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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Evening rides start this week

Starting this coming Thursday (27th April), we will be having an evening ride every week throughout the summer. These rides will be about 15 miles or so, and will be taken at a moderate "sociable" pace. That means about 10 mph, which is a little faster than our Saturday runs but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation.

The details are as follows:

Meeting point: At the very end of the Union Canal in Fountainbridge. Look for us near the outside tables at the back of the Akva bar.

Start time: We'll gather from 18.30, in time for a 18.45 departure.

Finish time: Most rides will end around dusk, which is about 20.30 at present but nearer 22.00 in mid June. Be sure to bring lights (with plenty of spare battery power).

Cost and booking: Like all of our rides, these evening runs are completely free, with no need to book in advance.

Other details: In most cases, the ride will end at or near the start point. There might sometimes be an optional pub visit at the end of the ride, but note that there will be no official meal break.

We won't be posting individual reminders for these rides, so keep the above details handy. There is also a special blog page where you can find details of the routes that have been planned so far, as well as directions to the meeting point and other useful information. See http://20milers.pbworks.com.

Thanks to Jim for taking the initiative in planning and organising these events.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Pedal on Parliament this Saturday

20-Milers meeting for the 2016 PoP
As you probably know, the annual Pedal on Parliament takes place this coming Saturday (22nd April). This is a fun event, in which thousands of cyclists descend on the city centre, and ride from the Meadows to Holyrood on roads closed to motor vehicles.

As usual, a 20-Milers contingent will be taking part. We will meet outside the Bicycle Works in Argyle Place (which is just south of the Meadows, near the southern end of Middle Meadow Walk). We'll gather from 11.00, and aim to join to main crowd on the Meadows at 11.15.

If you miss us at the above meeting point, make your own way to the Meadows, and look out for us there.

The event includes a mass bell-ringing, so if you have a particularly loud bell or a hooter, please bring it. If you can decorate your bike with flags or balloons, so much the better.

I hope you'll be able to make it. If you want to know more about Pedal on Parliament, have a look at the event's website.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Our next cycling weekend: Perth in May

This year's 20-Milers cycling weekend will be to Perth on 20th – 21st May.

We'll leave Edinburgh on the Saturday morning and make our way to Perth. We'll  stay overnight (all meet up for dinner) in Perth and return to Edinburgh on the Sunday.

The pace will be similar to a usual 20-Milers rides. The distance each day will be about 40 miles.

You will need to book your own accommodation. It's very likely that we'll end up in several different hotels / guest houses / bed &  breakfasts.

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, 8 April 2017

Carberry beneath blue skies

At the end of a week when the 20 Milers had said farewell to one of their own; today's ride was never going to be easy. A respectable turn out of 25 riders gathered at the start for the April ride to Carberry. Beneath blue skies with a slight chill in the air, the leader spent a couple of minutes paying tribute to Logan Strang who sadly passed away whilst riding with friends from the group on 25th March. There then followed the customary briefing before we headed off towards the Innocent tunnel in one group. It was good to see new faces and some we hadn't seen for a while mixed in with the regular ones. It was nice to see the road works had gone from Milton Road as we made our way towards Musselburgh station along familiar paths. At the station, we halted as various sweets and cakes were passed round. Just after leaving the station, we realised that the back marker and a couple of others were missing. The group waited a few minutes. With no sign of them, a rider was sent back to look for them. No joy. We set off hoping that they would wait by the River Esk and rejoin us there. That's what happened. After leaving the station, they had lost sight of the rest of the group and taken the second left rather than the third. We were now all back together; suspecting that Logan was laughing at us from on high. We crossed the river, made our way down the side of the race course and onto the John Muir Way as far as Prestonpans. Following a brief comfort stop, we made our way past Prestonpans station before turning onto a track that took us to the cyclepath and to the edge of Tranent. From there we climbed steadily to Elphinstone. It was now quite warm as the chill wind had dropped. Layers of clothing were shed. After re-grouping on the forecourt of a classic car dealership, we took the lovely quiet road that brought us to Crossgatehall. Just down from there, we entered the lovely Carberry estate. A ride along dirt tracks in the estate, back onto the road and we arrived at Craig House for our lunch stop. We were slightly later than planned. But no one minded as we spread ourselves around the beer garden tables in the warm sunshine. This was in contrast to the day of the recce, when four brave souls had endured dreadfully wet weather.

