East Lothian Council helps add new bike trail

Wednesday October 3rd 2018

Go East Lothian Bikepacking Scotland

The Go East Lothian trail. Photo by Markus Stitz

With funding from East Lothian Council, Bikepacking Scotland has added another trail to its offer of bikepacking routes, and have released the new short film ‘Go East Lothian’ to showcase the route.

Round the world cyclist and Bikepacking Scotland founder Markus Stitz spotted the opportunity for a much shorter route close to his hometown Edinburgh that encourages more people to try bikepacking:

‘I wanted to create a route that is suitable for people that are new to bikepacking and gives parents the chance to take their children on bikepacking adventures. I learned to ride my bike pretty late at the age of seven and as a child I would have loved to go bikepacking, but back then the word didn’t even exist. Therefore I was very keen to develop a route I would have loved to ride with my parents in my childhood, and the Go East Lothian Trail is the result.’

The Go East Lothian Trail is not only perfect for beginners and families, but also for a microadventure during the week or on the weekend. Markus continues:

‘This is the perfect route for an overnight adventure during the week if you are close to Edinburgh, or the perfect opportunity to visit East Lothian for a weekend. While the route is much shorter than the existing Bikepacking Scotland routes, this doesn’t mean that it is less adventurous. For me it doesn’t matter what age people are or what kind of bike they ride to have a proper adventure. I hope that this route encourages many people to try bikepacking and the joys it offers.’

At 39 miles (63 km), the Go East Lothian Trail features quiet roads, gravel tracks, singletrack, cycle paths. The route incorporates sections of the well-known John Muir Way and offers plenty of opportunities to stop and explore, from the stunning beaches at Seacliff, Tyninghame, Belhaven and Yellowcraig to John Muir’s birthplace, Archerfield Walled Garden, Smeaton Nursery, East Links Family Park, the Scottish Seabird Centre and the magnificent Preston Mill. The route also includes the great restaurants, cafes and shops East Lothian has to offer.

East Lothian Council Cabinet member for Economic Development and Tourism, Cllr John McMillan, said: ‘Markus’s film provides a super overview of cycling provision and opportunity across East Lothian. The county is a popular destination for cycle road races but also has a range of off road routes and paths suitable for all ages and abilities. An enjoyable day’s cycle can easily take in hills, woodland and beaches with ample opportunities for refreshments in our towns and villages.’

‘Go East Lothian’ features 4-year old Rhoda Jones from Family ByCycle, who this June became an internet sensation when she gave a thumbs up to a truck driver who overtook her on her trailer bike when cycling in in the nearby Scottish Borders. She also recently became the youngest person to finish cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Rhoda, her sister Ruth and parents Katie and Tom, completed the 874-mile journey in just over 22 days, and are hoping she will be the youngest person to have done it.

Her 10-year old brother Thomas Ivor Jones rode the route fully self-sufficient for the filming; taking everything he needed for the weekend on his bike. With the route mostly off-road, this gave Thomas the opportunity to chat with everyone along the way and making friends with 8-year Lachlan Johnson, who is also featured in the film alongside his dad Jig: ‘I liked being with other people and being able to chat with them rather than just being on the road and turning the pedals.’

As was ‘Wild About Argyll’, the Bikepacking Scotland film which has attracted almost 15,000 views on YouTube, ‘Go East Lothian’ was filmed with an iPhone and a drone this July, with local businesses helping out with catering and accommodation.

The Go East Lothian Trail starts and finishes at the harbour in North Berwick and is well-served by public transport. There are bike shops in North Berwick and Dunbar, and bikes can be hired from Belhaven Bikes in Dunbar and The Bike Hub at Archerfield. Car parking is available in North Berwick and villages and towns along the route.

More information about the route and the GPX file can be found at www.bikepackingscotland.com/eastlothian.

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