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Saturday, 14 July 2012

July's ride to Balerno

It's important to challenge assumptions. 20milers rides are not intended to be long, fast or competitive in any way. The aim is to explore the city, discover routes that our riders might not know about and find ways that don't involve busy roads or tiring hills (mostly). However Edinburgh is a small city, and there is a limit to how far outside the city one can go and still get back within 20 miles. There are a number of "nice" cycle routes - the Innocent Railway to get to Musselburgh, Route 1 to get to South Queensferry, the Union Canal to go West, and the Water of Leith to get out to the South West.

Photo by Logan Strang

So today's ride was interesting because we managed to get all the way to Balerno and back without setting wheel on the Water of Leith, at all. 32 people turned up for today's ride (including our first ever fixie, and quite a few new people too) The morning's route took us through Morningside (where a small piece of glass caused our first puncture in several rides), Craiglockhart (a useful illustration of how not thinking like a car user ("main road - good, side road - bad") transformed what could have been a slog up Colinton Road with busy traffic into a pleasant ascent on a quiet back road - Craiglockhart Road North. I had a lovely chat with a fellow cyclist all the way up - something that wouldn't have been safe or comfortable on a main road. We then had to spend a few minutes on a busy road before we got to Colinton village and passed under the bypass and onto quiet country lanes and paths. Some of the tracks had suffered considerable damage in the recent heavy rain (right down to bare rock in places) but we pushed our bikes over the worst bits, and ended up in Balerno just in time to catch the farmer's market before it closed at 1pm. The Grey Horse pub kindly accommodated the majority of riders (some found other fare or had brought their own packed lunches) with simple sandwiches and soup - just right.

After lunch (and some time fixing another puncture) we followed NCR 75 down to Long Dalmahoy Road, then turned right and came down to the canal through Heriot Watt campus at Riccarton. From there we used the canal all the way back into town, to Harrison Park. By this point many people had peeled off to make their own way home, but a hard core of about 10 followed Andrew on a novel route that got us back to the starting point via Church Hill.

View 20milers July12 Balerno in a larger map

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

July's ride

July's ride this coming Saturday (14th) - Balerno for lunch so some uphill in the morning and some downhill in the afternoon. Bring a packed lunch, or buy soup and sandwiches in the local pub or food from the local farmer's market if we're there by 1pm.