Friday, 24 June 2016
For the fourth year running, we were granted a beautiful sunny evening for our summer solstice ride. A dozen of us set out from the Meadows yesterday evening at 7 pm, with Jim as our guide. We were treated to an eclectic tour of the city, taking in the Astley Ainsley, Craiglockhart Park, the Union Canal, the Leamington Basin and the EICC. After crossing Lothian Road, we enjoyed a fast run down the Grassmarket and Cowgate to Holyrood, where we stopped to peer through the gates of the palace (nobody appeared to be at home).
Next, we headed up Calton Road, then climbed a steep footpath to Regent Road for two more sightseeing stops: the Burns Monument (originally this was just a statue of the poet; the monument was built later with money left over) and the Stones of Scotland (created in 2002 to mark the rebirth of the Scottish parliament).
Then came the high point of the evening (literally and figuratively): the climb to the summit of Calton Hill. Here we enjoyed a superb view over the city to the Firth and Forth, the Lomond Hills and beyond. Although it was now after 9 pm, the temperature was still around 20C, with the sun shining brightly.
At this point, the group split into two. The main body headed to Restalrig, Leith Links, Portobello and the Innocent Path. Meanwhile, the early-to-bedders descended to Waterloo Place and North Bridge, and so back to the Meadows.
Report and photos: Mike
Map: To follow
Sunday, 19 June 2016
|Our 2015 summer solstice evening ride on Calton Hill|
Thursday 23rd June: Evening ride
This will be a sociable ride, taken at our usual easy pace, with a couple of sightseeing stops along the way. We are very close to the summer solstice, so the ride should be mostly in daylight (sunset is at 22.04). We'll plan to end the ride soon after 22.00, but there will be the option of an earlier finish for those who prefer a shorter run. In any case, be sure to bring lights.
We'll meet at our usual departure point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, ready to set out at 19.00. Note that there will be no refreshment stop en route.
Saturday 25th June: 20-Milers Extra
For our second Extra this summer, Glenn will be leading us on what looks like a very attractive route into East Lothian. Our lunch stop will be in Haddington, where we have the option of a riverside picnic (bring your own food or aim to pick up a sandwich in the town) or a pub lunch.
Remember, our Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. This one will be 38 - 40 miles, with two particularly steep climbs. It should be do-able by anyone who finds our normal rides well within their capabilities. But if you haven't cycled for a while, or have doubts about your fitness, please think carefully before joining this ride.
The ride will start and end in Musselburgh. We'll meet at Fisherrow Harbour (NT 334730), ready to set out at 10.30 sharp. Fisherrow is about six miles from central Edinburgh, so you will need to factor in that extra mileage when deciding whether to do this run.
As with all our rides, you don't need book in advance or let anyone know whether you are coming. Just turn up on the day.
Our next "second Saturday" ride will be on 9th July. This is likely to be a picnic in the Pentland Hills, but I'll confirm that nearer the time. We've also pencilled in a couple more Extras for later in the summer; more details in due course.
Saturday, 11 June 2016
For the June 20 Milers ride our destination was South Queensferry. We probably find ourselves there several times a year; whether that is our final destination, or we're simply passing through on our way across the bridge. To keep it interesting, the leader took us there by a decidely less familiar route that took us past the airport. A turnout of 20 riders was slightly disappointing for this time of year. This probably had something to do with the weather. After a glorious week of weather, the return of cool and overcast conditions, with showers forecast probably put a few off. Fortunately, the showers stayed away. But it was hardly a typical June day. We managed to avoid getting in the way of a running race as we left the Meadows and made our way to Bruntsfield Links. Instead of taking the familiar route down to the canal, we headed along Bruntsfield Place before turning right into Merchiston Crescent. From the quiet back roads of Merchiston, we crossed the canal and made our way to Slateford Road. We followed this busy road past the Water of Leith visitor centre and onto Lanark Road, before turning off and picking up the cycle track beside the canal. Leaving the canal behind, quiet roads led us to the busy A8. The cycle path beside the A8 took us past the airport entrance and on towards the footbridge at Ratho Station. Steps on the bridge meant we had to dismount to get across. Once across, we were back on the cycle path and headed towards the Newbridge roundabout. Here we took the lovely cycle path through the trees leaving the busy roads behind. It was on this stretch that one of the group skidded on gravel and fell. Fortunately, the result was no worse than a grazed knee and we were able to continue. Leaving the path, we rode a very short distance on a quiet road before joining another cycle path near the village of Dalmeny. This took us to the Co-op in South Queensferry. From there, a quick whizz down the hill and we were heading into the centre of town for our lunch stop. Most of the group either had or bought sandwiches to eat on the steps overlooking the bridges. The cool wind blowing off the Forth made it less than ideal picnic weather. A canny few rode slightly further and had lunch in the cafe at Port Edgar sailing club, out of the wind.
