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Thursday, 25 December 2014

And Santa came too

The 20 Milers annual Christmas Day short ride continues to go from strength to strength. No doubt helped by favourable weather and no sign of the forecasted frost; 25 riders turned up at the start. Michael arrived dressed as Santa which was a great hit with children and adults alike along the route. Usually we would have split into two groups. But as leader Mike was the only one that really knew the route (and because he was making some of it up as he went along) we remained as one group with a leader, mid-marker and back marker. We set off and made our first stop to admire the view from the Castle Esplanade which was crowded with tourists. We made our way round the back of the Usher Hall, across Lothian Road, behind the Sheraton Hotel and beside the canal to Leamington Bridge.

We meandered around quiet backstreets and paths to make our first of two visits to Dean Village. From there we made our way to Princes Street where we had an unfortunate "rider down" incident on the wet and slippery tram tracks. Our mid-marker picked himself up with fortunately nothing more than bumps and bruises. As he sits writing this report in the evening, he feels a bit sore but doesn't expect any lasting damage. Damned tram tracks!

We carried on and climbed up Calton Hill to be met by bright sunshine, glorious views over Edinburgh and throngs of tourists. This was also our refreshment stop. As is now the norm on these Christmas Day rides; many riders had brought cake, sweets, hot drinks, mince pies and mulled wine to sustain us for the remainder of the ride.

As we walked down the steps off Calton Hill the first riders began to head home. Others peeled off as they got close to home. With the numbers depleting we headed back to Stockbridge via McDonald Road, St Marks Park and Dean Village again.

Another successful Christmas Day ride came to an end with us all heading home. Thanks to Mike for leading an interesting and enjoyable ride. Thanks to those that kept us sustained with Christmas food and drink. It was good to see so many new faces; many of whom we hope will join us on our monthly rides next year. Was also good to see a number of regular CTC riders join us.

Leader: Mike
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn, Mike and Yaz

Friday, 19 December 2014

Half-day ride planned for Christmas morning

We've got a ride planned for the morning of 25th December (Christmas day). This will be a short run, taken at our usual easy, sociable pace.

One of the nice things about Christmas day in Edinburgh is that the city is relatively free of traffic. We'll take advantage of that to visit parts of the city centre that we might prefer to avoid at other times.

We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10.30 start. The ride will finish no later than 13.00, in or near the West End. Note that there will be no café or lunch stop.

For those who can't make it on Thursday, our next normal monthly ride will be on 10th January.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ice and easy does it

Following a week which gave us the worst weather so far this winter and the threat of icy conditions under-wheel, it wasn't surprising that only 13 riders turned up at the start of today's ride. Several of our regulars decided not to risk it. Maybe the memory of the ill-fated January ride that had to be curtailed due to lethal black ice was still fresh in their memories.

For the first time in a while there was no need to split into two groups as we headed towards the Innocent Railway via the path across the Meadows which was freshly gritted. We went through Craigmillar Castle Park where the mud wasn't too bad due to the frozen ground. On past the Royal Infirmary, through Moredun and into Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park. At this point we stopped for our customary sweetie stop. Upping the stakes from the usual passing round of Jelly Babies, Andy opened a flask and passed round a quaiche of mulled wine which was greatly appreciated on such a cold day. Our sweetie stops may have changed forever! The conditions under-wheel were now quite treacherous with sheet ice often stretching across the width of the path. The only consolation being that we could actually see the ice; therefore much better than the black variety. Crossing a particularly dodgy bit, one rider was heard to say, "I want my mum!" Brave souls these 20 Milers! We made it safely to our lunch stop where the group split between the Mortonhall Garden Centre cafe and the Stables Bar.
With everyone fed, watered and warmed up, disaster struck! One of our group had securely locked his bike only to realise that the key was still at home. As several members of the group set about breaking the lock, others stood around getting cold whilst some were less than helpful asking "does anyone have a hand grenade?" Just as it looked as if the rider and his bike may have to be abandoned, the skilful wielding of a large rock solved the problem. More trying to ride on treacherous ice covered paths / walking followed as we made our way to Braid Hills. From there we rode back into town via the Astley Ainsley Hospital, mainly on ice-free roads. Prior to finishing the ride, Andy gave us a brief history lesson about the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children which used to stand on Whitehouse Loan. We may have had a few hairy moments, but we did get back safely with no injuries or fallers.

Leader: Andy
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map: Jim

Thursday, 11 December 2014

December Rides

For our usual monthly ride this coming Saturday (13th), Andy will be leading us on what looks like an interesting tour of bike paths in the south of the city. In deference to the short days, this ride will be slightly less than our usual 20 miles, and should present no difficulties. Our lunch stop will be at Mortonhall.

We'll meet, as always, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. Keep in mind that it gets dark around 4 pm, so you'll almost certainly need to bring lights. The weather forecast looks cold and damp or snowy, so bring warm layers and a spare set of gloves. If the ground is icy then we may need to shorten or call off the ride.

Extra Bonus Christmas Day ride!
Our second outing this month will be our traditional Christmas morning run. This will be a short ride, mainly around the city centre, finishing no later than 1 pm. More details nearer the time.