Mark Beaumont: round-the-world cyclist performs loop of Glasgow to coincide with COP26

Cyclist Mark Beaumont has embarked on a 75-mile trip circumnavigating the boundaries of Glasgow.

Beaumont, who reclaimed the title of fastest round-the-world cycle in 2017, set off on the two day journey on Thursday with the goal of highlighting the proximity of urban areas to the countryside.

The Blairgowrie-born athlete is joined by Markus Stitz, the first person to cycle the world in a single-speed bicycle.

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The route, some 17,925 miles less than his 2017 effort, will see Beaumont pass through the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, Easterhouse, Cambuslang, Carmunnock, Hillington and Drumchapel.

The route is the latest chapter of the duo’s Explore Your Boundaries project which encourages Scots to explore their rural surroundings.

Having performed circuits of Edinburgh, Falkirk, East Lothian and Clackmannanshire, the capital-based duo were challenged to circumnavigate Scotland’s largest city by The Scotsman.

The journey coincides with the COP26 summit, which has received criticism for a lack of emphasis on active travel.

Speaking to The Scotsman, Beaumont said: “Having been a Glasgow University student 15 years ago and lived here for a long time, I’ve now seen the city in a totally different way.

“I thought Glasgow would be one of the most urban of the four rides we’ve done, as the council boundary hugs the city – and I thought it might be not as interesting as some of the others.

“But after quite a tough day’s riding on Thursday, I’ve been blown away – I’ve really enjoyed it.

“What’s really interested me about the route is that we have done very little on roads.

“We’ve been on tracks and trails and through country parks most of the way. I’ve been genuinely impressed.

“We have been skirting the city yet we have been in the wilds, in really beautiful countryside.

“The whole purpose of doing this ride during COP26 is to highlight the fact you don’t need to go far.

“To care about wild places and to be motivated to look after them, you have to spend time in them, but that doesn’t mean going to the Highlands or travelling to the other side of the world.

“You just need to find the country parks – exploring at home is much easier – and see your own area in unfamiliar ways.

“It’s given me a totally different impression of what’s close to home in Glasgow.”