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

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A windy ride to South Queensferry

Today was sunny and dry, with lovely blue skies. But my goodness - what a breeze. We had winds of 25 mph in our face all morning, which did nothing to help us on our way.

About thirty-four riders turned up, so we once again split into two groups. Claire led the first party, with Ken's group following a few minutes behind.


We took the route that we habitually follow when heading out to the north west: the Roseburn Path, Davidson's Mains and Barnton. But although this a well-worn and familiar path, we did notice three innovations since our last trip this way.

First, there's a new cut-through from the canal to Dundee Street. Instead of going down Gilmore Park and turning left into the busy Fountainbridge, you can now go along the towpath to the first bridge, then cut through the new development of student flats, coming out opposite Cineworld. It only saves a few yards, but it is a decidedly pleasanter route.

At the Sustrans marker in Craigleith, the council are busy with a landscaping project. It's not yet clear how this will look when finished, but it should make the path junction a little less cluttered. Unfortunately, the useful directional signs have been removed in the process. Let's hope someone remembers to put them back.

And finally, the path between the golf courses in Barnton has now re-opened. This has been widened and given a nice new surface - a welcome improvement.


From Cramond Brig, we turned into the Dalmeny Estate. Some of the paths here are rough, and were muddier than usual after the recent rains. But for the most part the estate offers pleasant cycling, away from the traffic and with excellent views over the Firth of Forth.

Our two groups joined up for the lunch break in South Queensferry. Some of us found a sheltered picnic spot overlooking the harbour. For the others, Claire did a good job of dividing them between separate cafés, which meant that we didn't overwhelm any one establishment.

After lunch, we got the benefit of the morning's hard work. With the wind now behind us (well, for part of the time at least), we zipped along the Ferry Glen path (more good views), and then through Dalmeny village and down NCN 1 to Cramond Brig. The two groups met up again at Craigleith. From there, one contingent continued back towards the Meadows; another group headed to the Costa café in the shopping centre, while the remainder of the riders went their separate ways. Despite those 25 mph gusts, it was another excellent ride.

View April 20-Milers to South Queensferry in a larger map

Leaders: Claire and Ken
Report and map: Mike
Photo: Logan

Monday, 7 April 2014

April ride this coming Saturday

For this month's outing, Claire will be leading us on a scenic route to one of our more popular destinations. We'll be heading to South Queensferry by way of the Dalmeny Estate. This is particularly nice cycling, being mainly on quiet roads and paths with good views over the Firth of Forth.

The total distance will be about 22 miles. I'm not aware of any particular difficulties on the route, apart perhaps from one or two short stretches on rough path and a couple of moderately steep hills.

South Queensferry is a nice spot for a picnic lunch, so consider bringing a sandwich if the weather is fine. If you prefer to eat indoors, there are several cafés and pubs to choose from.

The details

We'll muster as usual at the top (north end) of Middle Meadow Walk, aiming to set out promptly at 10.30. The ride will probably end between 3 and 4 pm, but don't hold me to that - the actual finish time will depend on who turns up, the weather, and other factors.

Remember, all our rides are organised on a "just turn up" basis, so you don't need to tell us in advance if you are coming.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Advanced Notice: John Muir Way Inaugural Ride

On Saturday 3rd May, we will be holding a special ride to mark the opening of the John Muir Way. This will be a 34-mile circular ride, starting and ending in Edinburgh. Like all our rides, it is free and open to all.

The John Muir Way (JMW) is a new 134-mile footpath and cycle route, running from Dunbar to Helensburgh. The ride we are planning is one of several events designed to mark the opening of the route. It is being organised in association with Scottish Natural Heritage. Information about the JMW and other inaugural events can be found here.

Our route

For our ride, we will follow part of the JMW out towards South Queensferry, and then through the Hopetoun Estate and along the banks of the Forth to Blackness. We will return to town by an inland route, taking the canal towpath from Philpstoun to Winchburgh, and then by roads and paths via Kirkliston.