Lunch over, we got back on the road and began our journey towards Edinburgh. We made our way through the village of Inveresk to the church. After negotiating a gate, we sped downhill and onto the path beside the River Esk known as "The Grove". This took us to Tesco. Getting all the riders across the road took a few minutes. From there we made our way to Fisherrow Harbour. Crossing the busy road out of Musselburgh, quiet back roads took us to a gate in a wall. Through the gate, a short stretch on a busy road, through a hole in the wall and we were on the Brunstane path. We were making good progress until we came to a fence blocking the path. Fortunately, there was a diversion that took us to where we needed to be. From there, a familiar route took us back to the Meadows. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride, and the newcomers were made to feel welcome. We had lovely weather and for most of the group, they had discovered places they hadn't been before. On a ride the leader had dedicated to Logan, I think we did him proud. He was in our thoughts and conversations a lot today and we can be sure he would have enjoyed the ride. We will miss him, but never forget him. Logan, thank you for being our friend - it was a privilege.

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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Logan Strang 1938 - 2017

I am very sorry to report that one of our best-known and longest-standing members has died. George Strang - known to us all as Logan - suffered a heart attack while out cycling with three of our group in East Lothian on Saturday. He was 79.

Logan turned to cycling following the death of a daughter in 2004. Never one to sit at home or feel sorry for himself, he often said that cycling was what kept him sane. He had been a regular member of 20-Milers since 2007, and often led our rides. He also cycled with other local groups, and took part in several big charity rides including Pedal for Scotland and the Lepra St. Andrews run. A few years ago, he undertook a solo coast-to-coast bike ride from North Yorkshire to Iona.

Always keen to encourage new and less experienced cyclists, he was the driving force behind the setting up of EasyCycle in 2011, and ran the group almost single-handed until late 2015.

Logan was born in 1938, and attended Merchiston Castle school. After completing his National Service, part of which was spent in Cyprus, he became a science teacher, and taught for many years at George Watson's College. Always active and physically fit, he often took his pupils on sailing and skiing trips.

A few weeks ago, Logan was admitted to hospital for a minor operation. He was recovering well, and was soon back in the saddle. On Saturday, he joined three other members of our group for a ride to Humbie. Soon after the lunch stop, he collapsed by the side of the road. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the Infirmary, but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Despite some setbacks to his health in recent months, Logan repeatedly said that he would never give up cycling – and he never did. As one of our members put it, "If there can be any consolation at such a time, he passed away doing what he loved doing, with good friends, on a beautiful day. In typical fashion, he was cheerful to the end."

Funeral arrangements. A service will be held at St Peters Church, Falcon Avenue, Morningside at 1 pm on Wednesday 5th April. Family flowers only please, and no black. Retiring collection in aid of SCIAF.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A March meander to Riccarton

We had an excellent turnout for today's ride to Riccarton (I counted 28 but there might have been more), so leader Michael (Law) wisely decided to split us into two groups. Actually, it turned out to be three groups, but that was by accident rather than design; more about that in a moment.

Michael's group set out confidently and made it to the lunch venue without mishap. But before the second party was able to depart, that oh-so-familiar cry was heard: puncture! A couple of willing hands helped fix the problem, and before long the second group was on its way as well.

The unexpected closure of the canal towpath near Viewforth had forced us to make a hasty adjustment to our itinerary. Because of some uncertainty over the new route, the leadership of the second group was something of a joint effort involving Verity and myself. We were scarcely off the Meadows before we noticed that three members of the party were missing, including the backmarker and his deputy. (Was it not Oscar Wilde who said, "To lose one backmarker may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." Well, maybe not.)

Rightly or wrongly, we made a decision to carry on without the three absentees. So we proceeded on our revised route down Whitehouse Loan, up Woodehouse Terrace and Braid Road to the Comiston Road traffic lights, and then into Braidburn Valley Park. There had been light drizzle at the start of the ride, but this was now giving way to clearer skies, giving us fine views of the Pentland Hills.

We followed the path beside the Braid Burn to Redford Road, then freewheeled down into Colinton, where we paused for a comfort break. Our route then took us up Woodhall Road, down West Mill Road and onto the Water of Leith path. A couple of miles later, we turned off the path and headed through Currie and into the back gate of the Heriot-Watt campus.

And so we reached our lunch venue, which was the spacious canteen in the university's main building. Considering the place is usually deserted on Saturdays, they offer a surprisingly good range of meals and snacks. As always the staff served us cheerfully and efficiently.

