Thursday, 26 May 2016
What we got was thick cloud, steady drizzle and a decidedly chilly breeze. Silly me.
Never mind. Bad weather never stopped the 20-Milers, and I was pleased to see a horde of three cyclists descending on our meeting point. We made our way down the Royal Mile, into Holyrood Park, along Croft-an-Righ, then in a loop up to St. Margaret's Loch and along Queen's Drive.
As we passed Our Dynamic Earth, we spotted a warm, welcoming pub. Now you might think that would be the end of the ride. Well, it was.
Leader, report and photo: Mike
Sunday, 22 May 2016
For the third annual 20 Milers weekend away, we headed east to Dunbar; the town that claims to be one of the sunniest in
having been a shortage of sunshine so far this year, and a firmly held belief
that the weather god's owed us big time after our wind-battered weekend to
Peebles last year; many of us had been following the weather forecast with
trepidation in the preceding days. Even in our wildest dreams, we could not
have expected the weather to be as kind as it ended up being. That, linked with
beautiful scenery, quiet Scotland East Lothian roads
and good company made for a very successful weekend.
Some of the group decided to picnic outside the church (another white one), whilst the remainder went for lunch in one of Gifford's two pubs. Whilst waiting for those in the pub to finish, some of the picnickers went for a coffee in a cycle-friendly cafe that had opened for business that very morning. Definitely one to check out if you're ever in the area. We regrouped and prepared for the off. A wedding party tried to hurry us up as they didn't want us in the background of their wedding photos. We couldn't understand why that would be a problem.
placated the ushers with Jelly Babies before we headed off. We never did get to
see the bride. Why oh why does there so often have to be a steep climb staright
after lunch? Instead of a nice flat bit of road to get back into the rhythm, we
climbed steeply leaving Gifford behind. We turned off and headed towards
Stenton on an almost deserted undulating road. Here we had to stop for what
looked like being the day's first puncture. Fortunately, the tyre was pumped
up, we were back on our way and it lasted all the way to Logan Dunbar.
We then took a detour to visit the beautiful .
It was well worth the detour as very few of the group had ever been there. We
stopped beside the play park. Someone spotted a flying fox ride. Yes, you've
guessed it, several members of the group just had to have a go. village of Garvald
We were glad of the cycle / foot path beside the busy A199, just north of the even busier A1 dual carriageway. This took us to the A198 towards
Following hearty breakfasts, no one felt ready for lunch. So we sat outside a pub and partook in coffee and ice creams instead.
So that was another 20 Milers weekend away ride over. We had been blessed with glorious weather. Not a drop of rain fell on us. The beautiful
East Lothian scenery had looked even
better bathed in bright sun light. Yes, some of the climbs had been a bit
challenging. But we had a great weekend that was enjoyed by all. Hopefully,
those present will be talking about it for months to come. It will be
remembered for very different reasons to last year’s brutal ride to Peebles.
Now to start thinking about next year.
Leader: GlennReport: Glenn
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim
Saturday, 14 May 2016
For today's ride we headed out to Craigie Farm by a somewhat less familiar route. Bright and sunny weather at the start was most welcome and must have influenced the fact that 38 riders turned up. This was the biggest turn out so far this year. Good to see a smattering of new faces and the welcome return of one of the group's stalwarts; who had been out of action for quite a few months. We had almost forgotten what it was like to split into two groups. A slight moment of panic set in when it was realised that only the leader and one other had been on the recce. Panic over. We had a leader and a second group leader, and two back markers were nominated and given a quick briefing of the route. One of the regulars realised they had a puncture just as we were preparing to leave. As ever, there were plenty offers of help. So that rider became a second group member by default. The first group set off. Puncture fixed, the second group rolled away from the start a few minutes later. We left the Meadows and headed to Leamington Bridge and the canal via Bruntsfield Links. After a very short stretch beside the canal, we headed to Fountain Park and down the Telfer subway, through Gorgie and up the zig-zags to join the Roseburn path to Craigleith. We joined the Telford path and made our way to Granton. We paused briefly beside the Granton gasometer. Even that managed to look impressive in the sunshine and it was beginning to get pleasently warm. We made our way along the busy Silverknowes Esplanade, stopping for a comfort break and ice creams at Cramond. Standing in the warm sun and looking out to Cramond Island, there was a slightly surreal moment when one of the group handed out Christmas cake. It seemed a bit strange, but the cake was lovely and greatly appreciated. The first group probably lingered longer than they realised. The second group had caught them up. This was their cue to mount up and head off. We passed the harbour and headed up the steep School Brae. Most of our rides see us whizzing down this road, so it came as something of a shock to have to climb up it. From there we headed along Whitehouse Road, turned right at the crossing and headed down to Cramond Brig before joining the path beside the A90. We carried on and made the right turn for the steep climb that took us up to Craigie Farm and our lunch stop, where the group spread out to enjoy alfresco dining.
