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Sunday, 5 December 2010

December's ride cancelled

Update - December's ride is Cancelled (unsurprisingly) because of poor weather conditions.

However we hope to add an extra ride in the New Year to make up for this. Our next regular ride is Saturday January 8th 2011.

Please keep an eye on the http://www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk/ website for more details.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Colinton in November

Mike Lewis led today's ride - 19 people showed up which is a good turn out for November. The weather was sunny but with a bit of a South Westerly breeze headwind - which made the stretch after lunch nicer of course.
Mike decided today's route on the day, based on who showed up and our previous and next destinations. We headed South, UP Braid Avenue (a long hill) and then through the Braidburn Valley Park and along the (now opened) path which ends up at the NAAFI on the inner ring road.

View 20milers AdHoc to Colinton in a larger map
From there, we headed up through Colinton and out under the bypass towards Juniper Green, and there onto the Water of Leith. The path was quite muddy in places and we arrived back in Colinton (via Spylaw Park) ready for lunch.
After lunch we headed back into town along the Water of Leith. A few people headed back into the centre along the canal, but the rest continued through Saughton Park and beside the prison, ending up in Roseburn, where the ride formally disbanded. (I have tracked a possible route back to Middle Meadow Walk from there on the map).

Photos from the ride

Next month Andrew is leading the ride, and the current plan is to head South to Craiglockhart, then along the Water of Leith to lunch in the Stockbridge / Canonmills area, then return to the centre via Leith and Lochend. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Next rides

November: Saturday 13th - destination to be decided
December: Saturday 11th - a shorter than normal route inside the city limits. Lunch probably in the Stockbridge area but still to be confirmed.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

9th October ride: over Corstorphine Hill to Davidson's Mains

Twenty three riders turned up for today's ride through the west of the city. Under Jenny's expert leadership, we set off via Leamington Terrace and Dundee Street to Murrayfield. From there we traversed the blue route through Corstorphine to Edinburgh Park, where we had a short break.

Amazingly we kept together most of the time, thanks to Ken's backmarking skills. Every now and then we gave each other the "Royal Wave" to make sure we were within sight.

Onward under the bypass to Gogar Station Road and the RBS bridge over the A8.  At Gogar Roundabout we turned left up Turnhouse Road where three of the riders took time out to calibrate their mileometers against the measured half-mile. We then headed east along Craigs Road (great views) before arriving at hazard no.1:  the crossing of Maybury Road. With no traffic lights, we had to make a run for it until one generous car driver actually stopped to let us across. Thank you. I take back what I said about inconsiderate motorists.

We continued upwards and eastwards until we finally reached Cairnmuir Road  and Corstorphine Hill Woods. Most headed on but a few wanted a breather after the climb. We traversed a pleasant path, got over hazard no. 2 - a set of steep steps - and arrived at the viewpoint over Murrayfield Golf Club. The view would have been one of Edinburgh’s best if it hadn’t been so misty. We then descended over hazard no. 3 - a narrow and rocky descent, which we managed without incident. There was then a nice shortcut down through Ravelston Woods to reach NCN 1.

Hunger and thirst pangs took hold as we headed to Davison’s Mains. Most of us took refuge in Ye Olde Inn whilst others took a picnic in the park.

After lunch, some of the group decided to return straight home. The remaining 13 of us headed for “an easy stroll” round Silverknowes Promenade. Don’t speak too soon – we were met with gale force winds that forced us inland, to Waterfront Park, Telford Path and home. In total around 23 miles.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

20milers ride to Kirkliston

About 17 (I never counted, for once!) turned up for today's ride - there was a lot of rain last night and the ground was pretty wet, but I optimistically trusted the weather forecast and didn't bring a waterproof jacket.

Our leader for the day, Andy from Storybikes, took us out along the canal to Ratho, then over the hill to Ratho Station and then on an old railway line to Kirkliston. Some bits were fairly wet, although I am assured that it was nowhere near as muddy as the route Andy used last February. We stopped at Kirkliston Kirk for Andy to tell us a story about Lady Stair and her daughter, from the 17th Century, and then went on to the town centre for lunch. Most went to the pub, who opened up a back room (to keep us away from the clean customers?!) - away from the football on the big screen, and we had some extremely cheap food (£1.50 for a baguette or soup, £4 for a burger) and a round of drinks.

