A bike ride along the Clyde

May 17, 2020 0 By NatalieM
A bike ride along the Clyde

I’ve been doing a lot more cycling during “lockdown”. In Scotland we are allowed to take as much outdoor exercise as we want now, as long as we observe social distancing rules. So I’ve been out a couple of times with my friend Karen.

Karen has been cycling to work every day for years, so she’s very fit and she goes fast. But she kept at a slower pace to allow me to keep up!

Things got off to an inauspicious start, as I got a flat tyre on my way to meet Karen. I tried pumping it up, but it just went flat again straight away. We had to walk to the local bike shop, Gear.

Twenty minutes later, with a new inner tube fitted, we set off. 

It was a lovely sunny day, and quite busy. Glasgow has a sad reputation for being “the heart attack capital of the world”, but one of the good things about lockdown is that people have been getting out on their bikes as never before.

At this rate I think Glasgow will be a contender for “The world’s fittest city”!

Our cycle route to Cuningar Loop along the River Clyde. The route there and back was just over 22km.

For Karen this was probably quite a gentle cycle, but I was pushing hard to keep up, so I didn’t take any photos until we reached Cuningar Loop. It’s just over 11km from where I live, and you can cycle almost the whole way off-road, on the Kelvin Walkway.

Cuningar Loop was wasteland until 2014, when conversion started to turn it into a country park, as part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy. The area is accessed via a pedestrian bridge.

The Cuningar Loop park area. No cars allowed! 

Me downclimbing the Arcadia Boulder in 2018. Happy days!

It’s a lovely area for walking and cycling, with an adventure playground for kids. It has a “rural” feel. When you’re in the middle of Cuningar Loop you feel as if you’re out in the countryside, not in the centre of what used to be one of the less salubrious parts of Glasgow.

I first visited Cuningar Loop in 2017 with my bouldering friends, as the area has a group of man-made boulders. This bouldering area was closed off after lockdown, but when we cycled there last week, the “closed” signs had gone.

We couldn’t do any climbing anyway, as we didn’t have our climbing shoes or bouldering mats. I don’t have a bouldering mat yet anyway – I usually borrow one.

We stopped for lunch near the boulders. There were some little kids climbing.

I can’t wait to get back on these boulders!

We cycled back, going as fast as we could past the stinky sewage centre, whizzing through Glasgow Green, past the city, and it wasn’t until we were at the Scottish Exhibition Centre that I decided to get off and take some photos.

I have photographed this area many times before, but I never tire of it. The distinctive architecture and the shimmering water always look lovely in clear weather.

Karen with the SECC (Scottish Exhibition Centre).

The Scottish Hydro, a music venue. I wonder how they’ll manage social distancing here.

The Finneston Crane, a relic of Glasgow’s shipbuilding past, now used for charity abseils. In its heyday, the crane was used to lift cargo onto ships bound for various parts of the empire.

This is one of two “Rotundas” which used to be the entrance and exits for a foot and vehicle tunnels. Horses and carts, and later motor vehicles, would be hoisted down to the tunnel in hydraulic lifts. The vehicular tunnel was filled in in 1986. The pedestrian tunnel has not been filled in, but it’s not open to the public.  

Karen looking up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

View across the Clyde to the BBC and the Science Centre.

This is a cycle trip I will do again – hopefully with my bouldering gear!


All images are author’s own.