The Forth Bus and Cycle Bridge
Nearly three years ago, I carried out recce of the route from the Forth Bridge to Dunfermline, then into and out of Edinburgh. This was to test what has become my favourite part of the 2022 route, despite the weather. It is difficult to navigate, slow in parts, and might even involve you having the lift your machine up more than once. But if offers you a virtually traffic free experience that takes in the highlights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Edinburgh! the apex of our event and capital of Scotland.
For those unfamiliar with the bridges, the routes takes the Forth Road Bridge in the middle. This is the old road bridge, replaced by the new Queensferry Bridge at the back of the picture. At the front is the iconic Forth Bridge, a steel rail bridge built in 1890.
In a sense we get to use the best bridge. It is easily the least interesting bridge to look at, but it is perfectly situated to get a uniquely panormaic view of both the other bridges. And because the new Queensferry Bridge takes all the road traffic, we almost have the entire bridge to ourselves. Apart from the odd bus or pedestrian, it is almost totally carefree cycling. It really is the Forth Cycle and Bus Bridge.
However getting on the bridge is a bit fiddly fiddly so I thought you'd appreciate seeing advance what you have to do.
You access the bridge using a narrow ramp from the road. There is no kerb but the ramp is narrow. You will share it with people leaving Dunfermline, so you are likely to see people leaving the bridge too. Remember to keep to the left!
At the top of the ramp is a T junction. At the moment you are welcome to turn left or right. Turn left to see the (old) Forth Bridge; right for the (new) Queendferry Bridge. On this recce I took turn right for the Queensferry, and returned on the other side. This is the likely route direction too.
At the top is an awkward barrier and kerb. I hope to be able to get permission to lower the bollards on the ramp, but I think this barrier will have to stay in place. I suggest you mount the kerb here, and then you are on the cycle track. DO NOT USE THE ROAD!
The track is wide, smooth and quiet. The automatic counter counted 29 cyclists by midday on a winter day. There is plenty of space to stop and take photos.
On the other side there is a long and easy ramp that takes you onto the quiet roads that take you right to the outside of the control to Dunfermline.
The route and from Dunfermline is quiet and unremarkable, we use a rural road all the way to a small railway underpass just outside the school. It's a bit of a sneaky short cut, and not ideal for recumbents, but it avoids all of Dunfermline's traffic.
There's another easy ramp on the way back, this ttime on the side of the old rail bridge. And look how little traffic there is; this was midweek during the day. I didn't take any photos because I was just too cold and wet. I had another puncture just after I got off the bridge back at the narrow, and decided to abandon for the day. This did give me the chance to get capture this shot of the bridge from the charming village of North Queensferry.
Next time I'll take you through the candidate Edinburgh routes I have recced. These are a cunning combination of off-road tranqulitiy and grand old town beauty. See you soon!