EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

You are welcome to join our easy-paced bike rides. Click here for all the information you need.

Pages

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


Monday, 2 September 2019

Three rides for September


We've got three rides planned for the coming month. Here are some details:

Saturday 7th September

This coming Saturday, Peter (Bennett) will be leading our fourth Extra of the summer. We'll be heading to a spot we have never visited before as a group: the delightful village of Humbie in East Lothian.

As you know, these Extra rides are longer than our standard runs and go at a slightly faster pace. Please keep that in mind if you haven't cycled for a while or are concerned about your fitness level. But for those of you who find out normal pace well within your capabilities, this ride should present no difficulties.

The ride will start earlier than usual, at 10:00. And we'll start from Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, not Middle Meadow Walk. The total distance from Fisherrow back to Fisherrow will be about 34 miles. If you are coming from central Edinburgh, you will need to add about six miles each way to that figure.

Most of the route will be on country roads with very little traffic. There will be some moderate climbing in the morning, followed by some nice downhill cruising on the return leg.

Our lunch stop will be at the Humbie Hub. This is a pleasant little café, serving soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and the like. It also has a small garden for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.


Saturday 14th September

Our standard "second Saturday" run this month will be a gentle ride in and around Colinton and Currie and on the Water of Leith path, with a lunch stop at the Heriot-Watt campus in Riccarton. Neil will be in charge. I'll post full details here next week.

Saturday 28th September

For our final Extra of the summer. Glenn will be conducting us into Midlothian, with a lunch stop at Pathhead. There will be some moderate hills as well as a short stretch on a busy main road, but most of the route will be on quiet lanes threading through some delightful (and less familiar) countryside. Again, expect more details nearer the time.

As always, these rides are all free and open to everyone, with no advance booking needed.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

A grand day out


Four weeks ago the recce for this ride was postponed due to heavy rain. What a difference a month makes! Today we were blessed with one of the best days of the year - bright sun shining down from a cloudless sky, lovely and warm with only the most gentle of breezes. A grand day to head out into East Lothian.

A turnout of nineteen riders was good, without there being so many as to need to split into two groups. Along with the diehards of the group, there were a few new faces and several riders that look set to become the new regulars. Today's ride out to the Merryhatton Garden Centre near East Fortune has become a regular fixture for late August in our Extra runs calendar. A stalwart of the group for a number of years, Logan Strang instigated the ride. He cheerfully admitted one thing he liked about it was there were hardly any hills on the route. In addition, it heads out through some beautiful East Lothian countryside and the lunch stop is very pleasant. This is the third time that this ride has run since Logan's passing, and has become something of an unofficial memorial ride to our sorely missed friend. Today's leader/writer/photographer has led all three and still feels more of a caretaker for Logan's ride rather than the true leader. Following the customary briefing, we left Fisherrow Harbour and made our way to the footbridge that would take us across the River Esk. At this stage it was pleasantly warm, but slightly overcast. Usually we would avoid the main road and take the track behind the racecourse. For a change, we took the main road down to the racecourse roundabout and joined the coast road. It is not the quietest road, but we would have had to join it further along anyway.

We used our newly developed plan for getting a group safely along main roads. Groups of five riders would be set off at 15 second intervals to make it safer for riders and other traffic. Thanks to Verity [who wasn't on today's ride} for coming up with the plan, and thanks to Alan for acting as main road monitor. We stayed on the main road as far as Cockenzie, where we turned off and quieter roads took us past Cockenzie and Port Seton harbours. A comfort and sweetie stop in Port Seton before joining the main road again. Beyond Gosford House the leader stopped and gave the riders two options; stay on the main road to Aberlady or take the unsurfaced path that ran alongside it. The split was probably half and half. We regrouped and left the main road at Aberlady. Quiet back roads allowed us to ride in one large group again. It was now warm and sunny and the East Lothian countryside looked beautiful. A short stretch of main road followed. We left that behind at Drem railway station. From there, minor roads took us on to our lunch stop at Merryhatton. We enjoyed a nice lunch in the conservatory, but it felt hotter in there than outside!

With everyone fed and watered, we headed off on the homeward leg. Past the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune and into the lovely village of Athalstaneford - which lays claim to being the birth place of Scotland's flag. We paused by the church where an interpretation panel tells the story of the flag. Education over, we headed out of the village towards the Haddington road. There always seems to be a headwind on that stretch of road. Today was no exception; but it was more of a gentle breeze and its slight cooling effect was most welcome. We crossed the road for Haddington and took the quiet minor road which skirts the Hopetoun monument. A short stretch on the A6137 followed. This was our only real climb of the day. Deserted minor roads would follow and soon we were speeding down a glorious steep hill. Coming so soon after a climb, smiles and comments confirmed how much it had been enjoyed. We continued until a barrier and red flashing lights brought us to a halt. Yes, we were at the level crossing near Longniddry. Once the train had passed and the barriers went up, we crossed the dual carriageway and took the path and road to Seton East, where another lovely hill took us down to the coast at Port Seton. The same back roads from the morning took us past the two harbours, before joining the main road back as far as Prestonpans. There we joined the coast path, which via the Lagoons and sea wall took us back to Goose Green in Musselburgh. Back across the footbridge and the leader declared the ride officially over.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. Great weather, the lovely East Lothian countryside, not many hills and good company - cycling at its best. Thanks to Logan for leaving us this ride - a fitting legacy to our friend. As an additional link to Logan, the leader led today's ride on his road bike (first time on a group ride) which runs on a set of Logan's wheels.


