Bikes are by far the fastest way to get around the Edinburgh town centre. For longer journeys outside there is an extensive network of cycle routes which can be found on cyclestreets.net, and you can cover a lot of unique portals without ever dismounting! Agent spytfear gives us the lowdown …
The Edinburgh Innertube Map provides a beautiful overview of the major cycle and foot friendly paths through the city. Most of the routes follow the old rail corridors, and this makes Edinburgh feel like it has a different layout compared to the routes available to car or bus. You’ll find intriguing shortcuts everywhere!
There are also particularly nice routes following major waterways through the city. The towpath alongside the Union Canal takes advantage of the contour canal (no locks!) to offer a level paved route from Falkirk to the west of Edinburgh, all the way in to Tollcross. The entire route is 33 miles (about 53km) and narrow in places, particularly under road bridges, and very popular among cyclists and joggers.
Water of Leith is a poetically named river running from Balerno, south-west of the city, down to historic Leith on the shoreline of the Firth of Forth. The Water Of Leith walkway follows the course of the river, and is generally suitable for cycling although there are a few sections where you’d do well to dismount and carry your bike. The river passes through some beautiful and relatively undisturbed patches of wilderness very close to the city centre. The full route is about 12 miles (19 km) but there are easy access points along the length.
Gearing up for Ingress from the bike seat
There are some really useful bits of kit you can get to improve your Ingress experience from atop your bike.
- A key ingredient is a phone holder and I’d recommend the BTR case. There’s a cheaper lookalike for around £8 which straps to the cross bar, maybe not very useful for a ladies’ bike frame but I haven’t tested that.
- The case has space underneath for your Anker battery. The external power brick will be a must as the rainproof touch screen cover is affected by glare from anything white or hi-vis so you’ll need screen brightness up high if not full; running the Intel map, navigation and other apps for comms will seriously drain your phone battery.
- As an alternative, I’d recommend maybe a hi-vis backpack or other solution like the thin strip that can be worn over the shoulder.
- Helmet light also a good tip if you intend to play in the dark as they’re visible to cars at junctions etc, as long as your head is above the level of parked cars.
- A Bluetooth headset is worth picking up, again there are some on Amazon for a tenner which will do the trick so you’re not sporting great wires to get tangled with, and can hide discreetly under your helmet to avoid hatred from drivers with their warm metal cage and speaker system that costs more than the car ;-)
It goes without saying that Edinburgh Resistance wants you to PLAY SAFE. That means cycle sensibly, and if you get a chance to play Ingress while at a full stop in a safe place then that’s even better.
Bikingress on Anomaly day
Cycling in a group in a city is always a challenge, and the excitement around Anomaly day will only intensify that challenge. Getting split up can and will happen, depending on the number of bikes in the group, and how far apart folks become due to traffic lights and such.
You’ll want to get maps of the town with portal clusters marked, and laminate those maps. Remember that it’s November, in Scotland. There is the possibility of rain! Bring a waterproof coat and a towel in a backpack or pannier.
First aid kit and puncture repair kits will be a must. I recommend Schwalbe marathon tyres as the extra-thick puncture-resistant layer really works. Have some self-adhesive patches for speedy repair and the gas cartridge for instant inflation. Importantly for visitors, somebody who knows the town should stay with any afflicted rider to help reunite them with the rest of the team quickly. You’ll also want to have your energy bars and plenty of fluids handy – it’s a hilly city so we don’t want flagging energy or dehydration being an issue. Take care of all that and you’re in for a fantastic day.
Cycling around Edinburgh is practical and a great way to cover a lot of ground while checking out some of the hidden gems of the city. Many of these gems of course are portals, but that’s just a bonus. We’d love to see you on yer bike for the 14th of November, so register for the Anomaly today!