A Day Cycling on Two Wheels in East Lothian
East Lothian is a great place for cyclists. Long-distance riders can find extended routes with sea views, gentle hills and great cafés. Moira Dunworth and three friends – Heidi, Liz and Grace – take a more leisurely approach to a day cycling adventure on two wheels.
The outing was prompted by Moira’s project to cycle over 30 Scottish bridges in 2023, part of a Mamie Martin Fund fundraiser to celebrate being 30 years old as a small charity supporting girls’ education in Malawi. Four of Moira’s 30 bridges were in East Lothian, where she lived for ten years, and three she did with her friends in a single outing. The fourth, the Electric Bridge in Musselburgh was tackled separately and, despite not being as elegant and handsome as the others, it was a very useful bridge, built in the 1960s to carry the construction traffic for the Cockenzie Power Station and now a dedicated cyclists’ bridge.
With their bikes, the group took the train from Edinburgh Waverley to Longniddry. The new trains on that route take more bikes and that flexible space was very handy when they were joined by a man with a surfboard on his bike. The Scotrail staff were super helpful to them all.
At Longniddry, Liz and Grace carried their bikes over the footbridge while Moira and Heidi cycled around by the underpass. Then they enjoyed the old railway path to Haddington - a magical path to ride or walk. The birdsong is amazing and you’ll often see deer. By the time they got to Haddington it was coffee time. Coffee stops are an essential part of any day out. With bikes, their favourite place in Haddington is The Loft – plenty of space for bikes and outdoor seating for the faffing around that is a vital part of group cycling days.
After cycling over the Nungate Bridge, the group headed off to East Linton and the Old Tyne Bridge. While being smaller than Nungate it is visually stunning. The ride from Haddington to East Linton is on small country roads and deer, hares and a wide variety of birds added to the pleasure of the empty roads.
The ride onwards to Dunbar is not so quiet but is safe because the pavement is a shared pedestrian and cycle path. Just before Dunbar, the group took a left into Belhaven Bay. Happily, the tide was perfect to show off The Bridge to Nowhere. This bridge is not designed for cycling, Moira’s grandson needed to check she doing what she promised and so Moira carefully cycled over and back, holding on to the sides to avoid slipping off.
By now, with all the fun of bridges and photos, the group was cold and hungry. The perfect lunch spot was the café at the Leisure Pool. In this family-friendly space, they got warm food and drinks and the chance to warm up themselves. No seals were to be seen in the harbour that day but it is always worth checking.
They headed home along the same route, 36 miles in total. On the train at Longniddry, they were delighted to find their surfing friend and his bike. He had been surfing in Belhaven Bay, having taken the train to North Berwick and cycled down. Very impressive!