (ok maybe not the hill). Now I am almost completely off road, there is a 2 or 3 minute on road journey at the start and again the same at the end. Apart from that traffic free. The route seems to be well maintained and is lit along a lot of it, although if these lights work I am not sure. I know the lights at the first part of the journey have not worked in more than a year. There are dogs of the lead but not a huge amount and so far I have found all the other path users to be very friendly and polite and it’s only about half a mile more than my usual route.
So much to say I am a convert and have made this new route my permanent one. there is still one hill, the actual lead up and through the tunnel but it’s no worse than I had before and the rest of the journey is very flat and pleasant.
It will obviously be interesting to see how things go later in the year when the weather is not so good and we have darker mornings and evenings but i will do another update around that time with my findings. Until then though, if you are considering cycling but are afraid to use the road, try this path. It is a very pleasant and very safe cycle.
I took a bit of a video last week to show the route for anyone who is intereted. It’s just short snippets of the different parts of the road and recorded on my phone so not a Hollywood standard production but it gives a good idea of what to expect.