Published on 17th May 2018

A guest blog from Shane Voss

Shane gives us an insight into what it’s like cycling from Edinburgh to St Andrews; the atmosphere, the hills, and of course the cakes! 

The Edinburgh to St Andrews Cycle Ride 

The St Andrews Ride has been a fixture in my year for more than half my life. The first time I went was the year I arrived in Edinburgh. In those days we started on the Mound and began by taking over Princes Street. It was a great feeling being part of a huge flood of cyclists in the city centre.Edinburgh to St Andrews Cycle Ride

How it feels cycling to beat leprosy

We used to say that the rough track was to remind us of the conditions that Lepra workers had to endure going out to treat patients. That rough track has now become a tarmacked road. What hasn't changed is the knowledge that by raising money we are helping Lepra cure leprosy, something that, sadly, is needed just as much now as it was on my first ride.

The atmosphere

I loved the atmosphere on the ride - all day there were other cyclists in front and behind. We were all in this together, and we were going to get to St Andrews despite the baking heat.  The Edinburgh Bike Co-op support team were even dressed as super-heroes - and lived up to it too!

The route

The route of the ride is superb. We're forced to start on major roads to get out of the city, but we occupy the whole lane so it doesn't feel unsafe. Once we are out of town it is nearly all quiet roads, and fantastic scenery. The big hill in the morning has an ice cream van waiting near the top - even on cold wet days there's often still a queue.

The lunch stop is very welcome in Kinross. On dry years the grass outside is littered with hungry cyclists, on wet years the crowded tables inside are full, everybody eating and chatting about the miles ahead or behind.

The cakes

Afternoon tea at Freuchie is an amazing experience.  There are home made cakes as far as the eye can see.  Only once, when there was an unexpectedly large turn-out, did we manage to eat them all - so all nearby shops were quickly stripped of all their cakes to fill the gap.

The final hill

The crest of the last hill before St Andrews yields the welcome sight of the spires of the town on the skyline. There are still a few miles to go, but now it's downhill nearly all the way. At the finish, the Lepra team greet you like long lost friends.

The atmosphere on the bus back to Edinburgh is largely dependent on the wind direction. On year's when the wind's been in our faces the chatter is a little more subdued.

Inspired to take on the challenge?

Register for the Edinburgh to St Andrews bike ride today. 

Register now