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Monday, 2 May 2016

Our first 20-Milers Extra of the summer this Saturday

The first of this year's Extra rides takes place this coming Saturday (7th May). This promises to be a particularly pleasant ride, heading out along the coast for a picnic at Blackness Castle, returning via an inland route. For the most part, the route will be straightforward, although there might be a couple of rough paths, and there will be one killer hill - just after lunch.

Length and pace

At 30 - 35 miles, our Extra rides are longer than our standard second-Saturday runs. We leave earlier, get back later, and go at a slightly faster pace. So please think carefully about whether this ride is right for you.

If you find our usual runs well within you capabilities, then you will have no problem with this one. But if you feel that our standard runs are at all demanding, then you might prefer to give this one a miss. Join us instead for our normal 20-mile ride the following week.

Place and time

For this Extra ride, we will start from our alternative meeting point at the Craigleith path junction (see here for directions). We will leave at 10 am - half an hour earlier than usual. I can't say for sure what time the ride will end, but I would expect it to be around 4 pm.

Lunch arrangements

There are no cafés, pubs or restaurants in Blackness, so be sure to bring food for a picnic lunch. There is a small souvenir shop there, and this sells hot drinks, ice cream and a limited range of confectionery, but nothing more substantial. There are also toilets there.

Depending on progress and other factors, we might have an optional coffee stop near the end of the ride.

What if the weather is bad?

Light rain or a chilly wind won't put us off. But if the weather is particularly bad, we might opt for a shorter run with lunch in a café. We'll make that decision on the day.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

20-Milers at Pedal on Parliament

Once again, Edinburgh 20-Milers was well represented at the annual Pedal on Parliament. Around twenty of our members joined the thousands of cyclists who took part in the event. With George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile closed to motor traffic, we had a pleasant mile and half cycle from the Meadows to Holyrood, followed by a rally and speeches in front of the parliament building. With the sun shining at least some of the time, it was another enjoyable and successful event.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Join us for Pedal on Parliament 2016

The fifth Pedal on Parliament takes place on Saturday 23rd April. This is a big event, in which thousands of cyclists from all over Scotland will ride from the Meadows to Holyrood to press for safer roads and better cycling infrastructure. It is not a confrontational demo. Rather, it is a fun ride, suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The route will follow George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile, and these will be closed to motor vehicles during the ride.

As usual, there will be a 20-Milers contingent for this event. I hope you will be able to join us. We will meet at 11.30, outside the Bicycle Works in Argyle Place, which is just south of the Meadows. (If you are coming from the north side of town, allow extra time to cross the Meadows, as the area is likely to be very busy.)

The ride is a colourful affair, so feel free to decorate your bike - and yourself - with balloons, flags, or any similar paraphernalia that will draw attention and let people know what it is all about. If you have a particularly loud bell or a hooter, that's all to the good.

The whole things will last about 90 minutes. Afterwards, some of us may decide to get some lunch and/or go for a short ride around town.

 If you would like to come along, just turn up at the appointed time and place. There is no need to let anyone know in advance.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Musselburgh at last

At the third attempt, the planned ride to Musselburgh finally happened today. What should have been the opening 20 Milers ride of 2016 fell victim to treacherously icy conditions in January. Unbelievably, the same fate befell it in February. It was such a relief to have dry and sunny, if still slightly cool weather for today's ride. With the promise of some hidden gems and a chance to explore some little known parts of the Honest Toun, 23 riders assembled at the start. It was nice to see some new faces amongst the regulars. We left the Meadows in one group and made our way to the Innocent Railway via the superb new cycle track that makes getting out of town so much easier. We followed the familiar route to Newcraighall, where we joined the newly resurfaced road towards Fort Kinnaird, turning off and taking the cycle path to Musselburgh station. There then followed a meander through the unfamiliar residential streets of Stoneybank. Fortunately these streets caused no problems for the leader as this was his own backyard. Emerging beside the River Esk, most riders knew where they were once again. We carried on, crossing the foot bridge over the River Esk and made our way past the entrance to Musselburgh racecourse. After a short stretch on the busy Linkfield Road, we turned right through imposing gate posts into Windsor Gardens. A stone's throw from the racecourse, we were greeted by the lovely St Anne's Convent. This lovely building (now an old people's home) is set in a lovely square with houses that is reminiscent of an English cathedral close. After a short pause to enjoy the view, we rode round the square and made our way into the back entrance of Lewisvale Park. We climbed an interesting zig-zag path, rode around the playing field before coming out in the village of Inversk. A delightful old road that is now a foot and cycle path took us over the main East Coast railway line and on to the edge of Wallyford. We passed the historic site of the Battle of Pinkie Fields and made our way to our lunch stop, a pub just outside Whitecraig.