Most of the route will be on quiet roads and bike paths, but there will be a couple of short stretches on a busy main road. Some of the paths might be rough in places, and possibly muddy. The route is a fairly level one, but there will be a few moderate hills and one particularly steep one.. The total distance will be about 34 miles.
Hopetoun House is one of the landmarks on the JMW

We will aim for a moderate "sociable" pace: a little faster than our normal monthly runs, but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation.

Food and drink

Please bring your own food and drink for a picnic lunch, which will be at Blackness Castle. There is a small shop near the castle, where you can buy sweets, ice cream and hot drinks. There are also toilets there. But there is no café or pub, so be sure to bring at least a sandwich and some water. Depending on numbers and progress, we might stop at a café near the end of the ride.

Time and place

We will meet in time for a 10.00 start, at the Sustrans marker at the three-way junction of the Roseburn, Blackhall and Telford paths in Craigleith. If you are not sure where that is, make your way to South Groathill Avenue, then look for the sign-posted entrance to the bike paths by the lights-controlled crossing near the back of the Sainsbury's petrol station. Grid reference: NT 223747. Map.

We will aim to return to Edinburgh by about 16.00, although this will depend on the weather, the speed of the group, and other factors.

What to bring

Apart from the aforementioned food and drink, please bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. That way, if you are unfortunate enough to have a puncture, it can be dealt with relatively quickly. If you don't know how to replace an inner tube, don't worry: there are usually willing helpers available. If you're not sure what size or type of tube you need, just ask at your local bike shop.

You should also bring all the obvious things you will need for any bike ride, such as a lightweight waterproof jacket, and perhaps a scarf and/or gloves if the day is chilly. It's also a good idea to bring a bike lock, although this is not essential as you can always double up with someone else. Most of our riders choose to wear a helmet, but we don't insist on that.

Just turn up
Part of our return route will be via the canal towpath

There is no need to book in advance for the ride. Just turn up on the day.

Note that the ride will go ahead even if the weather is bad. A few showers or a cold breeze won't put us off. But if the weather is really bad, we might opt for a shorter route, with the possibility of a café stop around lunch time.

Any questions?

For general information about our rides, please see our FAQ. If you still have a question, feel free to email us at the address in the panel on the left of this page.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

March ride to Currie, Riccarton and the Gyle

It would have been ideal cycling weather if it hadn't been for the bitter cold 25-mph winds. But that didn't stop around 32 of us gathering at the Meadows for today's run, which was a second attempt to do the ride that we abandoned in January because of ice.

Because of the high turnout, we decided to split into two groups. Alan Orr led the first party, which headed out to Balerno via Morningside, Craiglockhart, Colinton, and Woodhall, before doubling back along the road to Currie and Riccarton. The second group, under the leadership of Jim Cameron, followed the same route to a point just beyond Colinton. But our progress was slow - probably because of the strong headwinds - so we decided to cut a corner. At Woodhall Farm, we dropped down to the more sheltered Water of Leith path, then on to Currie Kirk, Curriehill Station and the Riccarton campus.

The two groups joined up at the Gyle shopping centre, where we had lunch in the spacious food court. This is not exactly gourmet dining, but it did enable everyone to get fed and watered reasonably quickly. There are around a dozen different food outlets there, so everyone managed to find something they liked.

For the afternoon leg, we followed the path to South Gyle Station, then on to Meadow Place Road and Broomhouse Drive, where we picked up the excellent new cycle path that runs alongside the tram line. This took us quickly to Murrayfield, at exactly the time that several thousand rugby fans were arriving for the Scotland vs. France match. But we were soon clear of that, and it was then just a short hop back to the Meadows, where the two groups re-united for coffee in Peter's Yard.

View March 2014 20-Milers in a larger map

Alan Orr, Jim Cameron
Report and map: Mike

Monday, 3 March 2014

March ride this coming Saturday

We've got our March ride coming up this Saturday (8th). I hope you'll be able to join us.

This month's ride will be similar to the route that we had to abandon in January because of ice. Now that the worst of the cold weather is over (let's hope), we should have a much better run this time. The route will take in the Currie, Hermiston and Riccarton areas. It's not a particularly hilly route, although there might be a couple of short climbs. There will also be one section of rough track which might be muddy. The total distance will be about 24 miles.

