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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Advanced Notice: John Muir Way Inaugural Ride

On Saturday 3rd May, we will be holding a special ride to mark the opening of the John Muir Way. This will be a 34-mile circular ride, starting and ending in Edinburgh. Like all our rides, it is free and open to all.

The John Muir Way (JMW) is a new 134-mile footpath and cycle route, running from Dunbar to Helensburgh. The ride we are planning is one of several events designed to mark the opening of the route. It is being organised in association with Scottish Natural Heritage. Information about the JMW and other inaugural events can be found here.

Our route

For our ride, we will follow part of the JMW out towards South Queensferry, and then through the Hopetoun Estate and along the banks of the Forth to Blackness. We will return to town by an inland route, taking the canal towpath from Philpstoun to Winchburgh, and then by roads and paths via Kirkliston.

Most of the route will be on quiet roads and bike paths, but there will be a couple of short stretches on a busy main road. Some of the paths might be rough in places, and possibly muddy. The route is a fairly level one, but there will be a few moderate hills and one particularly steep one.. The total distance will be about 34 miles.
Hopetoun House is one of the landmarks on the JMW

We will aim for a moderate "sociable" pace: a little faster than our normal monthly runs, but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation.

Food and drink

Please bring your own food and drink for a picnic lunch, which will be at Blackness Castle. There is a small shop near the castle, where you can buy sweets, ice cream and hot drinks. There are also toilets there. But there is no café or pub, so be sure to bring at least a sandwich and some water. Depending on numbers and progress, we might stop at a café near the end of the ride.

Time and place

We will meet in time for a 10.00 start, at the Sustrans marker at the three-way junction of the Roseburn, Blackhall and Telford paths in Craigleith. If you are not sure where that is, make your way to South Groathill Avenue, then look for the sign-posted entrance to the bike paths by the lights-controlled crossing near the back of the Sainsbury's petrol station. Grid reference: NT 223747. Map.

We will aim to return to Edinburgh by about 16.00, although this will depend on the weather, the speed of the group, and other factors.

What to bring

Apart from the aforementioned food and drink, please bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. That way, if you are unfortunate enough to have a puncture, it can be dealt with relatively quickly. If you don't know how to replace an inner tube, don't worry: there are usually willing helpers available. If you're not sure what size or type of tube you need, just ask at your local bike shop.

You should also bring all the obvious things you will need for any bike ride, such as a lightweight waterproof jacket, and perhaps a scarf and/or gloves if the day is chilly. It's also a good idea to bring a bike lock, although this is not essential as you can always double up with someone else. Most of our riders choose to wear a helmet, but we don't insist on that.

Just turn up
Part of our return route will be via the canal towpath

There is no need to book in advance for the ride. Just turn up on the day.

Note that the ride will go ahead even if the weather is bad. A few showers or a cold breeze won't put us off. But if the weather is really bad, we might opt for a shorter route, with the possibility of a café stop around lunch time.

Any questions?

For general information about our rides, please see our FAQ. If you still have a question, feel free to email us at the address in the panel on the left of this page.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

March ride to Currie, Riccarton and the Gyle

It would have been ideal cycling weather if it hadn't been for the bitter cold 25-mph winds. But that didn't stop around 32 of us gathering at the Meadows for today's run, which was a second attempt to do the ride that we abandoned in January because of ice.

Because of the high turnout, we decided to split into two groups. Alan Orr led the first party, which headed out to Balerno via Morningside, Craiglockhart, Colinton, and Woodhall, before doubling back along the road to Currie and Riccarton. The second group, under the leadership of Jim Cameron, followed the same route to a point just beyond Colinton. But our progress was slow - probably because of the strong headwinds - so we decided to cut a corner. At Woodhall Farm, we dropped down to the more sheltered Water of Leith path, then on to Currie Kirk, Curriehill Station and the Riccarton campus.

The two groups joined up at the Gyle shopping centre, where we had lunch in the spacious food court. This is not exactly gourmet dining, but it did enable everyone to get fed and watered reasonably quickly. There are around a dozen different food outlets there, so everyone managed to find something they liked.

For the afternoon leg, we followed the path to South Gyle Station, then on to Meadow Place Road and Broomhouse Drive, where we picked up the excellent new cycle path that runs alongside the tram line. This took us quickly to Murrayfield, at exactly the time that several thousand rugby fans were arriving for the Scotland vs. France match. But we were soon clear of that, and it was then just a short hop back to the Meadows, where the two groups re-united for coffee in Peter's Yard.

View March 2014 20-Milers in a larger map

Alan Orr, Jim Cameron
Report and map: Mike

Monday, 3 March 2014

March ride this coming Saturday

We've got our March ride coming up this Saturday (8th). I hope you'll be able to join us.

This month's ride will be similar to the route that we had to abandon in January because of ice. Now that the worst of the cold weather is over (let's hope), we should have a much better run this time. The route will take in the Currie, Hermiston and Riccarton areas. It's not a particularly hilly route, although there might be a couple of short climbs. There will also be one section of rough track which might be muddy. The total distance will be about 24 miles.

We'll meet as always at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, for a 10.30 start. The ride should end mid afternoon.