6 of the best summer bike rides in and around Edinburgh

Edinburgh is surrounded by excellent cycling trails (Photo: Shutterstock)
Edinburgh is surrounded by excellent cycling trails (Photo: Shutterstock)
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Summer is most definitely in the air in Edinburgh, with lighter mornings and evenings meaning there’s no better time to dust down your bike and consider a trip into the great outdoors, writes Claire Connachan.

If you need some suggestions for picturesque pedalling, try one of these routes.

The Union Canal to Ratho

The Union Canal cuts through the heart of the city and is a great option for new riders. It’s flat, off-road, very pretty, and connects several communities in the west of Edinburgh. Start at the Lochrin Basin at Fountainbridge and take a pleasant and relaxed eight mile cycle out to the Bridge Inn in Ratho for a spot to eat before your return jaunt.

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The Cramond Loop

This well-loved 13 mile scenic loop is ideal for those less confident in traffic. Most of the ride is on path, and what little road there is tends to be pretty quiet. Start at Russell Road and make your way down the North Edinburgh path network to Barnton. Cycle onwards to Cramond, stopping at the Cramond Falls Cafe for some immense scones or a slice of homemade cake. The second half of the ride offers lovely coastal views, before looping back up into the city.

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Holyrood Park circuit

Holyrood Park offers breathtaking views across Edinburgh - and seeing them by bike is enormously rewarding. Yes, there is a big hill to climb – we won’t deny it takes a bit of effort! Happily, on a Sunday much of the park is closed to traffic, so if you fancy exerting yourself you can do so alongside fellow runners and cyclists. Start your three mile loop at the Parliament and cycle around the park clockwise.

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Pedal to the Pentlands

With over 100km of off-road track, the stunning Pentland hills are right on our doorstep and are perfect for exploring on a mountain bike. If you don’t want to get too muddy, you can always take a packed lunch and cycle the Water of Leith path, through Balerno and up to the Harlaw and Threipmuir reservoirs.

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East Lothian Loop

This 31 mile route offers up coastline, city riding, quiet country roads and railway paths – it’s perfect for a weekend. Start at Portobello and join the River Esk path. From there cycle though Cousland and cycle quiet roads to Pencaitland. This stretch of East Lothian offers up much in the way of industrial history, so keep your eyes peeled for shale bings and mining landmarks. The return is along the East Lothian coastline with gorgeous views.

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Gladhouse Reservoir Loop

If you fancy really stretching your legs, take a trip to the Gladhouse Reservoir on the cusp of Midlothian and the Borders. Starting from Edinburgh, route NCN1 provides a lot of path and quiet roads, including old railway lines that have been converted for walking and cycling. This 51 mile round trip includes cracking views across Midlothian, a fair bit of industrial heritage (look out for abandoned lime kilns) and a cycle alongside the north of the Gladhouse reservoir.

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