COP26: Round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont ‘blown away’ by beauty of Glasgow council boundary ride

The fastest round-the-world cyclist has embarked on a new circular challenge – to ride round the edge of Glasgow to coincide with the COP26 climate change conference in the city.

Scot Mark Beaumont has teamed up with Markus Stitz, the first person to ride a single-speed bicycle around the world, for the 75-mile trip to highlight how close the countryside is to urban areas.

The two day trip, which started on Thursday from the Seven Lochs Wetland Park on Glasgow’s north east, is following a clockwise traverse of the boundary, taking in areas such as Easterhouse, Cambuslang, Carmunnock, Hillington and Drumchapel.

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It is the latest stage of the Edinburgh-based pair’s Explore Your Boundaries project to encourage people to explore their surroundings by bike.

They initially planned to only circumnavigate Falkirk, East Lothian and Clackmannanshire after completing a winter circuit of Edinburgh in the snow as a lockdown challenge.

However, the riders added Glasgow after being challenged by The Scotsman to include it to coincide with the COP26 summit.

Beaumont, the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in 78 days 14 hours, told The Scotsman: "Having been a Glasgow University student 15 years ago and lived here for a long time, I’ve now seen the city in a totally different way.

"I thought Glasgow would be one of the most urban of the four rides we’ve done, as the council boundary hugs the city – and I thought it might be not as interesting as some of the others.

"But after quite a tough day’s riding on Thursday, I’ve been blown away – I’ve really enjoyed it.

“What’s really interested me about the route is that we have done very little on roads.

"We’ve been on tracks and trails and through country parks most of the way.

"I’ve been genuinely impressed.

Mark Beaumont and Markus Stitz on Glasgow's north eastern boundary near Wallace's Well

"We have been skirting the city yet we have been in the wilds, in really beautiful countryside.

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"The whole purpose of doing this ride during COP26 is to highlight the fact you don’t need to go far.

"To care about wild places and to be motivated to look after them, you have to spend time in them, but that doesn’t mean going to the Highlands or travelling to the other side of the world.

The 75-mile ride round the Glasgow boundary is being made clockwise from the eastern edge. Picture: Maplibre/Komoot/OpenStreetMap

"You just need to find the country parks – exploring at home is much easier – and see your own area in unfamiliar ways.

"It’s given me a totally different impression of what’s close to home in Glasgow.”

Beaumont said the ride had included a section along the River Clyde past the 2014 Commonwealth Games’ athletes’ village in Dalmarnock in the east end, triggering memories of his role as one of its chieftains – “welcoming Usain Bolt and many other amazing athletes”.

The trip also took in Cathkin Braes, on the southern edge of Glasgow, where mountain bikes events were held during the Games.

The riders camped on Thursday night near Barrhead on the south western edge of the boundary, supported by tent firm Vango.

Stitz, founder of cycle tourism developer Bikepacking Scotland, said “Teaming up to film Explore your Boundaries was inspired by encouraging people to see familiar and local areas in unfamiliar ways, showing how great adventures can happen from your own front door.”

Traversing the Seven Lochs Wetland Park on the eastern edge of Glasgow. Picture: Markus Stitz

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The Clyde "smartbridge" in Dalmarnock, which carries power and telecommunications cables. Picture: Markus Stitz
Mark Beaumont with the view across the city from Cathkin Braes Country Park. Picture: Markus Stitz
A rural section close to the Ravel burn near Tannochside, east of the M73. Picture: Markus Stitz
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