EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Same place, different route


Until we arrived at the start of today's ride, only the leader knew where we were heading. There were a few raised eybrows amongst the regulars when it was announced we would be heading to South Queensferry. We were last there in August; but on that ocassion we took a circuitous route with quite a few unfamiliar sections. All credit to today's leader for managing to do the same without any duplication of August's unfamiliar sections.

The day dawned bright and sunny with no more than a light breeze and stayed like that for the whole day. It wasn't hot, but was pleasantly comfortable for mid-October. The good weather obviously helped to swell the numbers. The leader gave the customary briefing to the 22 assembled riders. By the time the briefing was over and we were ready to roll away, there were 26 of us. We were soon at the Leamington Bridge. A very short stretch beside the canal, Fountain Park, The Telfer Subway, Russell Road and into Roseburn Park - all very familiar. Through Balgreen and on to the path that took us behind the Forestry Commission HQ on Corstorphine Road. From there the back streets of Carrick Knowe and Broomhouse took us to the Gyle Shopping Centre. It was good to leave the busy car park behind and head through the much quieter Edinburgh Park. We nipped through the subway beneath the City Bypass (often referred to as "the smelly bridge") to be faced with a slightly muddy climb to reach the road; that explains why we usually go down that way. Gogar Station Road then took us to the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ. Up and over the RBS bridge and we were riding alongside the busy A8 where we made better progress than the traffic on the road. Leaving the A8 at the Maybury juction, we rode past the casino and alongside Maybury Road before turning off down the much less busy Cammo Walk. A few twists and turns through back streets, across the busy Queensferry Road and a sweetie stop at Cramond Brig. Under the subway and the path took us to Burnshot Junction. Along the road, a right turn and we climbed up to Dalmeny village. Through some decidedly unfamiliar back streets of South Queensferry and we arrived in the centre of town for our lunch stop.

As the riders had spread themselves around various cafes and the picnic spot in the town, the decision was made to meet at the Co-Op. At the agreed departure time, the leader got a call from one of a group of five regulars to say they had taken a long time getting served and were still eating at the far side of town. It was decided the main group should set off and the others would either catch us or make their own way back. Unfortunately, one of the missing group was the back marker, so that mantle was passed to another rider. The new back marker committed the cardinal sin of mentioning the "p" word during a ride. Sure enough, as we entered the Dalmeny estate, up went the shout, "puncture!" There was no shortage of helping hands and equipment in the form of various pumps and gas canisters. The puncture was soon fixed. The delay had allowed the missing five to catch up; so we headed into the estate as a complete group again.
Through the estate which was looking beautiful in the sunshine, up a stiff little climb and down a lovely descent and we were back at Cramond Brig. A brief halt (as is the custom) on the bridge before heading back to town. There were no further delays and the route was the usual one back through Barnton to Craigleith, down the Roseburn Path to the Russell Road zig-zags. Here the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Bill for leading us on an interestingly different route to South Queensferry. It just goes to show that with a little forethought and planning, going to a familiar place can still be interesting. As the saying goes, "getting there is half the fun".

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








Tuesday, 8 October 2019

October ride this coming Saturday


 Our next ride will take place this coming Saturday (12th). I don't yet have any details of the route or destination; all will be revealed at the start. As always we'll meet at 10.30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride is free and open to all, with no advance booking.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

The summer's final hurrah


The last 20 Milers Extra of the year signals the end of summer. Having a large turnout, lovely weather and a new route and destination enabled us to go out on a high. We headed out into a delightful, quiet and unexplored part of Midlothian with a lunch stop in Pathhead. Deserted country lanes, open countryside devoid of other people and the crossing of a shallow ford made for a great ride.