After lunch we found ourselves at times on tomorrow's Pedal For Scotland route - which I was on exactly a year ago! I found it quite reassuring to have signs up telling me how far it was to go. I left the group at Craigleith to head back to Leith and saw the preparations for the finish line in Victoria Park (yay! I win!). We were back at about 3.30pm.

View 20milers Sept2010 Kirkliston in a larger map

A few photos to follow...

Saturday, 4 September 2010

30milers ride to Roslin & Dalkeith

12 people showed up for today's longer ride (just over 30 miles) led by Andrew to Roslin.

We set out, earlier than our normal start time, through an interesting set of back streets around Morningside, including a small bridge over the South Suburban railway line that was a surprise to most. We then had to climb quite a lot of hill (or it felt like a lot in the warm summer weather) to get to the hill behind Mortonhall. A short descent to Burdiehouse and then we crossed under the bypass at Straiton and headed to Loanhead. From there, there is an excellent old railway line all the way to Roslin. The Rotary Club had laid on a pipe band and a parade (not just in our honour, probably) so some of us sat and had a view of the parade while we waited (a long time - hmm) for our lunch at the pub on the corner while others went off to explore the gala and others had a picnic by Rosslyn Chapel, which now has its protective double-roof removed.

After lunch we cycled through a back road to Auchendinny and then turned down onto the old Penicuik to Dalkeith railway line, at the old paper mill (now demolished, although it still exists on Google maps satellite view) and then all the way along this route to Dalkeith. At the west end it is untarmaced, and slightly uphill (but if a train can manage, then so can we) and after the summit around Rosewell it became a smoother path, and we had a lovely ride downhill with great views over Midlothian. Some gentle wiggling in Dalkeith and we ended up in the town centre, then headed along Route 1 to Whitecraigs, along the Esk and then back via Queen Margaret's College and Brunstane and ultimately the Innocent Railway back to our start.

30milers to Roslin
A great ride made better by some lovely weather. We will probably do some 30 mile rides again next summer, but that's all for this year.

Next week our normal 20-mile ride is going out to Ratho and then lunch at Kirkliston, led by Storybike Andy. Hope to see you then (start time back to the normal 10.30am)

View 30milers Sept to Roslin in a larger map

Saturday, 14 August 2010

September's Rides

Next month we have two rides: an ad-hoc 30-mile ride on Saturday 4th September - NB meet at 10am not 10.30am - in the same place at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, where Andrew will be leading us out to Roslin and Dalkeith, and the normal second-Saturday ride (11th at 10.30am) when Andy of Storybikes will be taking us out to Ratho and Kirkliston. Hope to see you on one or both of these!

August's ride to Balerno

Aug 2010 to the Reservoirs
Despite there being not one but two competing shortish easyish bike rides today, a good number of people turned up for our ride, including several new faces, including one chap who stood to win a bet with his sons that he would actually make it out and get all the way round (he did - we await news on whether the bet was honoured!). Ken led us out along the Water of Leith, including parts through Craiglockhart Hill that I'd not been along before (quite a nice path, with just a few steps to carry bikes up). We stayed on the WoL all the way to Balerno, where we had lunch - some in the beer garden of a local pub and some who sampled the wares of the farmer's market.

After lunch we had a long hill to climb up to Red Moss nature reserve. My chain fell off as soon as we hit the steep bit (or that's what I'm telling people) but we all made it up eventually. The weather was glorious and not too hot, and we had some lovely views of the Pentlands.

At Red Moss we turned to head back towards town, past Thriepmuir, Harlaw (pause to enjoy the view, toilets, Ken's chocolate cornflakes and fix a puncture), Clubbiedean and Torduff reservoirs. It was at about the highest point on the route that I noticed that my rear disc brake had started to leak hydraulic fluid. Not the best time, with all the downhill ahead of us - but it got me home safely and is booked into the bike shop for fixing when the part comes in.

At Bonaly people started to peel off and head for home. Eventually only about 6 of us got as far as the Leamington Lift Bridge at the end of the canal. Then I went shopping for bike stuff.

Today was quite a long day as we had plenty of stops to recover (climbing hills) and chat. It was a great route though, thank you to Ken for leading us.

