The bike rides we offer in Edinburgh follow parts of an extensive cycle network that run like arteries through the city. They offer an escape from urban life, with beautiful greenery and diverse wildlife and are maintained mainly by either the council or by volunteers like Greener Leith (www.greenerleith.org.uk) and Edinburgh City Cycleways (www.innertubemap.com). Unfortunately, these paths are also subject to misuse and rubbish dumping, and need to be cleaned up regularly.
Sunday morning, reluctantly and late, and with an empty stomach, I managed to brave driving rain to join the small army of volunteers in the ‘Big Edinburgh Clean Up’ organised by Sustrans (www.sustrans.org.uk), help clear rubbish off part of the North Edinburgh cycle network.
Although I only stayed for a few hours, it was amazing the difference half a dozen people could make to a hundred yards down either path of a five way junction. I was shocked at what people throw into the bushes; everything from rolls of barbed wire and new football boots to a cash register, and more plastic bags of dog poo than you can poke a stick at. It certainly made me feel guilty for any rubbish I might have dropped over the years.
Even with the promise of a free feed at lunchtime, compliments of Greggs and McDonalds, my hunger eventually got the better of me and I had to call it a day. The sun shone down on me for the 20 minute walk home, making me feel like I’d really achieved something huge. I’ll definitely be offering my services again in the future.