The weather forecast for today had been changing all week. At first it looked as if it would be dry, then light rain looked imminent. By last night, we were expecting a dry but cool day with overcast skies. That didn't sound too bad for late September. What we eventually got was a dry day with a light breeze, a comfortable temperature and sun shining down from a blue sky containing just a few fluffy white clouds. That doubtlessly helped muster the 26 riders that turned up to start from Fisherrow Harbour. The leader gave the cutomary briefing insisting that everyone would walk across the ford. Why? Because on the recce he had crashed heavily whilst crossing it and was very lucky to escape with nothing more than cuts and severe bruising. A good reason why we do recces and a good example of what a leader will do to ensure everyone's safety on the day. A willingness to "take one" for the group!. We're not sure if 26 is a record Extra turnout, but it's definitely close. The leader decided not to split into two groups, and that worked out OK. We made our way to the path for Whitecraig meadering through backstreets that were unfamiliar to most. From Whitecraig we joined the cycle path towards Dalkeith, turning off and climbing past the farm at Smeaton. More climbing followed as we headed towards Cousland and turned right on the A6124 towards the A68. With the climbing over [for now], we paused for a sweetie stop and to regroup. A glorious downhill followed to Fordel Dean before joining the A6093, which was far busier than usual. It was good to leave that road behind and follow a much quieter one to the sawmill at Windy Mains. Waiting to regroup, there was no doubt how the place had got its name. We were now on a lovely quiet lane heading towards the ford at Costerton, with a real sense of being out in the sticks.
Arriving at the beautiful little ford, the leader stopped and led the group over the footbridge alongside. A few opted to walk through and a couple of riders just had to ride across - fortunately without incident. The leader allowed himself a wry smile at the thought of those riding slowly and carefully across compared to when he had approached at a fair pace on the racing line, only to have his front wheel slide from under him on the slippery surface. As the others headed away from the ford, he paused for a couple of minutes alone to exorcise the associated demons before pedalling after them. We were soon at the busy A68. Fortunately, we only had to travel 200 yards along it before turning off onto the much quieter B6458. With the sun shining down from a clear blue sky, no sign of human habitation and fields full of sheep - this was idyllic. More quiet roads took us from Tynehead to Crichton and back to the busy A68 at Pathhead. Rather than try and turn right onto such a busy road, we wheeled our bikes up the pavement to "The Foresters" pub for lunch. The food was good and we were all impressed with how they dealt with such a large group of hungry cyclists arriving unannounced.

With everyone fed, we headed off leaving the busy A68 behind. Past the impressive gates leading to Preston Hall, we turned left and headed towards the A6093 that we had headed out on in the morning. This time, a quick left and right and we were on another of those delightful quiet lanes that characterised today's ride. Some more climbing and we were in the village of Cousland. We dropped down to join the A6124 which took us to Whitecraig and onto the River Esk Path. At the bridge across the river, the leader declared the ride over. Part of the group headed over the bridge and onwards to Edinburgh, whilst the remainder headed down to Luca's in Musselburgh for ice cream.

It's always good to hear people say how much they have enjoyed a ride, and plenty said that today. Somewhere new for most, lovely quiet roads, a real sense of being out in the sticks, wonderful scenery and great weather - a fitting finale to this year's series of Extra rides. They will start again in May next year. But of course, the usual 20 Milers rides will continue throughout the year - all welcome, free and no need to book.


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


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Last Extra of 2019 this coming Saturday


We've got time to squeeze one more Extra ride into our programme before autumn sets in. This Saturday (28th), Glenn will be leading us on what promises to be an attractive circuit of the eastern fringes of Midlothian. Most of the route will be on quiet roads, taking in some pleasant villages. The route will be similar to one that Glenn led two years ago but with the direction reversed.

For this ride, we will meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, in time for a 10:30 departure. As you know, our Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. This one will be about 30 miles from Fisherrow back to Fisherrow (and Fisherrow is about six further miles from central Edinburgh). I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but it's likely to be around 4 pm.

The route will involve a bit of climbing, but no particularly nasty hills. One interesting feature will be the need to ford a river - more about that when we get there.

For lunch, we will stop at a pub in Pathhead - or bring a packed lunch if you prefer. Most of the mileage will be in the morning, so lunch will be on the late side. You might want to bring an extra snack to keep the hunger pangs away.

Remember, all our rides are "just turn up". There is no advance booking, and no need to reply to this post.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Our [almost] forgotten 15th anniversary


Today's ride started out with nothing to set it apart from any other of our rides. But a chance comment led us to realise it was in effect the ride to mark the 15th anniversary of the 20 Milers. As the comment wasn't made until we were a few miles into the ride, no mention of the anniversary was made at the briefing. The leader took us on a somewhat meandering route to Heriot Watt University at Riccarton. It stayed dry all day, and whilst it was not particularly cold, it was quite windy. We made our way out into a noticeable headwind, but a tail wind meant we were almost blown back to town. Another notable thing from today's ride being a new backmarker stepped into the breech and did a splendid job.