There was plenty of room to accommodate the whole group. Sufficiently refreshed, we made our way to the Grove and followed the Esk back to Musselburgh. Retracing part of our outward route, we made our way to Fisherrow Harbour. From there we crossed the main Edinburgh Road and made our way through the quiet back streets of the Newhailes housing estate. Another route that was unfamiliar to many; we exited back onto the main road through a gate in the wall. We soon left the main road behind and took the pleasant Brunstane Burn path to emerge at Brunstane station. From here we followed the familiar route back to the Innocent Railway to return to the start. On this stretch, Sustrans were doing a survey about usage of the path with many in the group stopping to complete it.

It was good to have some nice weather; even if it could have been a little warmer. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride and today's route was something of an eye opener to those that thought they knew Musselburgh. Finding hidden gems and exploring lesser known parts, the Honest Toun certainly gave up some of its secrets.

Leader: Glenn
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: Jim

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

April ride this coming Saturday

Our next ride is on Saturday (9th). This will be our third attempt to do Glenn's "hidden Musselburgh" run, which we've had to cancel twice before because of icy conditions.

The ride will be just over 20 miles, mainly on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, with a few gentle hills. Our lunch stop will be the pub in Whitecraig, where you can get various hot snacks and light meals.

As always, we'll meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10.30 departure. There's no need to let us know if you plan to come: just turn up on the day.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Announcing our next cycling weekend

Photo: Walter Baxter
This year's 20-Milers cycling weekend is now fixed for 21 -22 May. Our destination will be Dunbar.

There will be 35 - 40 miles of cycling each day. We'll leave Edinburgh on the Saturday morning, taking an inland route via Pencaitland, Gifford and Garvald. On the Sunday, we'll return by way of North Berwick and the coast. You can expect a few hills on both days, but none of them as severe as those on our Peebles weekend last year. The pace will be similar to our normal monthly rides.

There are several hotels, B&Bs and guest houses in Dunbar, with a range of prices. You will be responsible for booking your own accommodation, but we will all meet up for a meal on the Saturday evening.

If you are interested in joining this ride, please let Glenn know. This doesn't commit you to anything. It's just to give us an idea of numbers, and also so that we can keep you informed of any changes in plan.

Please reply direct to Glenn Brearley, glenn.brearleyATTforestry.gsi.gov.uk (replace ATT with the usual AT-sign).

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A canal, a river bank, a university and a shopping centre

Unlike our two previous rides, today's run proceeded according to plan. It was an overcast morning with a fresh breeze, but it was free of the hazardous ice that stymied our January and February outings.

Twenty-four of us – including several newcomers (welcome) - set off under the leadership of Michael Law. We ambled down Middle Meadow Walk, across Bruntsfield Links, and onto the canal at the Leamington bridge. Continuing the gentle pace, we left the canal at Harrison Park, then headed to Russell Road and Roseburn Park. Then came a couple of miles along the river bank towards Slateford. Somewhere on that stretch one of the riders had a puncture; a few of the group stayed to help him fix it, with the whole party re-assembling a short while later at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre.

After leaving the river in Currie, we crossed the Lanark Road, and took a series of back roads to the west gate of Heriot-Watt University, which was our planned lunch stop.

The cafeteria at the university is an ideal venue for a 20-Milers lunch. The staff are used to dealing with large numbers of hungry students and conference delegates, and were not at all put out by the sudden arrival of two dozen cyclists. And given that this was a Saturday and therefore relatively quiet, there was plenty of room for us to spread out.

Lunch finished, we left the campus by Gogar Station Road, and weaved through to Edinburgh Park. With most of the office buildings empty for the weekend, this area was looking particularly bleak, but at least we had the roads and paths to ourselves. By contrast, the Gyle Centre was teaming with Saturday shoppers.

The final leg took us past South Gyle Station and the Carrick Knowe golf course, then onto the Corstorphine railway path and so back to Roseburn and the Meadows. At just a smidgen more than 20 miles, it was another very successful ride.

(A special word of thanks to Neil Miller, who volunteered to stay with one of the group who was afflicted by a debilitating migraine, then helped her find her way home.)

Leader: Michael
Report and photos: Mike
Map: Jim