Saturday, 9 February 2019
With the group fed and watered, we set off on our relatively short run back towards town. A ride along the busy Colinton Road, before turning off and meandering through the quiet back streets of Craiglockhart. We then joined the canal towpath which took us back to the Leamington Bridge. This stretch of the canal is so charming and delightful that it begs the question, "are we really in a city?" At the top of Leamington Terrace, the leader declared the ride officially over. Thanks to Jim for leading us to somewhere we hadn't been before, and finding a new lunch venue. It was definitely the right call to change the route to cut out that open and exposed section in the interests of safety. It did result in one of our shortest rides for quite some time. But a short, safer ride is still better than having to cancel.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 4 February 2019
For our bike ride this Saturday (9th Feb), Jim has come up with something entirely new. We will be visiting the little-known Covenanters Wood in the south west of the city. I was surprised to learn that this ancient woodland is home to a rare group of giant redwood trees - something you associate more with California than Caledonia. There are also some archaeological excavations dating back to the two world wars and a couple of other sites of historical interest. Jim will no doubt be telling us the full story of these when we get there.
After that, we will continue westward on a more familiar route through Currie and Riccarton before heading back to town via Edinburgh Park and the Corstorphine railway path. The total distance will be about 21 miles. The route should be fairly easy apart from a few short climbs and a couple of rough stretches that might be a little muddy.
For lunch, we will stop at the Heriot-Watt campus. The café there serves a reasonable range of soup, baked potatoes, sandwiches and hot drinks. It also has plenty of indoor seating for those of us who prefer to bring our own food.
The meeting time and place are, as always, 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We should get back to the Meadows well before dark (sunset is at 17:00), but it might be wise to bring lights just in case, especially if you have some distance to travel after the ride. Needless to say, the ride is free and open to all, with no need to book.
Saturday, 12 January 2019
Today's ride saw us head out to that old favourite, Craigie's Farm. It is usually a safe bet, even when there is a lot of ice elsewhere. That's often an important factor, as for the last few years the first 20 Milers ride of the year seems to have been associated with cold and icy condition. Not so for the season opener of 2019. We were blessed with weather that was reasonably mild, if a touch breezy at times. There was some very light drizzle as we set off after lunch, but it was barely noticeable and came to nothing.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride. There were no mishaps and the weather had been much kinder to us than we had the right to expect in mid-January. Thanks to Alan for leading such a good ride.
Map trace: David
Tuesday, 8 January 2019
We've got our first ride of the new year coming up on Saturday (12th). Alan will be leading us on a circuit of bike paths and quiet roads in the west of the city, with a lunch stop at one of our more popular eating places, Craigie's Farm.
The route will be about 24 miles and will include a few short stretches on rough paths that might be muddy in places. There won't be a great deal of climbing, but there will be one fairly steep hill just before lunch. Most of the cycling will be in the morning, with a quick return to the Meadows in the afternoon. The ride should finish well before dark (sunset is at 16:06), but it would be wise to bring lights in case we get delayed or if you want to go for a post-ride coffee.
Craigie's Farm has both a cafe and a picnic area. The cafe does a good range of hot dishes, salads, sandwiches and the like.
We'll meet as always at 10:30 at our usual spot on Middle Meadow Walk.
A couple of points ....
Please keep in mind that the above information is provisional. The meeting place and time are fixed, but with all our rides we reserve the right to change the route or destination at short notice, depending on conditions on the day. This doesn't happen very often, but we might need to do it, for example if some of the paths are icy or if particularly bad weather is expected later in the day.
Also, please remember to carry a spare inner tube if at all possible. We can't guarantee you won't get a puncture, but if you do, having a spare tube will make it much easier to get back on the road. If you're not sure what size or type of tube you need, ask at your local bike shop.
Remember, you don't need to reply to this post or let anyone know that you are coming. If you plan to join us, just turn up on the day.
