This ride was originally supposed to be “Around the Forth”, following the route along the north and then crossing the forth at the Clackmannanshire Bridge. Except I missed the turn, and with phone running low, decided to take the route along the north shore of the forth. In the end it was an okay results, as the paths and scenery were all in good order. The only bit of rough road was a short section of rocky dirt track leading from the A985 to Charlestown, and some shorter gravel sections along the shoreline.
The Forth Road Bridge has a very wide cycle and pedestrian pathway, with great views of the famous Rail bridge to the east. On a day like this it is quite busy, with pedestrians and cyclists, so speeds are kept in check. Which is fine, because why rush this!
The route off the Forth Bridge via Inverkeithling is a mix of shared sidewalk, marked road and dedicated cycleway. You can complete most of it on footpath if the larger roads are a problem, though they are largely suburban with relatively slower traffic. There is one climb, probably the biggest on the route, between Inverkeithling and Dunfermline, which maxes out at just over 10% grade. It is a short, sharp climb that then extends to a longer but not steep uphill section.
After hitting Dunfermline the route attaches to a long (about 12km), gentle downhill along dedicated cyclepath (reclaimed railway, shared with the occasional pedestrian or horse) down into Clackmannan. For railway enthusiasts there is some interesting rail infrastructure still in place, including platforms, cuttings and some buildings and signal boxes.
The path has some really nice views through farmland on either side, with glimpses of the forth to the south and the start of the highlands to the north. This section finishes in the small town of Clackmannan, which unbeknownst to me was having an open day at the local tower. Unfortunately, the next tour was a few hours away so I had have a wander around the grounds before heading off. There isn’t a lot to the town itself, but, perched upon a grassy hill it is very picturesque and a great spot to stop for some lunch.
With Clackmannan as basically the halfway point my route then takes the path along the north shore of the Forth. It is again a mix of shared pathway, road and dedicated cycleway. For the most part in very good condition, and takes you past a number of cute shore-side towns like Culross and Limekilns.
All in all it was a most enjoyable and well maintained and signposted. I did make one unfortunately mistake, passing the main turn off to Preston Island at Valleyfield I shortly thereafter missed the less than obvious pathway up and over the main track which takes the route over the railway line to Newmills. I headed straight, missing the turn, and found myself halfway around the farside of Preston Island before figuring something had gone wrong. In the end though, it was probably these extra kilometres that got me over the 100km mark – which was the entire point of the ride in the first point.