1st August 2019

The ultimate cyclist’s guide to the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Cycling

Ah, the Edinburgh Festival. A time of aspiration for budding young thespians, excitement for the tourists of the world, and trepidation for native Edinburghers. No matter – we’ve carefully put together this Ultimate Cyclist’s Guide to the Edinburgh Festival to help you make the most of August.

Getting into town

“Where to park during the Edinburgh Festival?” is currently one of the top Festival searches on Google.

The answer is obvious: Parking a car anywhere during the Edinburgh Festival is physically impossible. You’d have better luck trying to get a smile out of a Lothian Bus driver. The solution: Cycle into town, cycle home.

Here’s a map of all the ‘proper’ places to lock up your bike. Click on the blue dots to see how many spaces are at each location.

Edinburgh Festival Cycling

And below is a map of all the Festival venues, which are of course all accessible by bicycle. Make sure you have a good quality lock (we like these ones) and don’t leave your bike down any quiet alleyways. It can be a bit busy in Edinburgh so make sure you have a working bell to ping at anyone who needs to be alerted to your presence.

Escape from the Festival by bike

The Edinburgh Festival is also the perfect time to get away from the crowds in the centre of town and enjoy other parts of the city/country.

For quiet cycling routes around Edinburgh you can do a lot worse than these Explore Quiet Routes guides by Edinburgh Council and to go further afield you can check out our these great route guides from our customers. Of course, there are the National Cycle Routes and many routes in and around Edinburgh in handy maps by Spokes.

VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

Take a cycle down the promenade at Portobello Beach, just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre | VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

See Festival shows about bicycles

With over a billion shows on during the Festival (probably accurate), there’s no way to effectively choose what you want to see. Solution: Pick a random theme and see a bunch of shows loosely connected to it.

Our theme is ‘bicycles’. And there are more than you might think! Everything from family stunt shows with Danny Macaskill to Shakespeare productions!

Disclaimer: We haven’t seen these shows, so if they’re terrible it’s not our fault. But if you loved them we’ll take the credit.

Bicycles at the Fringe Festival

Cyclopath

Stand-up/Storytelling

“Professional comedian and avid cyclist Dion Owen brings his best stand-up material with an emphasis on his experiences and passion for life on a bike.” More…

When: 5-25 August

Where: Laughing Horse @ Finnegan’s Wake – The Back Room

How Much: Free


The Handlebards: Much Ado About Nothing

Theatre (family/comedy)

“Join the four-strong, all-male troupe at the Treehouse for a riotous bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare’s famous comedy, filled with drunkenness, frivolity and cross-dressing a plenty. More…

When: 21-25 Aug

Where: Venue 3: Assembly George Square Gardens – The Tree House

How Much: £15


The Handlebards: The Tempest

Theatre (family/comedy)

“They’ve cycled 1500 miles to get to the Fringe, carrying on the back of their bikes all of the set, props and costumes they need for their brand-new show.” More

When: 14-18 Aug

Where: Venue 3: Assembly George Square Gardens – The Tree House

How much: £15


Bicycle Boy

Children’s Shows (musical theatre/family)

“Bicycle Boy: an interactive, bike-powered eco-musical for children aged five to ten and their families.” More

When: 16-18 Aug

Where: Venue 23: Pleasance Dome – Outside

How much: Free


Bi-Cycle

Theatre (Comedy/LGBT)

“Whether you’re a die-hard in the gym or an after-work spin class hack. If you’ve ever felt confused about your identity, not enough or attempted to find your soul through fitness to no avail! Come ride with Bi-Cycle, and find it! ” More

When: 5-12, 24-26 Aug

Where: Venue 300: Underbelly, George Square – The Wee Coo

How much: FREE


Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Live

Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus

“Led by world-famous trials rider and YouTube sensation Danny MacAskill, Drop and Roll make their long-awaited Edinburgh Fringe debut with a brand-new show featuring jaw-dropping stunts! Joining Danny will be highly acclaimed trials rider and fellow Scotsman Duncan Shaw, plus more athletes to be announced.” More

When: 5-24 Aug

Where: Venue 360: Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows – The Lafayette

How much: £20


Adventures on the National Cycle Network Photography Exhibition

Exhibitions (Photography/Family)

“Visit the Union Canal to experience an array of inspiring and breathtaking images showcasing the best rural, urban and wildlife photography captured on the National Cycle Network in Scotland.” More

When: Accessible at all times

Where: Venue 528: Lochrin Basin – Hoardings on the Union Canal

How much: Free


The Golden Path

Comedy (Stand-Up/Storytelling)

“Join me as I explore cycling, life, death, pollution and my Dad on my quest to discover The Golden Path.” More

When: 5-11, 13-25 Aug

Where: Venue 88: Just the Tonic and The Caves – Just Up the Road

How much: £5


Bike

Theatre (New Writing/Drama)

“Karen, 17, on her parents: loving and lovable; secret devotees of University Challenge. Oh, and they’re cops. Karen’s parents, on Karen: fearless cycling champion; a sweet natured young lady. Karen’s parents are worried..” More

When: 5-10 Aug

Where: Venue 53: theSpace @ Surgeons Hall – Haldane Theatre

How much: £5


Bicycles at Edinburgh Book Festival

Gabrielle Kent: Gaming Girls and Biking Besties

Meet best friends Nessa and Demelza, two independent, bike-riding heroines uncovering the mysteries of Penfurzy island. More

When: 17 Aug

Where: Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab

How much: £5


Chris Hoy: Flying Fergus’s Big Finale

Strap on your helmet for a fun and fast-paced event celebrating the final book in Olympic champion cyclist Chris Hoy’s fantastic Flying Fergus series. More

When: 13 Aug

Where: The New York Times Main Theatre

How much: £5


William Fotheringham: Wonder Woman on Wheels

Who’s the greatest rider in British cycling history? Beryl Burton. A dynamo who dominated road racing and time-trialling for three decades, she won 7 world titles and over 90 domestic championships in her career. More

When: 23 Aug

Where: Spark Theatre on George Street

How much: £12


Go drinking by bicycle

Drinking is a serious part of cycling; until the 1960s, Tour de France cyclists used to drink alcohol during the race. We prefer to do our drinking afterwards, and here are two excellent bicycle-themed pubs in Edinburgh.

Ventoux

ventoux

From The List magazine: “The Ventoux is a rare thing in Edinburgh; it’s a pub. It’s not a real ale pub, or a cocktail bar, or a gastropub. It’s just a pub. It doesn’t have a kitchen, or a TV, or a range of artisan bar snacks. It doesn’t even have a Twitter feed or Instagram. It does have a theme of sorts, which, like it’s sister, The Tourmalet in Leith, is borne of owner Murray McKean’s obsession with the Tour de France, so there’s loads of cycling memorabilia and bikes all over the place, but despite this it’s no MAMIL hangout nor a fixie-geeks den.”

Where: 2 Brougham Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9JH – see more

Tourmalet

tourmalet

“Named after a notoriously difficult Tour de France mountain climb (and sister to The Ventoux in Tollcross), this cycling-themed bar is a friendly, traditional pub, brimming with character.”

Where: 25 Buchanan Street, Edinburgh, EH6 8SQ – See more


Go bike shopping

Once you’re done doing all the other things on the list, we’d love to see you in our Edinburgh Bruntsfield and Canonmills shops. Come round and say hi!

bruntsfield-shop

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!