Tuesday, 25 December 2018
For the first time in several years, the gods of Christmas weather were good to us for today's ride. There was none of last year's torrential rain, nor anything resembling the ferocious Storm Conor of 2016. Christmas morning this year was mild, dry and almost free of wind. True, the skies were decidedly overcast, but when it comes to cycling, a grey Christmas is better than a white one.
Fourteen riders turned up for this, our eighth Christmas morning run. About half the group were 20-Milers regulars; the rest were mainly folk we tend to see once a year. We were also joined by a couple of visitors from Thailand. All very welcome.
Under David's leadership, we started out along George IV Bridge and up the Royal Mile to the castle. We did a circuit of the esplanade, taking in some of the monuments and statues, and pausing for a photo opportunity in front of the Scottish Horse Monument (commemorating the men of the Scottish Horse Regiment who fell in the Boer War). The Pentland Hills were just about visible through the murky cloud but the Fife coast had gone AWOL.
After leaving the castle, we freewheeled down Johnston Terrace, then round the back of the Usher Hall into Lothian Road. We crossed Festival Square and took the footbridge into Rutland Square. Next came a bit of weaving through the West End, across Queensferry Street and into Charlotte Square. Passing the First Minister's residence (no coffee invitation was forthcoming), we headed into the Street of Light.
The Street of Light is a section of George Street which, in recent weeks, has been lit up with a spectacular light display, synchronised with music played through silent disco headphones. But this morning the lights were out and the place was even more silent than usual. For no good reason, we did an extra lap or two under the extinguished lights before turning into Castle Street and out onto Princes Street.
|The Street of Light|
We left Calton Hill by the same road that we had used for the ascent, and then headed along Regent Road to another of our traditional stopping places: the Stones of Scotland Monument. Breaking with tradition, we then continued east to Abbeyhill, and then down to Horse Wynd and into Holyrood Park. We were pleased to see that the road through the park was closed to cars for the day, so we took advantage of that to occupy the full width of the road rather than keeping to the narrow shared-use pavement.
Report and photos: Mike
Thursday, 20 December 2018
This is to remind you that we have our traditional Christmas morning ride coming up next week (Tuesday 25th). Like all our rides, this one will be free and open to all, so feel free to tell your pals.
In no way will the ride be strenuous. Just the opposite, it will be a leisurely saunter around town with plenty of stops. There will be a couple of moderate climbs but no other difficulties. One advantage of cycling on Christmas day is that the roads will be relatively quiet. We'll take advantage of that to take in parts of the city where we might not otherwise ride.
We'll set out at 10:30 from our usual meeting point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride will end back at the Meadows at 13:00 at the very latest (possibly a bit earlier). Of course, you can always peel off earlier if you need to be somewhere else for lunch.
Note that there will be no cafe or pub stop of any kind. If anyone wishes to bring a snack, we'll stop somewhere nice for you to enjoy it.
There's no need to reply to this post. If you are planning to join us, just turn up on the day.
Saturday, 8 December 2018
For those in the know, there are four routes to the top of Fa'side Hill near Wallyford. There's the hard way, second hardest way, third hardest way and the easy (off-road) way. Today saw us go up by the second hardest way, and come down what would have been the hard way; which made for a glorious descent. By declaring the ride officially over before we had returned to the Meadows (and five minutes before the rain started), the rookie leader was able to claim a dry ride.
Thanks to Neil for taking the reins for the first time to lead an interesting and enjoyable ride. Taking the decision to declare the ride over five minutes prior to the rain beginning was a stroke of genius. Also worthy of mention was the fact that Neil was out recceing the route at 0500 to check that the wind was not going to be a major problem. It wasn't. That must count as a level of dedication that few other leaders can match.
So, with the exception of the short Christmas Day ride, here endeth the 2018 rides. Thanks to everyone that has made them a success - leaders, backmarkers, helpers and attendees. Wishing all our riders seasons greetings and looking forward to seeing you again in 2019.
Map trace: David