Fife is criss-crossed with miles of cycle routes, many of them created as part of the Kingdom of Fife Millennium Cycleways.
This ride begins in Leuchars, a town dominated by its association with the RAF (which holds a Battle of Britain air display at Leuchars every year) and the Norman church of St. Athernase. National Route 1 follows a quiet road out of the village to Tentsmuir Forest, which extends over the sand dunes between the estuaries of the Tay and the Eden.
Here you have a choice of two traffic-free routes. It's possible to take an unsigned, more direct route north to Tayport - but in approximate terms this is currently only suitable for mountain bikes. National Route 1 instead follows the coastline eastwards to the visitors’ car park at Kinshaldy Beach. It then goes northwards on traffic-free tracks beside the award-winning beach of Tentsmuir Sands and through the nature reserve, before heading westwards along the Tay to rejoin the direct route at Tayport. This is smoother riding, but some sections of this are nonetheless unsuitable for road bikes (in parts either on gravel, more potholed track, or worn grass).
In Tentsmuir Forest, look out for a 19th-century icehouse on the right. If you take one of the right turns off the main track, you will find the remains of old machine gun pillboxes and tank traps, put there to repel possible invaders in the Second World War. The forest is a carefully-managed mix of pine woodland, open spaces, ponds and dunes, and an excellent wildlife habitat. Three species of roosting bat have made their home in the forest.
From Tayport, you can continue onto Dundee, or for a shorter 8.5-mile ride, return to Leuchars by train or return on bike to Leuchars.
The ride continues through Tayport, for many centuries a ferry port, and then on a railway path which takes you onto the cycle path across the Tay Road Bridge. This is not the Tay Railway Bridge, which famously collapsed in 1879. Its replacement is still carrying trains safely over the Tay and, and at the time of its construction, was the longest bridge in the world at 10,780 feet. US President Ulysses S Grant famously described it as “a mighty long bridge for a mighty small town”.
On the other side of the bridge is Dundee, Scotland's fourth largest city, with a proud history of seafaring. Here you can visit RRS Discovery, Scott’s Antarctic expedition ship, next to the award-winning Discovery Point Visitor Centre. Also worth a visit are the Sensation science centre, and the Verdant Works textile heritage centre. If you’ve got room in your panniers for a bargain, you could visit the designer factory outlets on City Quay.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.