View Aug 2010 to Red Moss in a larger map

Sunday, 25 July 2010

30milers ride to North Queensferry

Fourteen people turned up for the inaugural 30-milers ride yesterday. The concept had been long-discussed; aiming to go a bit further but still at a measured pace and ensuring that people still have breath to talk on the ride. We set off at the earlier time of 10am to give us time for the extra miles, and Mike led us to South Queensferry and then across the Forth Road Bridge, and over the back road (and up the hill) into North Queensferry. I spotted security cameras and a policeman with a gun in the grounds of one nice house - I presume that it was Gordon Brown's, not Iain Banks' home!

Nearly all of us decided to lunch in NQ; most people visiting the Albert Hotel which served us pub lunches very quickly and efficiently, while some had picnics with a fabulous view of the rail bridge. Photos to follow when I can upload them!

We then headed back over the road bridge (thankfully not up the big hill that we'd come down, and we avoided gatecrashing some wedding photos in a hotel garden (shortcut)) and down into South Queensferry to collect Logan who'd gone back there for lunch. Finally, we came back into Edinburgh via the Dalmeny estate, with unfortunately two casualties who skidded on gravel on a steep bend and caused themselves injury in the process. They made it back to the Cramond Brig hotel and called a black cab and we hope that they get better quickly.

The total distance was just over 30 miles and wasn't much later than many 20-milers rides. We went a little faster overall and probably had shorter breaks to recover, but overall it didn't feel too much of a stretch from some of the 20 mile-ish rides that we do.

The next 20-miler ride is Saturday 14th August, and the next 30-miler is Saturday 4th September.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Next rides

Our next ride is a special longer ride on the 24th July at the slightly earlier time of 10am.
This is to allow us time to go a little further - Mike's plan is to take us over the Forth Road Bridge, with lunch in South Queensferry (probably) as we've done before.

The next regular 20-mile-ish ride is on Saturday 14th August at 10.30am when Ken will be leading us up to the Reservoirs near Balerno.

There will be another longer ride on Saturday 4th September with the route to be announced nearer the time.

July's ride to Prestonpans

A small but dedicated (some would say committed, some would say "should be committed...") band of 20milers showed up for today's ride in the rain. We managed to lose 4 people within the first 20 minutes (2 decided that it was too wet, one person went the wrong way and the person sent to bring him back went to a different muster point - memo: next time, check which Lochs have Swans in before using them as a reference...) - we eventually met up in Musselburgh though.

Chris led us through some interesting back roads to Newhailes House near Musselburgh, whereupon Mike and I split from the main party to go to find the lost sheep who had found shelter and coffee in Musselburgh. Mike then went home to work on his rear brake, and Andrew & I went on to meet the rest of the group in Prestonpans. We arrived only just ahead of them: they looked rather muddier than us and had collected nettle stings too, but seemed happy that they'd been on an interesting route.

After an excellent lunch at the Gothenburg Pub the remaining 8 of us headed back to Edinburgh along the coastal path. At one point we passed a rather foolish fisherman who had got himself stranded by the incoming tide on rocks - with a sea whipped up by the wind he didn't look particularly safe but he seemed to be reassuring his friend that he was fine, so we cycled on.

I have mapped out the bits I cycled, and the yellow bit in the middle is a wild guess based on some things that Chris mentioned at lunch - corrections welcome from those who were on the ride!

View 20milers to Prestonpans in a larger map

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Next ride - 10th July

Next month's ride will be on the 2nd Saturday, as usual, at 10.30am (also as usual) from the top of Middle Meadow Walk (also as usual!) Check on Mike's Cycling-Edinburgh website for more details nearer the time.

June's ride to Kirkliston

View Jun2010 to Kirkliston in a larger map

I missed this ride, so this report, the route map above and the photos here are second hand...
- over 20 (24?) set out.
- weather warm but not really hot, remained dry, not very windy.
- Going at a reasonable pace, there was plenty of opportunity to chat.
- Encountered some ill-mannered cyclists along the way - a group of Roadies expecting cycle/footpaths to be clear as though they were racing and a mountain biker shouting about obstructed pavements (when a polite "excuse me" would have probably worked much better.) Didn't dampen spirits though.
- Only 1 puncture.
- Sandwich stop at South Queensferry. Most people used the "Picnic" cafe, which was busy but handled rush of orders with good grace.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Next ride - 12th June

Logan will be leading the June ride to the West of the city, including Kirkliston and South Queensferry. Ride starts at 10.30am from the North end of Middle Meadow Walk and includes lunch. It will be slightly longer than 20 miles but will be at the usual easy pace. Please remember to bring a spare inner tube in case of punctures.

