A road cycling route, designed to explore the area immediately surrounding Peebles in the Scottish Borders.
Distance – 38 km/24 miles.
Time – 1.5 – 3 hours.
Terrain – Road, tarmac cycle/walking trails
This is a fabulous cycling route which has a bit of everything, it is also a great way to get to know the area, and help you plan for the week ahead.
Tour of Peebles or Peebles recce? For the pros, it’s just a warm up before a day out towards St. Mary’s Loch and beyond. We caught it during the August heatwave, it was tough, and we were glad of the many photo stops for this blog.
Meet at Della’s for a pre ride coffee. From Della’s cycle down the High Street and cross the bridge over the Tweed. The route passes some very palatial houses going along Caledonian Road and Edderston Road. Turn right off Edderston Road onto “The Sware”. This is a “No Through” road for cars but no problem for pedal cycles. The Sware is by far the biggest climb of the day, and you’re straight into it. It doesn’t really ramp up until you pass a farm on the left when the gradient is 10% and more – and perhaps that’s why it is named The Sware. After just 1km you’ll soon reach the top, make sure that you take a look to the right for a magnificent panorama of Peebles.
You soon pass The Sware car park, where there is another great viewpoint in the opposite direction, looking west up the Tweed valley. The car park is also a start point to mountain biking and hiking trails up Cademuir Hill.
Exercise lots of caution on the descent, as not only is it extremely steep, but there are fairly aggressive traffic calming bumps which could easily damage a wheel if taken at speed. There is also a chicane to negotiate, at the narrow and very picturesque 18th century “Old Manor Brig” bridge at the bottom.
Turn left and follow the Manor valley for 2km then left again, just after Manor Kirk. The road immediately crosses Manor Water again, passes picnic tables on the right, then ascends slightly as it starts to round Cademuir Hill.
This is a truly beautiful road, with great views in all directions as you ride back into Peebles. It is a fast road especially when the prevailing westerly winds are blowing, so watch out for some bumps (tree roots I think), there are warning signs. There are also warning signs for sheep, and the local sheep do seem oblivious to any danger from speeding road bikes.
The route arrives back in Peebles after 14 km, and that may indeed be your cue to head back to town. We suggest that you continue the route and we would also suggest that most of the hard work has been done.
You arrive back into Peebles (first pass) via Bonnington Road, pass the High School and take a right then an immediate left onto Springfield Road, follow the road to the end finishing opposite a carpark on the south bank of the Tweed.
Apps & info
Cycling in Peebles
Cycling is arguably Peebles most popular activity, both for visitors and locals alike. Peebles Cycling Club, with over 200 members, is considered to be one of the most successful cycling clubs in the country. The club is extremely active across a full range of cycling disciplines, including road cycling (touring and audax), road racing, time-trialling, cyclocross, cross country MTB and downhill MTB. They also run a “Kids Club” and coaching sessions.
A “closed-roads” Sportif – Tour O Borders is gaining popularity. Unfortunately 2020’s event was cancelled, a victim of the pandemic. The good news is Saturday 4 September 2021 in the diary, hopefully this will go ahead as planned, it may also tie in nicely with the Tour of Britain (see below).
The Tour of Britain regularly features Peebles and the roads along the Tweed valley. In both 2011 and 2013, Peebles was chosen for the Tour of Britain Grand Depart, won by Mark Cavendish and Ella Viviani respectively.
Following the postponement of this years Tour of Britain, the provisional race dates for next year’s race are Sunday 5 to Sunday 12 September 2021.
For those who prefer to get “off-piste”, Peebles, and it’s 7 Stanes Trail Centres at Glentress and nearby Innerleithen, is world renown. The Enduro World Series Tweed Valley is due to hit town on 15 May 2021. This is Round 3 of the Enduro World Series.
Cyclist are also well supported by excellent local bike shops. Bspoke Cycles is conveniently situated on Peebles High Street, they offer a full service including bike sales, rental and repairs. Alpine Bikes (part of Tiso) operate from the Glentress Trail Centre, their focus is very much on mountain biking. They have excellent stock and good options for mountain bike and e-bike rental.
Turn right onto Kingsmeadows Road and head out of town towards Traquair and Innerleithen. This is the B7060 and is another lovely undulating road which rewards you with regular views of the River Tweed and the beautiful Borders landscape.
You will soon pass Kailzie Gardens and Fishery. If you fancy a break, there is a cafe here with indoor and outdoor seating. The Fishery offers tuition in bait and fly fishing for all ages. We hope to cover this in a future blog.
From Kailzie, the road descends to Cardrona, before a short climb up to the entrance to Traquair, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house. Again Traquair is an option for a break at the Garden Cafe, and you may like to quench your thirst with a beer from the famous Traquair House Brewery.
Descend from Traquair towards Innerleithen where the route joins the Tweed Valley Railway Path, which as the name suggests, follows a disused railway.
Access to this track is signposted on the left a hundred meters or two after crossing the Tweed.
The Tweed Valley Railway Path, is a car free track for both cyclists and walkers. It is primarily used by mountain bikers as an access route between the two big Mountain Biking Centres of Glentress and Innerleithen. It is a lovely quiet and flat route along the Tweed valley often running very close to the river. The path is interrupted at Cardrona where it emerges, just after a BMX track, onto residential roads. There is a cyclists cafe called Nashy’s at Cardrona, which is well worth a visit. The path then continues around the back of Nashy’s cafe and heads back to the Peebles via a fork in the track up to the Glentress Mountain Bike Centre (take the fork to Peebles, not Glentress).
The track passes under the main A72 road and there are some short ramps up and hairpins before it ends at the Peebles Hydro Hotel. The last few hundred meters into Peebles are back on the road. Arrive back in Peebles, refuel and recuperate, then plan tomorrow’s ride or activity. Enjoy!