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 9 May 2016
We've got our monthly ride coming up this Saturday (14th). The forecast is looking good for the week ahead, so we can hope for a reasonably warm and dry day for the ride.
Verity will be leading us on what looks like a very pleasant route. In the morning we'll be taking a tour of bike paths around the Edinburgh waterfront - Granton, Silverknowes and Cramond Harbour - and then on to the Dalmeny Estate in the afternoon.
Lunch will be at one of our more popular stopping places: Craigie's Farm. The cafe there has recently been enlarged, so there will be plenty of room for us to spread out, either inside or on the terrace. They offer a good range of snacks and hot meals, not to mention some very nice cakes.
The total distance will be a little over 20 miles. There will be a couple of moderately steep hills (including one just before lunch). Most of the route will be on quiet roads or paths with good surfaces, but there might be some short rough sections.
As always, we'll leave from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30.
Dawn Chapman will be using the abseil to raise money for The Yard. If you've ever cycled through the Rodney Street tunnel or the King George V Park, you will have seen The Yard. It looks like a glorified adventure playground, but it's really much more than that. It plays a very special role in helping autistic children and those with other disabilities.
Dawn will be doing her abseil on the afternoon of Sunday 26th June, at the South Queensferry end of the bridge. If anyone would like to cycle out there to watch the event and give their moral support, please let us know (use the email address in the side panel) and we will organise a ride.
You can read more about the abseil – and especially the reasons that The Yard is so important in Dawn's life – on this page. And once you have read it, please consider sponsoring Dawn in her fund-raising campaign for this very worthwhile cause. You can do that right there on the same page.
Saturday, 7 May 2016
We arrived at Blackness Castle and looked for picnic tables and benches that would afford us some shelter from the cool wind blowing off the Forth. Some were successful in their search; others less so. The two held up by the puncture soon joined us. The small castle shop sold more teas and coffees than ice creams on this ocassion. It wasn't the weather to linger over a leisurely picnic, so we finished up and headed off. Within a few minutes we were warming up on the toughest climb of the day. We then made our way to Philipstoun where we joined the Union Canal. After a few miles on the bumpy towpath, we left the canal and made our way to Kirkliston. From there paths and back roads took us to the edge of the Dalmeny Estate and the path beside the A90. Again we stopped on the bridge over the River Almond where three children were busy playing Pooh Sticks. From there we returned to Craigleith on the route we had taken out earlier.
Thanks to Mike for leading the first 20 Milers Extra of the year. There will be more to come as the summer progresses. Lets hope we can have weather that feels more like summer.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 2 May 2016
Length and pace
At 30 - 35 miles, our Extra rides are longer than our standard second-Saturday runs. We leave earlier, get back later, and go at a slightly faster pace. So please think carefully about whether this ride is right for you.
If you find our usual runs well within you capabilities, then you will have no problem with this one. But if you feel that our standard runs are at all demanding, then you might prefer to give this one a miss. Join us instead for our normal 20-mile ride the following week.
Place and time
For this Extra ride, we will start from our alternative meeting point at the Craigleith path junction (see here for directions). We will leave at 10 am - half an hour earlier than usual. I can't say for sure what time the ride will end, but I would expect it to be around 4 pm.
There are no cafés, pubs or restaurants in Blackness, so be sure to bring food for a picnic lunch. There is a small souvenir shop there, and this sells hot drinks, ice cream and a limited range of confectionery, but nothing more substantial. There are also toilets there.
Depending on progress and other factors, we might have an optional coffee stop near the end of the ride.
What if the weather is bad?
Light rain or a chilly wind won't put us off. But if the weather is particularly bad, we might opt for a shorter run with lunch in a café. We'll make that decision on the day.