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Saturday, 8 February 2014

February's ride

Today we had sunshine and showers. The showers were icy cold, but luckily not too heavy at any time. About 24 people came out for today's ride - not as many as last month's massive turn out, but good considering the weather, and the Calcutta Cup scheduled for later in the day.

This month was my turn to lead, and the recce I led a few weeks earlier had showed that my "Google Satellite route planning" had resulted in quite a lot of mud, hills and steps, so we had reworked some of the worse bits via a car-recce (time being limited), so I was quite glad that all the parts worked out (I only went slightly wrong once, by a couple of metres!)

We went south, with a loose theme of "Hospitals" - better than the original theme of "mud and steps". We passed the old Royal, the Sick Kids, the Astley Ainsley, waved to the Royal Ed in the distance, passed nearby Napier uni's Craiglockhart campus (which used to be a sanatorium for war veterans with shell shock), past Firrhill school and into the grounds of the old City hospital (with lovely balconies for the invalids to take the air), and then down into the Braid burn valley. A short climb or two (avoiding the muddiest bit of Cockmylane), and then up to Brunstane took us to some lovely views of the Pentlands and East, before a whizz down the hill to lunch at Mortonhall Garden Centre (for some) or the Stable Bar (where several people toasted themselves lightly in front of the fire).

Photo - Alan Stalker
After lunch we carried on East, past the Toby Carvery ("Second lunch, anyone?") and through Gracemount, Southhouse, over the Burdiehouse valley park, through a back path in the Murrays, into Gilmerton, Moredun and Ferniehill and down to the Royal Infirmary. Using the new bus lane we went through the abandoned wasteland that was Niddrie, where the water board had kindly laid on a bike-washing fountain, then through Craigmiller and down to the Innocent Railway to head back into town and coffee etc. at Peter's Yard.

Total distance - about 18.5 miles, plus a fair amount of climb (about 1000ft overall, I believe).

View 20milers Feb-14 route in a larger map
Leader - Livia
Report - Livia too

Next Month: Alan Stalker, heading to Balerno, Currie and the Gyle (probably).

Monday, 3 February 2014

February ride this coming Saturday

Our next ride will be this coming Saturday (8th Feb). Livia will be leading us on an interesting tour round the southern outskirts of the city, with a lunch stop at the Mortonhall Garden Centre café (soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and light meals available).

From what I've seen of the route, it should be a very pleasant run, with some fine views. Apart from just a couple of short sections on rough tracks, we'll be on good surfaces most of the time. We won't be able to avoid hills, but these will be fairly easy - certainly no killers this time. The total distance will be about 19 miles.

As always, we'll set out at 10.30 from the top of Middle Meadow Walk. You don't need to tell us in advance if you are planning to come. Just turn up on the day.

Two groups

You probably know that we're now getting very high turnouts on most of our rides. This is good, but it can cause difficulties for the ride leaders. To help keep things manageable, we now plan to split a ride into two groups whenever the leader thinks it necessary.

So, at the start of the ride, you might be asked to decide whether you want to go with the first or the second group. The first group will cycle slightly faster, perhaps with slightly shorter breaks. The second, slightly slower, group will leave about five minutes later. Note that there won't be a great difference in the speed of the two groups. The aim is simply to keep them separated.

Both groups will follow roughly the same route, and will meet up at the lunch venue. You will be free to switch groups for the afternoon leg if you wish.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this arrangement. We plan to try it on the next couple of rides (depending on the turnout), and to review the arrangements after that.

What to bring

This week's ride should end well before dark, which is currently about 5 p.m. So you probably won't need lights, although it might be prudent to bring them anyway, especially if you live some distance from the end point.

However, I do suggest that you bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. This can save a lot of time if a puncture strikes. If you're not sure what size tube fits your wheels, your local bike shop will be happy to advise. If you don't know what to do with the tube, don't worry: many members of our group have had experience in dealing with punctures (unfortunately), and will do their best to help if needed. 

That's all for now. I hope we'll be seeing you on Saturday. Meantime, happy pedalling.