A PEEBLES bike rider cranked out his first cycle book to critical acclaim with the initial printing selling out.

Ed Shoote, whose day job is currently with South of Scotland Enterprise, was quite surprised when Gravel Rides Scotland’s first 2,000 copies sold really quickly and Vertebrae Publishing of Sheffield did a second printing.

The 39-year-old started his working life as an accountant before moving to work at Scottish Cycling just before his children were born.

He was already known for contributing to Mountain bike and cycling magazines before compiling the book.

Mr Shoote said: “The publisher approached me and asked: ‘Do you want to write a book on gravel riding?’

“They are good publishers and they gave me a small advance which basically covered the cost of diesel to get to some locations.

“A friend of a friend did the introduction and that is why they approached me.

“I started the book in 2020, it was all done during lockdown and COVID, which unfortunately curtailed trips to the islands, with just Rhum included.”

Mr Shoote moved to Peebles from Edinburgh for its access to mountain biking and cycle routes.

“When I first moved here I did not buy a car, I was an accountant in the hospital at Castle Craig and cycled out to Blyth Bridge everyday,” he said.

Speaking about the book, Mr Shoote said: “I do a lot of endurance riding, knew all the tracks in the Tweed Valley and was doing more and more up north.

“I had been on a lot of the trails which feature in the book but there were some really nice surprises.

“The route (in the book) I enjoyed the most is on page 77, in Argyll and Bute, from Dunoon, along Loch Eck and Loch Long.

“I have done it three times, each ride in the sun. The craggy hills there remind me of the Alps.

“It was also a pleasant surprise to find the good tracks.

“I have a joint favourite route the Callander and Loch Tay Monster loop.”

Mr Shoote’s bikes are sponsored by Kinesis and he rides their titanium, Tripster ATR (Adventure, Touring and Race), gravel bike which is on its third version.

He said: “I have helped Kinesis tweek the Tripster over the years, so it has everything I want on it now, such as rack mounts for big trips.

“I really like Titanium for gravel riding as it feels good with constant vibration.”

Mr Shoote spoke about his evolution as a gravel cyclist form early forays on logging roads in Canada.

He said: “We lived in Canada for a while in 2011 and I bought what would be called a cycle-cross bike rather than a true gravel bike, to go and explore the logging roads.

“What they now sell as gravel bikes didn’t really exist. There were miles and miles of these roads which go deep into the wilderness.

“It was great to get out on them because the ordinary roads in Canada are full of trucks and cars.

“They are really busy and there are not many back roads. From that my trips really grew but there were sometimes too many bear encounters for comfort.

“No-one else was doing gravel riding, it was completely bizarre to the locals.

“I took that cross bike and did some long distance tours such as to Istanbul from France and in China.

“We had moved from Canada to Chamonix in the French Alps and I worked eight months a year, saving during the winter and doing big trips in the summer.”

Last summer his big trip was a slower family event.

Mr Shoote “We managed to do our first tour with the children last year, island hopping in Croatia for three weeks.

“It was hard work carrying lots of stuff, they each have their own trailer. There was their luggage, ours and camping stuff.

“It was quite quiet roads and gravel.”

The book is available at Peebles Whitie’s Books and Crafts in the former Pennel’s cycle shop in Pennel’s Close, priced at £25.