May's ride to the South East

Thanks to everyone who came along today. We were lucky with the weather as the wind only seemed to be against us when we were going downhill!
May's ride to South East Edinburgh
A quick plug for the free cycle maps available from Edinburgh Council - you can download them here or if you want a "proper" one, then phone their helpline and they'll send you one. I recently got in touch with them for a "Bike to Work" day at our office and they sent us several hundred copies, free!

Anyway, today's route led out towards Musselburgh on Route 1, then ducked under the bypass before the Queen Margaret College and went along some quiet country roads (with great views of the city) to Danderhall. A beautiful route through the Edmonstone Policies park turned out to be a bit of a faff as some unkind people had dragged logs and branches across the path (presumably trying to discourage cyclists or perhaps motorcyclists) - well the 20 of us made it through without too much grumbling. Then we went through Gilmerton and into the Burdiehouse Valley Park which had less broken glass than sometimes, and to Mortonhall for lunch (some went to the Garden Centre and some went on to the Stables Bar). A short hike over the hill (just one gate to lift the bikes over) and then we again had some fabulous panoramas of the city as we came down to Liberton Brae, then along the Braid Valley Burn into the Hermitage - some beautiful lush greenery at this time of year: very picturesque. Finally we came down Braid Avenue and then through the Astley Ainslie into Grange and back to our starting point.

View 20Milers to SE May2010 in a larger map

Saturday, 10 April 2010

April - South Queensferry via Dalmeny

View Apr2010 S Queensferry in a larger map

Mike led a group of 25 out to South Queensferry in the best weather we've had for a while - calm, sunny, not too hot. For a change, we went out via the Dalmeny estate, including some rougher paths than we've used for a while - given that the undergrowth hasn't really started to grow up yet, it was a good choice and everyone seemed to enjoy the amazing views and the peaceful woodland. Lunch was in South Queensferry - canny people had brought their own packed lunch and enjoyed a relaxed picnic looking out from the harbour. The rest of us (including me) queued up for takeaway sandwiches, mostly at The Picnic, who were apparently one man down but seemed to cope - we all had our food delivered and eaten within about 45 minutes. And they had a very cheerful and positive attitude to all the extra unexpected business!
April - 20 Milers to South Queensferry

We came back along route 1 - a short sharp climb out of South Queensferry to the start of the old railway line, which is then a nice gentle climb up to Dalmeny. From there we followed Route 1 back to Cramond Brig (some of the new members were a bit surprised when we talked about going back "along" the A90 - fear not, it's a good cycle path although there is a bit of a hill which tired some people out). Mike then made a good decision to head on a detour to Cramond (since the weather was so nice it was agreed that ice creams were in order) and then back along the sea front (rather damaged in recent storms - lots of sand and gravel on the main path) and up through the newly opened route through the Waterfront estate (ducks, swans) and then back up the Telford path to Route 1 again.

Next month (Saturday 8th May) I'll be leading the ride, out to the South East of the city, with lunch in the Mortonhall area (Garden Centre or Stables bar) and return via Hermitage of Braid. Hope to see you then!

Friday, 2 April 2010

April's ride - Saturday 10th

This month we're aiming to go to South Queensferry. The ride will start as normal at 10.30am from the top (North) end of Middle Meadow Walk. We should be back in town around 3.30pm. As usual, please remember to bring a spare inner tube of the right size / type for your bike, in case of punctures. We always have people willing to help fix punctures, and it does make it quicker if you have a tube that fits.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Ride to Ratho via Currie

March ride to Ratho
We had a lovely sunny day for our ride this month. It was almost warm too, except when windy. There were about 24 cyclists today and we made excellent progress to Ratho, with a couple of soggy tyres and one flat one (made harder to fix by wheel nuts not quick-release levers, but expertly sorted anyway). The Bridge Inn were too busy again so we went on as far as the International Climbing Arena at Ratho which is very appropriate - apart from a long queue for sandwiches (which to be fair was probably of our own making) we had a good lunch there and a picnic in the sun or a good view of the climbing inside.

