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Wednesday 12th September 2007: “Suburban Scotland”

The theme of today was interaction with the locals. Shortly into my journey I was joined by a local farmer called Sid who was cycling to a nearby village. Even though I couldn’t really understand his accent he very kindly offered some advice on the route, which turned out to be sound.

Today’s route took me through several suburban towns such as Cowdenbeath, Inverkeithing and Livingstone. I was rarely far from traffic, houses, high streets and people. I passed several lollypop ladies and men throughout the day including one or two manning perfectly decent traffic signals that didn’t seem to be located near any schools. This is not the sort of sight one sees often in England!

The highlight of the day had to be the spectacular Forth Road Bridge, which offered great views of the even more impressive Forth Railway Bridge. When a tiny cyclist makes his way across such an enormous structure you really gain an appreciation of the scale of these landmarks and the forces they endure each day.

I had a nasty surprise when one of the roads I had planned to take had been completely closed down for upgrading and so I was forced to take a different route through small West Lothian villages. After navigating housing estates and industrial parks in Livingstone I took a direct route along a network of country roads straight south towards the M74 bypassing the Pentland Hills. These country roads were mixed in quality and shortly after I crossed the border into South Lanarkshire I endured my first puncture of the trip. Punctures are not a problem if you have a pump with you but I had carelessly had left mine in the car! Fortunately a kind cyclist passed by and offered to help. Soon I was back on the road.

Although the day’s ride was interesting and varied it was pretty hard going. Traffic, punctures, map check stops and a strengthening wind all hampered my progress today, and by now my legs were becoming very stiff and sore. I decided at that point to take it easy for the next few days.

I finished at Abington just off the A74(M) and we drove to a surprisingly flashy hostel at Scotland’s highest village, Wanlockhead. So it was a comfortable end to an interesting day.

Ride Statistics

Started: 09:30 hours
Finished: 18:40 hours
Distance: 67.15 miles
Cycling time: 5 hours 58 minutes
Top speed: 31.5 mph
Average speed: 11.2 mph
Odometer: 328.4 miles

The Forth Road Bridge
A lollypop man in West Lanarkshire
Wanlockhead hostel
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Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Back to the map

Copyright © John Collins