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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A Merry* Christmas Ride

After a week of rain (or sleet) and wind, we had a stroke of fortune from the weather gods - although it was still a bit windy, today's ride was blessed by beautiful sunshine all the way! 22 people decided they had nothing better to do this morning, and joined the ride, led by Mike. We started off with a quick visit to the Castle Esplanade - I think it's the first time 20milers have been up there, then down the back of the Castle to the Usher Hall, and across Lothian Road to wiggle through the back paths into Rutland Square and then onto Shandwick Place (crossing the tram lines carefully) and East onto Princes Street. We had a nearly empty road (just one First Bus getting in our way) and lovely views of the Castle and the Christmas markets.
We then headed back to the Royal Mile past Waverley Station, and down to the Palace of Holyrood House for a quick look before we started our climb up Calton Hill. The route luckily was not too steep and everyone managed it and enjoyed the views from the top. Descending the north path (nearly all on foot - but there's always 1 who mountain-bikes it down (Andrew, and this time Darren as well, so actually 2!) - we then crossed London Road, made our way through some back streets, crossed Leith Walk and then headed down McDonald Road and onto the North Edinburgh Path at Powderhall / St Mark's Park. A short ride along these old railway lines took us to King George V Park, where we stopped and shared some Christmas treats - mince pies, cakes, biscuits, and there were plenty to go around.

After this break, we made our way to Stockbridge, then up the Water of Leith to Dean Village, up the hill to Palmerston Place and then to Queensferry Street where the ride officially disbanded.



View Christmas Day ride 2013 in a larger map
Leader: Mike
Report and photos: Livia
(*Not merry in the alcohol sense though!)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Forthcoming ride : A half-day ride for Christmas morning

This is a quick reminder of our short ride next Wednesday morning (Christmas Day).

I know that many of you will have other things to do that day. But, if you happen to be at a loose end, you're very welcome to come along. As always, the ride is open to all, with no need to book in advance.

We'll leave at 10.30, from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. With luck, there won't be much traffic in town that day, so we'll aim to visit parts of the city centre and nearby districts where we might not otherwise venture. There will be a couple of short steep hills, but most of the route will be fairly flat. We'll stick to roads and paths with good surfaces for most of the way (apart from the occasional cobbles).

The total distance will be 10 - 12 miles, which we'll take at a slow-ish place, with a few short sight-seeing stops. Note that there will be no lunch break.

We'll aim to finish by 13.00 at the latest - but we won't necessarily end up back at the Meadows. (Last year, most people had peeled off by about 12.30, so we ended the ride at the West End.)

Our next normal monthly ride will be on 11th January. I'll post more details of that event nearer the time.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Windy December ride to Cramond

The weather forecast was a Weather Warning for strong winds (30-60mph), but despite that, 18 people joined the ride this Saturday. Which probably makes us the only 18 people who weren't on Princes Street trying to do our Christmas shopping.

After a standard "get to Roseburn" route, we turned along the side of the Carrick Knowe Golf course and after the only rough(ish) track of the day we joined the smoothest tarmac of the day, on the new cyclepath alongside the tram line. Andrew led us at an appropriate pace to deal with the headwind - taking it slow, meaning that one doesn't have to struggle and get tired. The bridge over the railway line had particularly strong winds, so we didn't stop to admire the views.

We cut through Edinburgh Park and then through the David Lloyd gym park at the back of South Gyle. From there we crossed the Glasgow Road and began our ascent of Drumbrae. The good news is that we went on back-paths, none of which were steep or busy, and what can seem quite a daunting hill was broken down into a manageable ascent. From the top (at the Leisure Centre) we made a swift descent down to Barnton and then to Cramond, where the Cramond Falls Cafe had made a special effort to open for the group, and served us up tasty lunches (of the soup/toastie/scone variety which goes down well with cold and wet cyclists). Even the hard-core picnicers (who ate their picnics on the cafe tables outside) were driven inside by the cold and wet and joined us for a hot drink.

After lunch we headed East with the wind behind us along the promenade, then turned inland at Gypsy Brae and up through the Waterfront park, from where we joined up to the North Edinburgh Paths Network and (shedding cyclists all the way) returned back to the start.

We had one minor incident because of the wind - a BINcident if you will - where an already-toppled black communal bin's lid blew out in front of one of us (Jenny), who sustained a cut finger and was shaken up by the experience (understandably so). We tried to right the bin, only for it to blow over moments later, narrowly missing a passing car, so we decided it would be best to drag it back to the kerb still toppled, so it couldn't blow over again.

Our next ride is a short (10 miles-ish) one on Christmas Day. Come along and enjoy the wonderfully quiet roads, and be home in time for your Brussels sprouts.

View 20milers to Cramond Dec-13 in a larger map

Monday, 9 December 2013

Two rides for December

We've got two rides planned for the coming month:

14th December : Normal monthly ride

Our next ride will be this coming Saturday (14th December). Andrew Marchant will be leading us on a trip round the bike paths in the north and west of the city, with a lunch stop in the Cramond area. It looks like a very pleasant route, with a few moderate hills but no other difficulties. The total distance will be 18 - 20 miles.

We'll meet at our usual gathering place at the top of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. We'll try to finish before dusk, but it might well be dark by the time you get home, so be sure to bring lights.

25th December : Short morning ride

For the third year running, we will be having a short ride on Christmas morning, finishing by 1 pm at the latest. This was a very popular event last year, with 21 riders turning up. I'll post more details of this ride nearer the time.