Michael's party had arrived about ten minutes before us, and left about ten minutes before our own departure. Just as we were getting ready to leave, who should arrive but the three riders that we had lost on the Meadows. It turned out that the person who had had the puncture at the start of the run had suffered the same fate again almost immediately afterwards. With no further inner tubes available, and with all attempts at patching the existing tube proving unsuccessful, the puncturee and the two helpers/backmarkers headed for the Edinburgh Bike Co-op for a new tube. The problem thus solved, the three made record time catching us up. But we had no desire to hang around while they gobbled their belated lunch, so we again set out without them.

For the return leg of the ride, we took a slightly devious route out of the campus (to avoid a running race which was taking place that afternoon). Then, after crossing the main Calder Road, we headed along Gogar Station Road and into Edinburgh Park, past the Gyle shopping centre and South Gyle station, and then along the familiar route through Corstorphine, Balgreen, Roseburn, and so back to the Meadows. The first group had made it back a few minutes before us. The three riders in the third group, having finished their hasty lunch at the campus, had made a bee-line back to town on the canal towpath, and arrived not long after the rest of us. Thus re-united, members of all three groups partook of refreshments while sitting in the warm sunshine outside Peter's Yard café.

Leaders and backmarkers: Jim, Glenn, Michael, Mike, Neil, Verity, in various combinations
Report and photo: Mike
Map (showing third group's route): Jim

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

March 20-Milers - plus more rides

Now that the worst of the winter is behind us (let's hope), this would be a good time to think about forthcoming bike rides. This post contains news of a few events you might be interested in. I hope you'll be able to make at least some of them.

March 20-Milers this coming Saturday

For this month's run (on 11th), Michael will be leading us out to the west of the city, mainly on quiet roads and sheltered paths. It won't be a long run, nor a particularly demanding one, apart from a couple of gentle hills. If you haven't cycled for a while, this would be a good way to ease yourself back into the saddle.

We'll meet as usual at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. Our lunch stop will be in the canteen at Heriot-Watt in Riccarton. This is a very spacious eatery, serving a reasonable selection of sandwiches and hot snacks. For those of us who prefer to bring our own food, there is plenty of room to eat it, both inside and outside the building.

As always, please treat the above information as provisional. The starting place and time may be regarded as definite, but we sometimes have to vary the route or choose a different lunch venue, depending on various factors.

Fancy-dress bike ride (2nd April)

Jenny Tizard is organising this fun event to raise funds for a local charity called Bikes for Refugees. Their aim is to provide refugees and asylum seekers with old or refurbished bikes. Personally, I think this is a very worthwhile cause, partly because it helps a vulnerable group of people at a time of crisis in their lives; and partly because it gets people cycling who might not otherwise be able to do so.

The plan is for us all to decorate our bikes and/or ourselves to make the ride as eye-catching as possible. The route will be quite short, and all are welcome. If you absolutely can't manage a fancy dress, just a couple of balloons will suffice. And if even that's not possible, come anyway to show your support.

For further information, see this page (which also has contact details):

Pedal on Parliament (22nd April)

I don't have any more information yet about this event, but you might like to note the date.

20-Milers weekend  (20th - 21st May)

This will be our fourth cycling weekend. The destination hasn't been confirmed yet, but you can at least save the date. The formula will be the same as in past years: we will set out from Edinburgh on the Saturday morning, returning late Sunday afternoon. Riders will be responsible for booking their own accommodation, with the group meeting up for a restaurant or pub meal on the Saturday evening.

Look out for a circular from Glenn with full details later in the month.

St. Andrews ride (17th June)

The date has now been fixed for this popular event. And for the first time in several years, the organisers have managed to avoid a clash with our own monthly run. If you have never tried it, do give it a go. It's a challenging ride, but a very enjoyable one.

Full details can be found here: http://www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk/lepra-ride.htm

Mellow Velo, Spokes and CTC

Many of our members ride regularly with one or other of these Edinburgh-based groups. Between them, they have a ride almost every weekend. Spokes go out on the first Sunday of the month; their rides are usually faster and longer than ours, with a long pub or restaurant stop for lunch. CTC have rides of varying lengths at different times of the month.

Mellow Velo specialise in weekends away, but they also have a few day rides coming up. These include an East Lothian run on 18th March and a ride to the Vale of Leven on 8th April. Their first weekend ride of 2017 will be to Callander on 6th to 7th May.

Full details of all the above rides can be found on my own website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.

That's all for now. As you can see, there are a lot of events to choose from. I hope I'll see you on some of them.