We'll meet as always at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, for a 10.30 start. The ride should end mid afternoon.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

February's ride

Today we had sunshine and showers. The showers were icy cold, but luckily not too heavy at any time. About 24 people came out for today's ride - not as many as last month's massive turn out, but good considering the weather, and the Calcutta Cup scheduled for later in the day.

This month was my turn to lead, and the recce I led a few weeks earlier had showed that my "Google Satellite route planning" had resulted in quite a lot of mud, hills and steps, so we had reworked some of the worse bits via a car-recce (time being limited), so I was quite glad that all the parts worked out (I only went slightly wrong once, by a couple of metres!)

We went south, with a loose theme of "Hospitals" - better than the original theme of "mud and steps". We passed the old Royal, the Sick Kids, the Astley Ainsley, waved to the Royal Ed in the distance, passed nearby Napier uni's Craiglockhart campus (which used to be a sanatorium for war veterans with shell shock), past Firrhill school and into the grounds of the old City hospital (with lovely balconies for the invalids to take the air), and then down into the Braid burn valley. A short climb or two (avoiding the muddiest bit of Cockmylane), and then up to Brunstane took us to some lovely views of the Pentlands and East, before a whizz down the hill to lunch at Mortonhall Garden Centre (for some) or the Stable Bar (where several people toasted themselves lightly in front of the fire).

Photo - Alan Stalker
After lunch we carried on East, past the Toby Carvery ("Second lunch, anyone?") and through Gracemount, Southhouse, over the Burdiehouse valley park, through a back path in the Murrays, into Gilmerton, Moredun and Ferniehill and down to the Royal Infirmary. Using the new bus lane we went through the abandoned wasteland that was Niddrie, where the water board had kindly laid on a bike-washing fountain, then through Craigmiller and down to the Innocent Railway to head back into town and coffee etc. at Peter's Yard.

Total distance - about 18.5 miles, plus a fair amount of climb (about 1000ft overall, I believe).

View 20milers Feb-14 route in a larger map
Leader - Livia
Report - Livia too

Next Month: Alan Stalker, heading to Balerno, Currie and the Gyle (probably).

Monday, 3 February 2014

February ride this coming Saturday

Our next ride will be this coming Saturday (8th Feb). Livia will be leading us on an interesting tour round the southern outskirts of the city, with a lunch stop at the Mortonhall Garden Centre café (soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and light meals available).

From what I've seen of the route, it should be a very pleasant run, with some fine views. Apart from just a couple of short sections on rough tracks, we'll be on good surfaces most of the time. We won't be able to avoid hills, but these will be fairly easy - certainly no killers this time. The total distance will be about 19 miles.

As always, we'll set out at 10.30 from the top of Middle Meadow Walk. You don't need to tell us in advance if you are planning to come. Just turn up on the day.

Two groups

You probably know that we're now getting very high turnouts on most of our rides. This is good, but it can cause difficulties for the ride leaders. To help keep things manageable, we now plan to split a ride into two groups whenever the leader thinks it necessary.

So, at the start of the ride, you might be asked to decide whether you want to go with the first or the second group. The first group will cycle slightly faster, perhaps with slightly shorter breaks. The second, slightly slower, group will leave about five minutes later. Note that there won't be a great difference in the speed of the two groups. The aim is simply to keep them separated.

Both groups will follow roughly the same route, and will meet up at the lunch venue. You will be free to switch groups for the afternoon leg if you wish.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this arrangement. We plan to try it on the next couple of rides (depending on the turnout), and to review the arrangements after that.

What to bring

This week's ride should end well before dark, which is currently about 5 p.m. So you probably won't need lights, although it might be prudent to bring them anyway, especially if you live some distance from the end point.

However, I do suggest that you bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. This can save a lot of time if a puncture strikes. If you're not sure what size tube fits your wheels, your local bike shop will be happy to advise. If you don't know what to do with the tube, don't worry: many members of our group have had experience in dealing with punctures (unfortunately), and will do their best to help if needed. 

That's all for now. I hope we'll be seeing you on Saturday. Meantime, happy pedalling.