Come with us and explore Edinburgh's cycle paths at an easy pace.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Half-day ride planned for Christmas morning

We've got a ride planned for the morning of 25th December (Christmas day). This will be a short run, taken at our usual easy, sociable pace.

One of the nice things about Christmas day in Edinburgh is that the city is relatively free of traffic. We'll take advantage of that to visit parts of the city centre that we might prefer to avoid at other times.

We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10.30 start. The ride will finish no later than 13.00, in or near the West End. Note that there will be no café or lunch stop.

For those who can't make it on Thursday, our next normal monthly ride will be on 10th January.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ice and easy does it

Following a week which gave us the worst weather so far this winter and the threat of icy conditions under-wheel, it wasn't surprising that only 13 riders turned up at the start of today's ride. Several of our regulars decided not to risk it. Maybe the memory of the ill-fated January ride that had to be curtailed due to lethal black ice was still fresh in their memories.

For the first time in a while there was no need to split into two groups as we headed towards the Innocent Railway via the path across the Meadows which was freshly gritted. We went through Craigmillar Castle Park where the mud wasn't too bad due to the frozen ground. On past the Royal Infirmary, through Moredun and into Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park. At this point we stopped for our customary sweetie stop. Upping the stakes from the usual passing round of Jelly Babies, Andy opened a flask and passed round a quaiche of mulled wine which was greatly appreciated on such a cold day. Our sweetie stops may have changed forever! The conditions under-wheel were now quite treacherous with sheet ice often stretching across the width of the path. The only consolation being that we could actually see the ice; therefore much better than the black variety. Crossing a particularly dodgy bit, one rider was heard to say, "I want my mum!" Brave souls these 20 Milers! We made it safely to our lunch stop where the group split between the Mortonhall Garden Centre cafe and the Stables Bar.
With everyone fed, watered and warmed up, disaster struck! One of our group had securely locked his bike only to realise that the key was still at home. As several members of the group set about breaking the lock, others stood around getting cold whilst some were less than helpful asking "does anyone have a hand grenade?" Just as it looked as if the rider and his bike may have to be abandoned, the skilful wielding of a large rock solved the problem. More trying to ride on treacherous ice covered paths / walking followed as we made our way to Braid Hills. From there we rode back into town via the Astley Ainsley Hospital, mainly on ice-free roads. Prior to finishing the ride, Andy gave us a brief history lesson about the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children which used to stand on Whitehouse Loan. We may have had a few hairy moments, but we did get back safely with no injuries or fallers.

Leader: Andy
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map: Jim

Thursday, 11 December 2014

December Rides

For our usual monthly ride this coming Saturday (13th), Andy will be leading us on what looks like an interesting tour of bike paths in the south of the city. In deference to the short days, this ride will be slightly less than our usual 20 miles, and should present no difficulties. Our lunch stop will be at Mortonhall.

We'll meet, as always, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. Keep in mind that it gets dark around 4 pm, so you'll almost certainly need to bring lights. The weather forecast looks cold and damp or snowy, so bring warm layers and a spare set of gloves. If the ground is icy then we may need to shorten or call off the ride.

Extra Bonus Christmas Day ride!
Our second outing this month will be our traditional Christmas morning run. This will be a short ride, mainly around the city centre, finishing no later than 1 pm. More details nearer the time. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Northern reaches of the city

When our leader, David planned the route for the November ride he expected bad weather. As a result of this and due to the earlier arrival of darkness at this time of year, he settled for a shorter and easier route of just 18 miles. A drier and milder day than anticipated resulted in 33 riders turning up - a record turnout for 2014.

As is now the norm, we split into two groups; the second giving the first a five minute start. We rode through the Meadows to join the canal at Leamington Bridge and on towards Harrison Park where we left the canal and headed through the back streets to join the Roseburn Path. From there we headed to Silverknowes and into the grounds of Lauriston Castle stopping to visit the Japanese Garden. After admiring the lovely autumn colours and partaking in toffees we headed to Muirhouse before looping back along Marine Drive to join the Silverknowes Esplanade.
At this point the ride became very technical and we all had to engage our brains. We tried to see how accurate our bicycle odometers were against a known 1 km marked course, in this case the 1-2 km of Edinburgh Park Run along the promenade at Silverknowes. This course has been measured accurately using a bicycle and Jones Counter that had been calibrated along the 1 km measured straight at Meadowbank. Starting at the 1 km mark we cycled 0.62 miles and then stopped. All of us were short of the kilometre marker not surprisingly with the rounding that we had to do, but the variation between us was almost 30 metres. All of the cycle computers are measuring as idealised circumference for the wheel, but the actual circumference will vary because of tyre pressures and our own centre of balance on the bike (do we lean forward a lot onto the handle bars or sit back on the seat more). The main factor though is that we do not cycle in a straight line, we weave about and never really take the shortest possible route cutting all of the corners and all of these things add up.
After so much concentration and thinking we were all ready for lunch. Following a stop to repair a puncture as we got to the end of the Esplanade, we pressed on through Granton and on to Stockbridge via the Trinity and Goldenacre paths. From there we made our way to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art for our lunch stop. We enjoyed a very nice and most welcome [late] lunch. Many of the group were brave enough to sit outside whilst a few opted for the warmth and comfort and sat inside. Suitably replenished we set off back to the start via the familiar Roseburn path route. Many riders peeled off and headed for home with a small group returning to the Meadows for a post-ride coffee.

The rain had stayed off for the ride; but it came later and made the ride home for the final few quite unpleasant. Thanks to David for leading us on an interesting ride with the technical bit in the middle. Unless we get an unbelievably high turnout for the December ride, he will have the kudos of leading the largest ride in this, the 20 Milers tenth anniversary year.

Leader: David
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map: Mike

Monday, 3 November 2014

November ride this coming Saturday

For Saturday's run (8th November), David will be leading us on an interesting tour of the northern reaches of the city, taking in Dean Village, the Kyoto Peace Garden at Lauriston Castle, and the Silverknowes Esplanade. A special attraction will be a chance for us to calibrate our bike computers against a measured kilometre. Lunch will be at the Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road, where there is a nice café and plenty of room for picnickers.

The route looks reasonably straightforward, apart from a couple of short stretches on busy main roads. For the most part, the paths are well-surfaced, and there will be no killer hills. The total distance will be about 19 miles.

Note that we'll be covering most of the route in the morning, which means that the lunch break will be later than usual. The afternoon leg back to the Meadows will be quite short.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The leading ladies ride to Cramond

On a lovely autumnal morning it looked as if we were going to have less riders on the actual ride than had been on the recce. Having gathered together late comers (including a few that joined after we had set off) we eventually had 24 riders. We split into the now obligitory two groups. Somehow the split went awry with one group of 7 and the other of 17.

Today the ladies were in charge (what's new there then? I hear you ask). Claire was the leader supported by second group leader Julia and backmarkers Verity and Yaz.

We headed to the canal at Leamington Bridge, down the bumps to the Telfer subway and through Roseburn Park and into the unfamiliar maze of back streets around Carrick Knowe. It was here that we had to stop whilst a puncture was fixed. Via Maybury junction, Turnhouse Road, Cammo Walk and Whitehouse Road we arrived at Cramond for lunch. Here the group split in three. Two groups went to cafes at Cramond waterfront and Silverknowes Esplanade, whilst the picnicers sat in the warm sunshine on the waterfront. There was a moment when the picnicers and their bikes almost got knocked into the river by a reversing car pulling a yacht on a trailer.

The sky turned grey and it looked like rain as we got back into our two groups ready to set off after lunch. Fortunately the rain never came and we headed back to the start via Silverknowes Esplanade, the Telford path, Dalry Road, Telfer subway and Leamington Bridge in pleasant sunshine.

Another successful ride enjoyed by all and expertly led by the ladies. The maze of back streets around Carrick Knowe were unfamiliar to many. Well done to Claire for leading us through them.

Leader: Claire
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map: Jim

View 20-milers to Cammo 11 Oct 2014 in a larger map

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Next ride - Sat 11th October

Just a quick reminder about our ride this coming Saturday (11th October). Claire will be leading us on a tour of bike paths and quiet roads in the north and west of the city. There will be a few hills, but nothing too onerous.

For lunch, we'll aim for the Cramond / Silverknowes waterfront area. Unfortunately, this area is not well served by cafés - at least, not for a group of 30 - 40 hungry cyclists. For that reason, I encourage you to bring a picnic lunch this time. It should be possible to buy a hot drink and perhaps a light take-away snack, but it would be better not to rely on getting anything more substantial.

As always, we'll gather at the top of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. We should be back in town between about 3 and 4 pm.