On your boke.. no one is too young or old to enjoy an Edinburgh cycling tour

Former teacher Leanne Farmer has seen her cycle tours of Edinburgh boom during the coronavirus pandemicFormer teacher Leanne Farmer has seen her cycle tours of Edinburgh boom during the coronavirus pandemic
Former teacher Leanne Farmer has seen her cycle tours of Edinburgh boom during the coronavirus pandemic
A woman who takes people aged four to 70 years old on cycle tours of Edinburgh saw business boom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Leanne Farmer, 47, takes groups of sightseers to nearby landmarks like Musselburgh beach and Rosslyn Chapel - providing not only bikes and helmets but also acting as a tour guide, describing points of interest and local history along the way.

Former teacher Leanne worked in Hong Kong and used to go on cycle holidays in Asia with her husband and son Jack, now 11.

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But when Jack was seven-and-a-half, he was diagnosed with Perthes, a condition that affects the hips, and was in a wheelchair for nearly two years - until his mum got him a handcycle.

Un your bike: Former teacher Leanne FarmerUn your bike: Former teacher Leanne Farmer
Un your bike: Former teacher Leanne Farmer

The family returned to Edinburgh and two years afterward Jack was cleared of the condition, but Leanne was determined to share the benefits of cycling with other people.

She made her business, A Wee Pedal, her full-time job last April - but this year with travel restrictions in place for large parts of the year and families opting out of foreign holidays, she saw demand increase.

Leanne said: "I have had to think outside the box.

"At the beginning of lockdown I serviced more than 40 bikes for key workers for free, just to feel like I was helping in some way.

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"I also started picking up a lot of Edinburgh-based families who were looking for an alternative, safe, active day out.

"I bring them out for four hours and take them, for example, from Edinburgh to Musselburgh beach on an 18 mile loop.

"The parents can sit back and enjoy their kids cycling and not worry about getting a puncture or getting lost.

"I take care of that, I bring all the tools with me, I plan the route, I make sure that the kids have enough energy and they are kept busy along the way.

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"I get a lot of families returning. I don't see myself as delivering a bike ride but an experience."

She had a desire to share her hobbie with people who were new to bikes when her family returned from living in Asia for 12 years.

Mum-of-one Leanne said: "I started volunteering to offer free, women-only bike rides and I loved it so much that I realised I wanted to do it as a career, so I did various training courses to get qualified.

"I posted my rides through TripAdvisor and got bookings quite quickly so I thought, right I'm going to try and make a business out of this.

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"I was buying all these alternative guidebooks and my husband and I would go off and discover Edinburgh, practising the routes, and doing, literally, a lot of legwork.:

"I never take my tours through busy roads. If you know the cycle path network in Edinburgh it is very easy to stay on a cycle path most of the time, you just have to know how to link them together.

"And that's what I see my job as."

"I want to help more people experience the pure joy of being on a bike.

"My youngest client is four and my oldest is 70 - cycling is there for all."

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