The less direct outward route meant that the run back would be considerably shorter and quicker. As it was now getting quite cool, no one seemed to mind. We rode through the town, past Hawes Pier and onto the cycle path that took us through the Dalmeny Estate. Often, we'll pause on our way through the estate to enjoy the scenery. The cool wind meant we didn't on this occasion. We left the estate and made our way onto the bridge over the River Almond at Cramond Brig. Being somewhat sheltered, we paused as sweeties were passed round. From there, the familiar run through Barnton and on to the cycle path led us back to Craigleith. Once there, the leader declared the ride officially over. Some riders headed home, whilst others went and enjoyed a post-ride coffee - not surprisingly, inside! Thanks to David for leading us on an interesting and less well-known route to a familiar destination.
Map trace: Jim
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
11th June: Standard monthly ride
Our main ride this month will be to South Queensferry, but by a somewhat devious route. It will be a slightly longer ride than usual (about 24 miles in all), but with no particular difficulties. The route will include a mixture of well-surfaced paths, quiet roads, and some short stretches on busier roads. But there won't be any very steep hills - just a few gentle ones.
There is no single eating place in South Queensferry that will hold us all, so we'll split up for lunch between the various cafés there. Be warned that service at some of the cafés can be slow. If you want to avoid a long wait, consider bringing a picnic lunch. There is a very good picnic spot overlooking the harbour.
As always, we'll leave from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30.
11th June: St Andrews ride
The above ride coincides with the annual St Andrews run, in aid of Lepra. If our own ride is not challenging enough for you, you might like to take part in the St Andrews ride instead. It's 68 miles, with at least three killer hills, but you can cycle at your own pace, and there is a friendly atmosphere along the route. There are full details here. A few of our regular riders usually do this ride, so if you fancy some company, look out for them at the start point.
23rd June: Evening ride
Once again, we will be having an evening ride this year to mark the summer solstice (approximately). We'll leave from our usual spot on Middle Meadow Walk at 19.00, with the ride lasting 2½ to 3 hours. I'll post more details nearer the time.
25th June: Extra to Haddington
Our second Extra this summer will take us into East Lothian, with a lunch stop in Haddington. These Extra rides are a bit longer and a bit faster than our usual runs, but with the same sociable atmosphere. I don't have any details yet of the route, so for now just note the date.
More evening rides
If you like the idea of a bike ride during our long summer evenings, you might like to know that one of our members, Jim Cameron, has planned a programme of short rides for most (not all) Thursday evening until the end of August. Like our "official" 20-Milers events, these runs are free and open to all. They usually start at 19.00 from the King George V Park in Canonmills. Further information here.
Thursday, 26 May 2016
What we got was thick cloud, steady drizzle and a decidedly chilly breeze. Silly me.
Never mind. Bad weather never stopped the 20-Milers, and I was pleased to see a horde of three cyclists descending on our meeting point. We made our way down the Royal Mile, into Holyrood Park, along Croft-an-Righ, then in a loop up to St. Margaret's Loch and along Queen's Drive.
As we passed Our Dynamic Earth, we spotted a warm, welcoming pub. Now you might think that would be the end of the ride. Well, it was.