A cool and windy morning saw 23 riders assemble at the start. That's always a good number as we can get away with one group, thus avoiding the logistics of having to split into two. After the customary briefing, we rolled away to join the canal at Leamington Bridge via Bruntsfield Links. We stayed on the canal as far as Ashley Terrace where the group got split and delayed by temporary traffic lights. We regrouped and made our way through the back streets of Merchiston and past the George Watson's College sports ground on our way to Greenbank. Along the quiet roads of the housing estate near Redford Barracks and we emerged onto the busy Redford Road. Mike was talking to the writer when it dawned on him that the group had begun in September 2004 (the exact date is lost in the mists of time), thus making it 15 years to the month since the first ride. So in effect, we were on the 15th anniversary ride. Onwards through the back streets of Colinton and we arrived in Bonaly where we stopped as the leader passed sweeties round. From there we took the Water of Leith walkway as far as Riccarton. We took the back way into the Heriot Watt campus off Curriehill Road and got a shock as we arrived in the large cafeteria. Usually there are about half a dozen other customers and we would get served quickly. Not today. The university was having an open day and the cafeteria was heaving.

Whilst lunch took slightly longer than usual, everyone got fed and soon it was time to begin our journey back to town. Within minutes of setting out we had lost the leader. He had made a right turn which the following rider had missed and everyone else had followed. We were soon back on the right track concluding that the confusion had been caused by the appearance of a brand new building that wasn't there last time. All back together, we left the campus behind and crossed the busy Calder Road. Via Hermiston House Road, Gogarbank, Gogar Station Road and the subway we arrived at Edinburgh Park. We followed the tram line through Broomhouse and Stenhouse, leaving it at the Jenners Depository to make our way to Murrayfield Stadium. From there we made our way back to Leamington Bridge via Roseburn Park, Russell Road, Dalry Road, the Telfer Subway and Fountainbridge. The familiar route took us back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride over. As we rode through the Meadows a man came towards us on a mountain bike being pulled along by two Husky dogs. Needless to say, he barely needed to pedal. A number of us thought what a good idea for our next ride, especially for steep hills.

Thanks to Neil for leading us to a familiar location by an unfamiliar route. Sometimes a little fore thought and planning is all it takes to mix things up and make an old ride seem like a new one. We may do twelve rides a year and have been doing them for fifteen years, but we are far from running out of places to go or interesting ways of getting to them. Last but by no means least, thanks to Yaz for doing a great job of back marking on her first time in the role. Well done. Next step will see her leading a ride.

Leader: Neil
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Our next ride


Our September ride takes place this coming Saturday (14th). We'll be heading out to the south west of the city, taking in Colinton, Currie and Balerno. The total distance will be about 20 miles, with just a little moderate climbing - nothing too strenuous. Neil will be our leader.

We'll stop for lunch at the Heriot-Watt campus in Riccarton. This has a spacious cafeteria which offers a good selection of sandwiches and snacks, usually including at least one hot dish. There is also plenty of room there for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.

We'll set out at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride should finish around mid-afternoon.


Please keep in mind that, as with all our rides, the above information should be regarded as provisional. The meeting time and place are fixed, but we always reserve the right to vary the route and destination, depending on conditions on the day.

Another ride

In addition to the above ride, Glenn will be leading our final Extra of the summer on the 28th of this month. I'll post more details of that event as they become available.

And finally ....

May I remind you to bring a spare inner tube on all our rides if at all possible. We can't guarantee that you won't get a puncture, but by carrying a spare tube you make it a lot easier to get back on the road if the unavoidable happens. Check with your favourite bike shop if you don't know what size or type of tube is right for your bike. And don't worry if you don't know how to change the tube; if a puncture strikes, there are usually willing hands available to help.

That's all for now. As I write this, the forecast for Saturday is for a warm and dry day, so we can look forward to another excellent day's cycling.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

To Humbie Hub without a scribe


Unfortunately, neither of the group's scribes were able to make today's ride to Humbie. Mike wasn't well and Glenn was recovering from a heavy crash on a recce ride the previous week. Apologies for no report. But by way of compensation, here are a few more photos than usual courtesy of Verity.

Apparently it was a great ride and everyone to enjoyed it.

Normal service should hopefully resume in time for next week's 20 Milers ride.









Leader: Peter
Photos: Verity
Map trace: Jim