I have to confess that I led a break-away party back into town along the canal - very boring (so flat, no freewheeling to make things easier!) but I had somewhere to be - so I don't have today's full route. I hope to post this later on.

Note added later by Mike :

After Livia led her break-away group back along the canal, the remaining 16 of us headed south and west by Dalmahoy and on to Balerno via NCN 75. The hill up to Pilmuir Farm was a real killer, but we made it to the top with varying degrees of pedalling and pushing. After that it was a delightful run back to town by the Water of Leith path and onto the canal at the Lanark Road bridge.

With a total distance of 28 miles, it was another excellent ride. Many thanks to Alan for organising it.

View March2010 to Ratho in a larger map

Thursday, 11 March 2010

March's ride

For our ride this month, Alan Davies will be leading us on an interesting route to the west of the city, taking in Juniper Green, the Heriot Watt campus, Hermiston, Ratho and Balerno. This will be a slightly longer ride than usual (total distance about 24 miles), but we'll take it at our usual slow-to-moderate pace. Much of the route will be on bike paths and the canal towpath, although there will be a few stretches on main roads. We'll stop at a pub for lunch, or you can bring your own food if you prefer to picnic.
(As always, please treat the route described above as provisional. The leader is free to vary the route, depending on the weather, the number of people turning up, and other factors on the day.)
The logistics
The meeting place is the same as ever: the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (by the traffic lights at Lauriston Place). We'll start at 10.30 (we'll try to leave reasonably punctually) and aim to return to town by mid afternoon. The ride is free and open to all. There's no need to book in advance.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

February ride to Mortonhall

We were warned that there would be mud, and mud there was. From Mortonhall to Niddrie, there was about four miles of the stuff. Fortunately, we coped with it well, and there were no mishaps. It certainly added interest to what was already an excellent ride.

Under the leadership of Andy Hunter (of Storybikes fame), 33 of us set off from the Meadows, heading south via Lovers Loan and the Astley Ainslie, and quickly reaching the heights Braid Road and Mortonhall. We were a little early for lunch, so Andy took us on a scenic detour by way of Buckstone and Mounthooly, from where there were fine views of the Moorfoots and the Pentlands (see picture). The paths were already churned up; an additional 33 pairs of wheels did nothing to improve them.

After lunch (split between the Stables Bar and the cafe in the garden centre), we headed east and north. We followed the Burdiehouse Burn (more mud) by way of Ellens Glen and Gilmerton, then along a particularly mucky path behind the Infirmary. On reaching Bingham, we turned west, heading back to town by the Innocent Railway.

Despite the conditions, it was another successful 20-Milers ride. The day was mild with almost no wind, and, as a bonus, we were treated to a couple of Andy's famous stories. The total distance was 17 miles.

I'm off now to clean my bike.

View Feb10 Storybike in a larger map

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Next rides

Just to get ahead of the game a bit, here are the dates and leaders of the next few rides:

February 13th - Leader: Andy
March 13th - Leader: Alan
April 10th - Leader: TBC
May 8th - Leader: Livia
Destinations to be confirmed nearer the time.

All rides leave at 10.30am from the top (North) end of Middle Meadow Walk. We have lunch somewhere half way round (bring a picnic if the weather looks promising, or there is [almost] always a cafe or somewhere similar to buy food) and are usually back in town by 3.30pm.

In the winter months it's essential to bring lights in case of delays, and we also recommend you bring a spare inner tube suitable for your bike. We go at an average speed of about 8-10mph and we aim to use quiet roads and cycle paths where possible, however we do need to cross some busy roads at times. Children are welcome if they are up to the distance and pace and are supervised by an adult.

If the ride is cancelled because of inclement weather then Mike will send an email round a couple of days before, and a message will be posted on this blog. Send us an email (see left) to join the mailing list.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

9th January ride cancelled

For the second week running, we've had to cancel a ride. The run that was scheduled for 9th January will not now take place. This is because most local bike paths and minor roads are still covered in ice and compacted snow, making cycling hazardous.

Our next ride is on 13th February. We can only assume that conditions will have improved by then, but check back here nearer the time to be on the safe side.