One of my favourite road rides from Edinburgh is a loop out East through Portobello, Musselburgh to Aberlady then inland to North Berwick and back along the coast via Gullane. At approximately 40 miles, starting from the centre of Edinburgh, this route makes an excellent leisurely weekend ride or an ideal after-work blast, particularly in the summer.
Starting off along the A199 out of Edinburgh through Portobello and Musselburgh the roads can be fairly busy. Follow the B1348 along the coast through Preston Pans, Cockenzie (past the power station) and on to Aberlady. There is some beautiful scenery once you pass Port Seton, with the road running next to Seton, Gosford and Gullane sands. Aberlady is a picture-postcard village and it is here that I turn off the main road just before it goes through Gullane golf course, instead using a quiet inland route through rolling countryside. These virtually car-free country roads pass through the likes of West Fenton and Kingston en route to North Berwick, an ideal stop for a mid-ride break and perhaps even an ice-cream or two.
Heading West out of town along the A198 can be quite busy and is also often the moment when you realise that you have been benefiting from a tailwind up to now, as the prevailing wind is from the west or southwest. It’s a good idea to take a small detour and head through Dirleton, firstly because it takes you off the main road and also because Dirleton Castle is very impressive and well worth a look. From here you’ll soon be in Gullane. Leaving Gullane, with golf courses on either side of the road, you’re now virtually back in Aberlady and can retrace the original route back into Edinburgh. There are many excellent road rides out of Edinburgh. Spokes produce several excellent maps of the area which highlight recommended roads for cyclists and make planning an interesting route easy.