A while ago I signed up for Bike&Go, a scheme which allows you to rent bikes outside train stations. On my first trip, we cycled the short distance to The Milk Barn, a local dairy where you can buy homemade ice cream. On my second trip, we’d planned to go to Linlithgow, a town about 10 miles away, stopping for lunch at The Bridge 49 Cafe when we were three-quarters of the way there.
That plan kind of worked… a bit. We got to The Bridge 49 Cafe, ate lunch, and went to continue on, but the aqueduct that leads on to Linlithgow was closed, and we had to turn back. Fortunately, Polmont station is on the route back, because not 5 minutes after we started heading back the way we came, I was suffering. I’m not a strong cyclist and I’d gone as far as I could. I put my bike on the train at Polmont and took it back to Falkirk that way.
So, last weekend, we tried again. It was a gorgeous sunny day which we were especially enjoying because the forecast had been for thunderstorms that showed no sign of actually appearing. Oh, heads up, learn from my mistakes: It is totally possible to get sunburned in Scotland. No, really. I should have work sunscreen that day – my shoulders were a lovely shade of pink when I got home. Ooops.
I’d picked up a bike from Falkirk High Station and P was very excited to be trying out his new bike that he’d bought just before we went on holiday. He definitely had the advantage there – it’s a brand new mountain bike which is totally unnecessary for cycling along a canal but it’s light as a feather. Although the Bike&Go bikes are fine for rentals, they are very heavy. Probably by design. Nevertheless, of we went.
We made it to The Bridge 49 Cafe in pretty good time and sat down for some well-earned lunch. I can now reliably report that their burgers are significantly better than their BLT. In particular, I can recommend the minute steak and haggis burger which sounds weird but which I promise actually works.
After lunch we had a decision to make: Should we double back and return to Polmont or should we push on for Linlithgow? At The Bridge 49 Cafe they’re almost exactly equidistant. The advantage of getting to Linlithgow, though, is that there’s a Bike&Go stand there, so I could ditch my bike without worrying about getting it on a potentially busy train. We decided to go for it.
I did it! I was slightly slower after lunch than I was before lunch but I wasn’t anywhere near as exhausted as I’d been on the previous trip. My legs were a bit tired, but I wasn’t desperate to quit and I didn’t feel the need to get off and push. I’m going to chalk that one up as a victory.
Next time I think we’re going to check out part of the HArTT route, which is a 16-mile circular route which loops from Falkirk Stadium to Callendar Park and the Kelpies, the latter of which is our goal since we’ve still not been to see them yet. I think 16 miles is still too far for me, but if we can do enough of the route to see the giant metal horses I’ll be happy enough.