Leader, report and photo: Mike
Sunday, 22 May 2016
For the third annual 20 Milers weekend away, we headed east to Dunbar; the town that claims to be one of the sunniest in
having been a shortage of sunshine so far this year, and a firmly held belief
that the weather god's owed us big time after our wind-battered weekend to
Peebles last year; many of us had been following the weather forecast with
trepidation in the preceding days. Even in our wildest dreams, we could not
have expected the weather to be as kind as it ended up being. That, linked with
beautiful scenery, quiet Scotland East Lothian roads
and good company made for a very successful weekend.
Some of the group decided to picnic outside the church (another white one), whilst the remainder went for lunch in one of Gifford's two pubs. Whilst waiting for those in the pub to finish, some of the picnickers went for a coffee in a cycle-friendly cafe that had opened for business that very morning. Definitely one to check out if you're ever in the area. We regrouped and prepared for the off. A wedding party tried to hurry us up as they didn't want us in the background of their wedding photos. We couldn't understand why that would be a problem.
placated the ushers with Jelly Babies before we headed off. We never did get to
see the bride. Why oh why does there so often have to be a steep climb staright
after lunch? Instead of a nice flat bit of road to get back into the rhythm, we
climbed steeply leaving Gifford behind. We turned off and headed towards
Stenton on an almost deserted undulating road. Here we had to stop for what
looked like being the day's first puncture. Fortunately, the tyre was pumped
up, we were back on our way and it lasted all the way to Logan Dunbar.
We then took a detour to visit the beautiful .
It was well worth the detour as very few of the group had ever been there. We
stopped beside the play park. Someone spotted a flying fox ride. Yes, you've
guessed it, several members of the group just had to have a go. village of Garvald
We were glad of the cycle / foot path beside the busy A199, just north of the even busier A1 dual carriageway. This took us to the A198 towards
Following hearty breakfasts, no one felt ready for lunch. So we sat outside a pub and partook in coffee and ice creams instead.
So that was another 20 Milers weekend away ride over. We had been blessed with glorious weather. Not a drop of rain fell on us. The beautiful
East Lothian scenery had looked even
better bathed in bright sun light. Yes, some of the climbs had been a bit
challenging. But we had a great weekend that was enjoyed by all. Hopefully,
those present will be talking about it for months to come. It will be
remembered for very different reasons to last year’s brutal ride to Peebles.
Now to start thinking about next year.
Leader: GlennReport: Glenn
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim
Saturday, 14 May 2016
For today's ride we headed out to Craigie Farm by a somewhat less familiar route. Bright and sunny weather at the start was most welcome and must have influenced the fact that 38 riders turned up. This was the biggest turn out so far this year. Good to see a smattering of new faces and the welcome return of one of the group's stalwarts; who had been out of action for quite a few months. We had almost forgotten what it was like to split into two groups. A slight moment of panic set in when it was realised that only the leader and one other had been on the recce. Panic over. We had a leader and a second group leader, and two back markers were nominated and given a quick briefing of the route. One of the regulars realised they had a puncture just as we were preparing to leave. As ever, there were plenty offers of help. So that rider became a second group member by default. The first group set off. Puncture fixed, the second group rolled away from the start a few minutes later. We left the Meadows and headed to Leamington Bridge and the canal via Bruntsfield Links. After a very short stretch beside the canal, we headed to Fountain Park and down the Telfer subway, through Gorgie and up the zig-zags to join the Roseburn path to Craigleith. We joined the Telford path and made our way to Granton. We paused briefly beside the Granton gasometer. Even that managed to look impressive in the sunshine and it was beginning to get pleasently warm. We made our way along the busy Silverknowes Esplanade, stopping for a comfort break and ice creams at Cramond. Standing in the warm sun and looking out to Cramond Island, there was a slightly surreal moment when one of the group handed out Christmas cake. It seemed a bit strange, but the cake was lovely and greatly appreciated. The first group probably lingered longer than they realised. The second group had caught them up. This was their cue to mount up and head off. We passed the harbour and headed up the steep School Brae. Most of our rides see us whizzing down this road, so it came as something of a shock to have to climb up it. From there we headed along Whitehouse Road, turned right at the crossing and headed down to Cramond Brig before joining the path beside the A90. We carried on and made the right turn for the steep climb that took us up to Craigie Farm and our lunch stop, where the group spread out to enjoy alfresco dining.
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim