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Saturday, 27 December 2008

Saturday 10th January

Today's ride will explore bike paths in the north and east of the city.

10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place).
Cost and booking:
Free; just turn up.
Further information:
Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Livia Dyckhoff (0131 554 0577), or email 20milers@gmail.com; see also the 20-Milers Blog.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Mud and punctures

We're normally not particularly bothered by punctures on 20-milers rides. Every now and again someone gets a puncture; we stop and have a look at the view for 20 mins or so while it's fixed and then we get on our way again. Quite often the punctures happen in pretty, quiet spots with a nice bit of sunshine. So it's no hardship really.

Yesterday's ride was a bit more of a challenge though!

Eight of us headed off to Balerno, via the Union Canal then the Water of Leith (the path was very muddy - my white bike ended up brown!) and up to Balerno before lunch at the Riccarton Garden Centre (where we had a very nice lunch in a warm conservatory and tried not to get mud everywhere). On our way back it all went a bit wrong though. We went through the Heriot Watt campus, then out onto the footpath beside the A71 coming back into town, and somewhere along there we all went through a thorny patch (we think that someone must have cut back a blackthorn hedge) and within minutes, 5 out of the 8 of us had punctures. I had at least 7 in my two tyres - other people had similar numbers. As you can imagine this put a severe strain on our spare tube / puncture repair kits and it took rather a long time to get the group under way again. By this point it was dark so everyone was glad to have brought their bike lights. Within 100m however I got another puncture so at that point I gave up and let the rest of the group head on without me. I spotted a number 25 bus which would take me home (from the Park & Ride) so I Parked my bike with good locks on it and Rode home - to pick the bike up later by car. There will be stories to tell at Chris' party today!

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Thursday, 20 November 2008

December's Ride: Saturday 13th

Our ride this month will be a nice easy run out to Balerno, returning by way of Riccarton. With the winter weather and short daylight hours in mind, this will be a slighly shorter ride than usual. Lunch will be at an indoor cafe, with the usual option of a picnic for those who prefer. Veronica Gallagher, who will be leading the ride, is planning to get us back to town around dusk, and so strongly advises us to bring lights.

Caveat cyclist
This month's route is a change to our original plan, which was to visit Dalkeith Country Park. This is because the park is now closed for the winter. Please keep in mind that, in general, any route or destination that we announce in advance is for guidance only, and is not written in stone. There's always a possibility that a ride will be changed or curtailed, at the leader's discretion, depending on the weather, the number of people who turn up, and other factors. For that reason, we ask all riders to meet at the start point rather than try to pick up the ride at some point along the way.
We'll aim to visit Dalkeith Country Park in the spring.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Saturday, 8 November 2008

November's Ride Report

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Our ride today was all within the city limits. Sometimes we aim to do a route to a place, like next month's planned route to Dalkeith Country Park, or September's trip to the Cousland Smiddy, while other times it's good just to get out and investigate different paths around the city. Today we generally avoided the "main bike routes" out of town and discovered some interesting paths in the North of the city. We had lunch at the newly-opened Morrison's supermarket in Pilton, and made our way back along the Forth and through Leith and Lochend.

Mike Lewis was cameraman today so I'll post a link to the photos when they're available, or check the "20-milers on Flickr" link to the right.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

20 miles without pedalling

20 miles without pedalling

Pictured are Dr Chris Oliver and Jo Hilton, regular 20 milers. Chris & Jo went to Bhutan in the Himalayas for a kayaking, rafting, trekking and Mountain biking holiday this October 2008. They were driven for two hours to the top of the Chelela Pass outside Paro, Bhutan.

The descent was for 36Km (20miles) from the top of the spectacular Chelela pass at 3988 metres to the valley floor at about 1900metres. For the entire descent of twenty miles, which took just over an hour no pedalling at all was required!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

November's ride

November - the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in... perfect time for another bike ride.

For our November ride (Saturday 8th) we'll be heading out to Cramond, via the city centre, Inverleith and Davidson's Mains parks, then following cycle paths from Cramond to the new Waterfront development. Given the time of year we're aiming to have our lunch stop at the new Morrison's supermarket cafe (or there are picnic areas outside should the weather be lovely, like it was for our February ride!) then we'll head back through the North Edinburgh cycle path network to Leith Links and return to the starting point via Lochend Park and Holyrood Park. The distance is almost exactly 20 miles, and there are a couple of smallish hills. We should be back at the starting point around 3.30pm. It might be a good idea to bring lights, especially if the weather is dull or you know it will take you a while to get home after the ride.

Meet: 10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place). There are coffee shops and a supermarket near by if you'd like to pick up picnic provisions.
Cost and booking: Free; just turn up. No need to book.
Further information: Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685) or email 20milers at gmail dot com.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Ride report - October

October's ride to Prestonpans
Today's weather was beautifully sunny, if slightly windy, and we went about 25 miles out to Prestonpans. There were about 20 people on this month's ride, and we made good time through Holyrood Park, some quiet back streets in Willowbrae and Northfield and then onto Route 1 as far as Brunstane, where we joined a muddy track along the Brunstane Burn. There was only 1 bit where the majority vote was to push our bikes (although those that cycled ended up a bit less muddy than those of us who pushed!)

We then joined the Edinburgh road into Musselburgh and mustered at the Promenade (it takes a while to get across the road, by which time the leading group has disappeared round the corner! - no one got lost though which is good).

We followed the coast as far as Prestonpans - this is varied terrain, ranging from roads, tarmac paths and then some grassy paths at the Eastern end, in the Levenhall ash lagoons. These lagoons were made from the spoil from Cockenzie power station, just along the road, and apart from the active dumping areas, are now being converted into some nice nature reserves (and are a quiet place to learn to windsurf too). We stopped off briefly at Prestongrange Museum, an early Industrial Park, it seems. Then on to lunch at the Gothenburg pub, where they coped pretty well with a sudden influx of 20 hungry cyclists.

After lunch we had today's Hill (Falside - only 144m from the Ordnance Survey map, but from sea level I felt every metre). There is a Tower House (Castle) at the summit so it's easy to see how near (or far) you are. After the summit of course there's the payback on the downhill stretch - my top speed was 29.6mph - my new bike has disc brakes which are my favourite feature - makes braking on that sort of hill so much more reliable and it was such fun going whoosh!

Then we wended our way back into town via Musselburgh golf course and the River Esk, then Route 1 all the way back to Middle Meadow Walk. We finished at about 4.30pm and total cycling time was about 3h10mins for me, average speed about 8mph.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Saturday 11th October

We've got another excellent ride in prospect for this Saturday (11th October). Under the knowledgeable leadership of Chris Pearson, we'll be heading east along the coast, aiming for the historic village of Prestonpans -- noted for its murals, its 18th-century battle site, and its more recent industrial heritage.
Our lunch stop will be at the celebrated Gothenburgh pub, where there will be hot food on offer. For hardy folk who prefer eating al fresco, there are a couple of pleasant picnic spots nearby.
The total distance will be just over the nominal 20 miles. The route will be reasonably flat, and will be mainly on dedicated bike paths, with a short section on a shared-use path alongside a main road. There'll also be a couple of short stretches in traffic, but we'll take these slowly and carefully.

10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place). There are coffee shops and a supermarket near by if you'd like to pick up picnic provisions.
Cost and booking: Free; just turn up. No need to book.
Further information: Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685).

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

September's Ride

The next ride will be on Saturday September 13th and will take us to Cousland in Midlothian, and will include a rare chance to visit the restored 18th Century smiddy and adjoining smith's cottage (suggested entry donation: £2). This is an easy-to-moderate ride, suitable both for occasional cyclists and those with a little more experience.

The total distance will be about 24 miles, mainly on easy paths and quiet roads with gentle gradients. Hot drinks and home baking will be available at the smiddy; those wanting a more substantial lunch should bring a sandwich. The ride will end around 16.00.

10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place).
Cost and booking: Free; just turn up.
Further information:
Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685)

Friday, 25 July 2008

Saturday 9th August

August's run will provide a chance to explore some interesting bike paths in the south west of the city. Total distance will be about 18 miles, with a pub or cafe break at lunchtime (or bring a picnic if you prefer).

Meet: 10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place).
Cost and booking:
Free; just turn up.
Further information: Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685)

Saturday, 12 July 2008

31 20-milers on July's ride

What a superb turn out! Today we had our biggest turn-out of the year (or possibly ever) as we headed out of Edinburgh towards South Queensferry. We started out on the normal "bike rat-run" out of town: head through the Meadows then down to Fountainbridge and then onto the Roseburn Path to join NCR 1 out to Cramond Brig. We went along side the A90 for a while then crossed over on the route towards Kirkliston, and then Mike led us up a lovely shady, windy track (out of the rain which had started to become rather dampening) that eventually brought us out in Dalmeny. It was nice to head Downhill from there into South Queensferry for lunch - most people used the Picnic cafe - they ran out of soup, but still managed to serve everyone in time for us to head off 40 minutes later.
July ride to South Queensferry
There was a large cruise liner in the Forth, and their landing boats were zipping to and fro from the Maid of the Forth landing point, and disgorging the passengers onto buses. We passed by them and under the Forth Bridge - thankfully NOT heading up the offensive hill towards the station, but going along at sea level into the Dalmeny estate. I personally have never been into this estate, and it is definitely worth a trip. The paths were generally sound (some tarmac, mostly gravelly, only some short stretches of earth/grass single-track) and mostly car-free. We had glimpses of the beach all along the track, and ended up at Dalmeny House with a great view of the Forth. Nice place for a puncture!

Finally we headed back up along the Almond and returned to our original route at the Cramond Brig. Andrew's stick won the impromptu game of Pooh Sticks!

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Friday, 4 July 2008

July's Ride

We've had a string of superb rides during the last few months. We've been lucky with the weather, and we've managed to find some interesting and unusual places to visit. There's every reason to expect the trend to continue for this month's run.
This month's route and destination
My aim this time is to introduce you to some particularly attractive bike paths in the Queensferry / Dalmeny area. I can promise you a scenic ride in a delightful rural settings, with excellent views, a long way from any traffic (at least for part of the route). In fact, I hope to surprise you with some places that you might never have known existed. Come along and find out more.
The total distance will be 22 miles. I can't claim that it will be completely level, but there definitely won't be any killer hills to worry about.
However, be warned that some short stretches of the route might be rough, narrow and overgrown. If necessary, we will dismount and push. If the weather is particularly bad, we will take an alternative route that avoids the difficult stretches (but without the nice views).
Food and drink
We will stop for a cafe or pub lunch (your choice) in South Queensferry. For those who prefer a picnic, the harbour will be a good spot. You can either bring your own food or pick up a sandwich from the Picnic Shop nearby.
Time and place
I hope you all know the meeting place by now. Middle Meadow Walk, by the Lauriston Place traffic lights. Meet in time for a 10.30 start. The ride should end at approximately 16.00.

Mike Lewis
0131 343 2520

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Ride Report

23 20-milers turned up for a sunny ride that turned out to be about 23 miles long. We headed out along the canal, then turned onto the Water of Leith path just after the viaduct and followed this right to Balerno. We then had the "long climb" of the day ahead of us up to the Red Moss nature reserve at the highest and furthest point of our route. We did, however, have civilised breaks on the way up, complete with Chris's excellent flapjack (thank you Chris). After that it was mostly downhill all the way home. We missed our original lunch destination (Riccarton Garden Centre) but the refectory at Heriot Watt University was a very acceptable alternative. We returned back along the Union Canal the way we had started out.

June08 ride to Balerno & Red Moss

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Friday, 13 June 2008

Tomorrow's ride

Remember to bring a picnic! There are several sandwich shops near the top of Middle Meadow Walk, though.

Monday, 26 May 2008

June's Ride

Saturday 14th June is the next 20-milers outing, as part of Bike Week.

June's ride will be to Balerno and Red Moss, with a picnic lunch at the Riccarton Garden Centre (hot drinks available, but bring your own food). Total distance will be about 22 miles. The ride will end around 16.00.

10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place). Cost and booking: Free; just turn up. Further information: Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685),

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Ride Report

The largest group of 20 milers so far this year - 27 at the start - tackled a wiggly route around the South of Edinburgh. The theme was "South Edinburgh Parks" and by my reckoning we went through 10: The Meadows, Holyrood Park, Jewel Park, Burdiehouse Valley Park, The Braids, Fairmilehead Park, Braidburn Valley Park, The Hermitage of Braid, The Inch Park and Craigmillar Castle Park - not to mention more green spaces near the new ERI and Mortonhall.
South Edinburgh Parks

There were some hills and some bumpy paths, and given the amount of broken glass on Edinburgh's paths (as always) we were lucky to make it round with only 2 punctures. Everyone enjoyed the warm spring weather - we even made it to the end of the ride before it started to rain, although there were plenty of rumbles of thunder before then.

The next ride is on Saturday 14th of June, and will be heading out to Balerno. More details nearer the time.

See Mike Lewis' flickr site for more photos from the ride.

Map of 10 May ride

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Sunday, 13 April 2008

South Edinburgh Parks

For May's ride (Saturday 10th May) we will head out via the Innocent Railway, turning south to the Royal Infirmary and then a gentle climb via the Burdiehouse Valley Park to the lunch stop at Mortonhall Garden Centre where we can picnic or eat in the cafe, which has an excellent range of sandwiches, hot food and cakes. We will return via the Hermitage of Braid and Craigmillar Castle Park.

The ride will be just under 20 miles, on prepared paths and quiet roads, with some short stretches of tracks.

Meet: 10.30am at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place).
Cost and booking: free, just turn up.
Further information: Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685) or email

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Ride report

Gateways to the East
Today's ride was a little longer than normal - just over 25 miles - and 17 warmly wrapped up cyclists turned up at Middle Meadow Walk with the prospect of "sunshine and showers" - but luckily not much wind. Much better weather than the rainstorm which saw March's ride being abandoned.

We tackled the Hill challenge that Darren set us (up to the start of the Pencaitland Railway) and also made it through the muddy puddles near Newhailes House. Many people on the ride managed more than 30mph going down one super hill into Dalkeith. We had 2 punctures today - unusual as we often seem to go for months with none at all - however we completed the ride by the promised finishing time of 4pm.

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Were you on the ride? What did you think? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Gateways to the East

We are looking forward to an excellent ride this coming Saturday (12th April).
Darren Mirfield will be leading us on a tour of three railway paths which he calls "Gateways to the East". These are "excellent and scenic routes, traffic-free corridors that will get us into the heart of East Lothian". The total distance will be 24 miles, with only a few moderate hills. Some short stretches might be muddy.
Lunch will be in Musselburgh, where there is a choice or cafes (or bring a picnic if you prefer). Note that the lunch stop will be slightly later than usual, so adjust your appetite accordingly.
We'll gather at the top of Middle Meadow Walk (by the Lauriston Place traffic lights) in time for a 10.30 start. Because this ride will be slightly longer than usual, you should plan to be back in town around 16.00.
By the way, for those of you who like to buy a snack to take on the ride, Sainsbury's have kindly opened a new branch right by our meeting point.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

April ride

Next ride: Saturday April 12th

Today's run will take in three particularly nice bike paths in East Lothian, with a late cafe lunch in Musselburgh. Total distance will be 24 miles.

10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (junction of Lauriston Place).
Cost and booking: Free; just turn up.
Further information:
Mike Lewis (0131 343 2520) or Chris Pearson (0131 343 2685).

Photos from previous rides in 2008

20Milers to Suntrap Gardens

20-Milers to Colinton

2008 Routes

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