Green travel to green places

In search of climate and wildlife stories…by bike

Headwind — May 8, 2015


Yesterday I rode 25miles from an RSPB reserve on the banks of the Forth near Falkirk to Glasgow. It was hard going into a stiff breeze all the way. I tried the road and the Forth and Clyde canal towpath with no getting away from it. It was my first ride with a continuous headwind and boy was it tough. I was actually relieved to get a puncture as I neared Glasgow so I jumped on a traiimagen.

Now I am really worried about headwinds. Fortunately with our 4 person team we can ride along like Olympic pursuit cyclists in the velodrome taking it in turns to cut a path though the wind. Apparently by tucking into someone’s slipstream it can save 20% of your energy. So having a team will be excellent and much better than struggling alone.

I’m also worried because really we are riding the wrong way! It looks downhill to London when you look at a map but most people ride Lands End to John O Groats rather than the other way. That’s because the prevailing wind is from the south west. So sorry guys, from the 11th June I’m wishing for a cooling North wind to blow us all the way to London.

Introducing Team Sky-lark — April 30, 2015

Introducing Team Sky-lark

The Edinburgh to London climate cycle just got bigger – but not longer. There is now a team of us planning to head south on June 11th. It will be nice to have company and much more fun. The 4 of us all work for RSPB Scotland in Edinburgh or Glasgow – Thom, Jo, Zoe and me. There’s still time for more to join. There’s still time for Thom to buy a bike! More info to follow on Team Sky-lark. 

Glasgow to Parliament — April 26, 2015
Pedal on Parliament — April 20, 2015

Pedal on Parliament

Training for Edinburgh to London has been on hold this weekend as I have had a cold! Hoping to be well for next weekend when I shall be riding from Glasgow to Edinburgh for the Pedal on Parliament event There is a group heading out from George Square at 8am and I aim to be in that peleton. The event is a short mass ride from The Meadows in Edinburgh to Holyrood, but hey why not ride the 50miles to Edinburgh and get in some extra training!


Pedal on Parliament is a campaign group calling for more support for cycling and cyclists in Scotland. The 8 points below are what POP is calling for and is copied from their website:

  1. Proper funding for cycling (5% of the transport budget & 10% for active travel overall).
  2. Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
  3. Slower speeds where people live, work and play
  4. Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
  5. Improved road traffic law and enforcement
  6. Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
  7. A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
  8. Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy

See you there?

My JustGiving page — April 10, 2015

My JustGiving page

I have created a JustGiving page

Please give generously to RSPB Scotland’s climate work and to support our work with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

I know your donations will inspire me on the long days of riding.

peatland restoration

Using straw bales to block drainage ditches in peatland habitats at RSPB Dovestone reserve. Ditch blocking raises the water table which enables the growth of sphagnum moss, the vegetation of healthy peatlands, and seals the fragile peat soil from further erosion and carbon loss to the atmosphere.

Photo: Ben Hall (

47 miles — April 9, 2015

47 miles

Distance: 47 miles

Route: Rest and Be Thankful back home to Glasgow via Helensburgh

Time: 3 and half hours

Weather: Evening sun – slight headwind for part of the route.

Impact: 2 aching legs (but not the following day).

Conclusion: training going well.

That is all.

Arrochar to home

A Fyne view — April 7, 2015

A Fyne view

Over the Easter weekend I have been staying with my family at Tarbert in Argyll. On Easter Sunday I rode 19 miles from the cottage where we were staying to Knapdale. It was quite a flat ride along the edge of Loch Fyne and then using the Crinan Canal towpath. The added bonus was a fantastic clear morning for a ride so great views.

Crinan canal ride

That 19 miles was the easy bit as after that I had a tagalong bike hooked up to me along with a 9 year old. He’s a willing cyclist but definitely added weight for an additional 14 miles. All good training.


p.s. went to see beavers at Knapdale but no luck.

Edinburgh to London – the route — April 2, 2015

Edinburgh to London – the route

Edinburgh to London starts on the 11th June and here is the route OK this is a rough route, the actual roads I will take aren’t decided yet and also there may be some changes. For example I might stick to the coast around Yorkshire and visit the seabird city of RSPB Bempton Cliffs instead of heading inland. Also my route on the final full day through Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire is open to change. Ed to London Route

Thur 11th June – 60miles Edinburgh to Berwick

Fri 12th – 79 miles Berwick to South Shields/Newcastle via view of RSPB Coquet island

Sat 13th – 78 miles South Shields/Newcastle to Thirsk via RSPB Saltholme                         or – 79miles to Whitby (over N York Moors)

Sun 14th – 75 miles Thirsk to RSPB Blacktoft Sands via RSPB Fairburn Ings                       or – 100miles  via RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Mon 15th – 92 miles to Spalding via RSPB Frampton Marsh

Tues 16th – 100 miles Spalding to Hertford? via RSPB The Lodge

Wed 17th – 26 miles to London via RSPB Rye Meads

London arrive by 12.00 for the Lobby

Let me know if you want to join me for a cycle on any or all of the days.

Hey cyclists. Any top tips? — March 25, 2015

Hey cyclists. Any top tips?

I keep switching between thinking that this Edinburgh to London challenge is going to be easy and that its going to be tough. I can’t decide because I’m in the unknown here. There seem to be so many factors that I consider, which switch it between possible and daunting.

So calling all long distance cyclists out there. Anyone who has done a long distance multi-day ride. Any top tips would be more than welcome. In fact I NEED them!


Ow. That is gonna hurt in the morning! — March 22, 2015

Ow. That is gonna hurt in the morning!

Today I did my first training ride. 22 miles from southside Glasgow, up over Eaglesham Moor and past Whitelee wind farm before turning right and heading down down down via Newton Mearns. This is a popular route  with good cycle paths or lanes and I have been meaning to ride it for a while, even before the Edinburgh to London idea. It took me less than 2 hrs so I was pretty pleased. 

I really enjoyed it apart from certain muscles complaining after I had got to the top. If you too are an irregular cyclist who doesn’t know how to pace yourself you will know the leg muscles I mean! So I might be a bit sore tomorrow.