Leader: Glenn
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn

Monday, 19 August 2019

Extra to Merryhatton this coming Saturday


We've got the third of our Extra rides this coming Saturday (24th). Glenn will once again be leading us into the East Lothian countryside. The total distance will be 45 - 50 miles, mainly on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, but with a couple of short stretches on main roads that might be busy with traffic. There will be a few hills, but no killers.

Remember, these Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. We maintain a slightly higher average speed, but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation. Most of our riders find the pace comfortable, but if you haven't cycled for a while or are concerned about your fitness level, you may prefer to give this ride a miss.

Lunch venue

Our lunch stop will at the Merryhatton Garden Centre, where there is an above-average café serving a good range of light lunches (soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes, etc.) as well as more substantial meals. As always, you have the option of bringing food for a picnic lunch if you prefer.

Time and place

The ride will start from Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, which is about six miles from central Edinburgh. Please aim to get there in time for a 10:30 departure. There are toilets available at the start point. I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but it is likely to be after 4 pm.

As with all our rides, this one is free and open to all, with no advance bookings.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Are you sure this is the right way?



Earlier in the week the forecast was promising a day of thundery showers. By this morning it sounded somewhat better - a mixture of showers and light rain with thundery showers arriving after five o'clock. In the end, our ride to South Queensferry was blessed with warm sunshine, not a drop of rain and everyone was safely home by the time the thundery downpour did eventually arrive. We have a ride to South Queensferry every year, so there is always the risk of it becoming rather familiar and lacking in interest. Not this time; the leader did us proud by picking a route that none of us had taken before. We even got tangled up with a parade.

Despite the forecast, a turnout of 18 riders was quite good, with the added bonus that we didn't need to split into two groups. Good to see some new faces in the mix. The first part of the route was familiar until we arrived at Bruntsfield Place where we turned left and joined the main road. Those not paying attention almost went over the crossing and down to the canal. Instead, we meandered through the less familiar back streets of Bruntsfield, Merchiston and Polworth before arriving in Roseburn Park. More quiet paths and we emerged at the busy Glasgow Road. There was a little confusion as the leader had told us we would be crossing the road beside the Jaguar garage - which is now a Volvo garage. We left the busy road behind and threaded through more quiet back streets before emerging at the busy Queensferry Road. Across that and a quick whizz down Whitehouse Road, where we turned off and headed down to Cramond Bridge for the obligatory stop whilst cake and sweets were passed round. It was now warm and sunny. Heading out in the morning everyone was so busy ensuring they had got their waterproofs that no one had given a second thought to sun cream. We then took the path beside the road towards Burnshot Bridge. On arriving at the cattle grid at the entrance to the Dalmeny estate, we surprisingly went in rather than riding past and heading towards Dalmeny village. A cyclist coming out warned us to look out for a large highland cow standing in the middle of the road. Pre-warned, we were able to slow down and give the cow a wide berth. We rode through the estate and came into South Queensferry beneath the majestic Forth Rail Bridge. As we headed into town we came to a barrier and a "road closed" sign. It turned out to be the day of the Ferry Fair Festival parade. One of the stewards said we could head along the road so long as we dismounted and hurried up so as not to get tangled up in the parade. We made it to the centre of town and riders headed off in various directions in search of lunch. We'd never seen the place so busy.

After lunch, we had a short walk wheeling our bikes to reach the end of the high street. From there it was up the hill, through the Co-op car park and we were on the path to Dalmeny village. We then took the familiar route back towards Cramond Bridge. Re-grouping at Burnshot Bridge, we were joined by a rather muddy French mountain biker who asked the best way back to Portobello. It appears he had got lost near Craigie's Farm and ended up riding across a potato field. We told him we were heading in the direction he needed to go, so he rode with us for a short while. He soon left us to go and seek out a jet wash for his bike and himself. We held with tradition and paused briefly on Cramond Bridge. From there it was onwards through Barnton with an easy crossing of Cramond Road South courtesy of temporary traffic lights. We had never before experienced such an easy crossing. Through Silverknowes and the Blackhall path took us to Craigleith. From there, the familiar route of the Roseburn path, Russell Road, Telfer subway and the canal took us back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride over.

Thanks to Alan for leading an enjoyable ride. It just goes to show that with a little thought and imagination, what looks set to be a somewhat predictable and familiar ride can easily become something more interesting. Thanks also to the weather for being on our side. None of us expected to stay dry all day and be concerned about forgetting to apply sun cream.

Leader: Alan
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: None available