Routes and cafes

At Portovelo, we strive for maximum variety on our fitness and intermediate rides. Inevitably, though, there are only so many directions to go in from Portobello, so most of our rides are variations on a theme.  This page gives typical examples of our rides, and also features a selection of our favourite cafes.  They are arranged in order from east to west.  In practice, routes can be done in either direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise) and with many minor variations.

North Berwick and East Linton (51 miles)

A mostly flat route in East Lothian, mixing inland minor roads with the scenic coast road through Aberlady and Prestonpans, and passing three castles (Dirleton, Tantallon and Hailes).

Cafe stops:  Cake Cafe, North Berwick High Street, the Smithy cafe in Tyninghame, or the Smeaton Nursery Tea Shop, East Linton.

Dunbar

A skinny loop through East Lothian, mostly flat and on minor roads, taking in Pencaitland, Gifford, Stenton, East Linton and Athelstaneford.

Cafe stop: Graze Coffee House, High Street Dunbar or the Store cafe at Belhaven Fruit Farm.

Redstone Rig

A tough climb from either side, this route takes you up onto the moorland of the Lammermuir Hills.

Cafe stop: Lanterne Rouge, Gifford.

Lauder & Stow

A lovely ride across the moor, with a steep climb at the Stow end, connects the A7 and A68 radiating south from the city.

Cafe stop: The Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder, or the Cloudhouse Cafe and Gallery, Stow.

Soutra

A shorter route, featuring another attractive linking road between the A7 and A68.

Cafe stop: the House of Soutra, on the A68, or the Humbie Hub.

The Granites and Innerleithen

The Granites climbs steadily from near Middleton into the Moorfoot Hills; at the other end is an even longer steady climb from Innerleithen. The other leg of this route is the old coach road that runs parallel to the A7 south of Heriot.

Cafe stop: the No.1 Peebles Road, or the Whistlestop Cafe, Innerleithen.

Peebles and Cademuir

A scenic loop round Cademuir Hill at the far end, with the inward and outward legs going through the Leadburn junction.

Cafe stops: The Scots Pine, near Edleston, Whitmuir cafe, Lamancha, on the A701.

Stobo and Broughton

A longer route, taking in the Dreva climb and the Meldons.

Cafe stop: Dawyck Botanic Garden cafe, or Laurel Bank, Broughton

Round the Pentlands

The Lang Whang on one side, the Broughton road on the other, and minor roads by Dunsyre to connect them.

Cafe stop: Big Red Barn (junction of A702 and A721), or the Olde Toll House, West Linton

The Bathgate Alps and Linlithgow

Quite a bit of suburban cycling at either end, but worth it for the West Lothian scenery and some challenging wee hills!

Cafe stop: Bridge 49, on the Union Canal, or the Coffee Neuk, High Street, Linlithgow

Longer options

The Two Bridges – a classic ride crossing the Forth twice, once on the road bridge at Queensferry, the other further west on the Kincardine Bridge (or the newer Clackmannanshire Bridge); also taking in Grangemouth and Culross.

Talla – epic scenery and a genuinely tough climb on the minor road from Tweedsmuir and St Mary’s Loch, past Talla and Meggett reservoirs.

Duns – if Redstone Rig isn’t hard enough, carry on through Longformacus to Duns, then back past Whiteadder reservoir.

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