The October 20 Milers ride saw the group head out to South Queensferry. The numbers being swelled by an Icelandic contingent. An impressive group of thirty riders gathered at the usual start point at the top of Middle Meadow Walk. One third of them were a group of riders from Iceland. Being in Edinburgh for a long weekend, they decided they wanted to explore the area by bicycle. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, they found our group, arranged bicycle hire and turned up raring to go. We split into two groups, with most of the Icelanders opting to go with the first group. Leaving the Meadows behind, we made our way on to the busy Bruntsfield Place for a short spell, before turning off and meandering through the quiet back streets of Merchiston. A loud bang that sounded like a gunshot turned out to be a puncture. Quickly fixed, the small group pressed on through Polwarth and caught the main group at the entrance to the Roseburn path. A familiar route for the regulars took us past Craigleith, through Barnton and on to a sweetie stop on Cramond Bridge. From there we rode through the beautiful Dalmeny Estate, which was lovely with the trees just beginning to turn to autumn colours. On past Dalmeny House, we came out of the estate to be greeted with a slightly misty view of the Forth Rail Bridge. It was impressive to those of us that have seen it many times. But to our Icelandic visitors it was breathtaking. From there a short run into the centre of South Queensferry brought us to our lunch stop. Our usual bike parking spot afforded us another wonderful view of the iconic bridge. Whilst some of the group made their way to various eateries; the remainder enjoyed the view as they tucked into their picnics. It was nice to still be picnicing in mid-October. But there may not be many more opportunities left this year.
By the time we headed off, it was beginning to feel somewhat cooler. Rather than take the short, sharp climb up the main road straight after lunch; the leader had us carry our bikes up a flight of steps and walk up an alley. The jury is still out on which is the best option. At the top, we cut through the Co-op car park to get onto the cycle path that would lead us back towards Edinburgh. We eventually emerged onto a cycle path running alongside the busy A8 near the airport. After a short distance, we wheeled our bikes up and over a footbridge across the A8. Whilst crossing the bridge, we were treated to the spectacle of the last flying Vulcan bomber in the world come towards us before banking steeply and roaring away into the distance. Amazing! We made our way past the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters and on into Edinburgh Park. A cycle path beside the tram track took us past the Jenners Depository building and on to Murrayfield. From there we made our way back to the Meadows via the Telfer subway, Fountainbridge, the canal and Bruntsfield.
Thanks to Jim for leading us on such a pleasant early autumn ride. The weather was typical of what could be expected at this time of year. Not overly warm, but still OK for picnicing. Our friends from Iceland seemed to have enjoyed the ride. Hopefully we showed them some areas that they would not have seen. The flypast by the Vulcan bomber was pure luck. But what a sight.
Map trace: Jim
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