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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sunshine on Ratho

Today's ride saw us head out to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena; the largest indoor climbing wall in the world. The route was not the most direct we could have taken. But that made it all the more interesting. With a lovely sunny morning that was reasonably mild, we were expecting a good turnout. In the end there were only 18 of us which was surprising and slightly disappointing. But in amongst those was one of our regular riders on his recumbent trike and a visitor from across the pond. The visitor from Chicago had decided to stay on for a couple of days after a business trip and try cyling in a city he had never visited before. He hired a bike, found out about the 20 Milers and joined us. We knew we could show him some lesser known parts of Edinburgh that only the most adventurous of tourists would find without local guides. David led us away from the Meadows in one group towards Whitehouse Loan, where we had to negotiate our first set of roadworks. We made our way through the quiet back streets of Morningside; crossed the busy Comiston Road and into the lovely Braidburn Valley Park. Those that hadn't been through it before, were very impressed. Leaving the park behind, we made our way through another one - Colinton Mains Park. From there we made our way past the military houses close to Redford Barracks to join the busy Redford road. We had a brief comfort stop on Colinton Road. From there we made our way onto NCN 75 beside the Water of Leith and headed towards Balerno. Turning off the cycle path, we rode through Riccarton and entered the Heriot Watt University campus by the back entrance. After winding our way through the campus, we crossed the busy A71 Calder Road. From there we followed Hermiston House Road, turning off to join the Union Canal towpath. Just before the Bridge Inn we rode past the relatively new Ratho Marina. This was a lovely little marina that many of the group hadn't seen before. A bit further along the towpath and the leader brought us to a halt at the bottom of a steep flight of steps. The Climbing Arena and lunch was at the top of these steps. Two riders were needed to carry the trike up. One by one, all the bikes were carried to the top. From there a short ride saw us all arrive on the balcony where most of us would eat our lunches. It was like a summer's day. Very warm, sunny and no wind. There were one or two wasps about to annoy us. But everyone enjoyed lunch. We may be well into next year before we have lunch sitting outside in such perfect conditions again.

Unfortunately, the first thing to do after lunch was go back down the steps. The group was soon back on the towpath heading back the way we had come. The sun disappeared behind clouds and a cool breeze picked it. Along this stretch, several riders stopped to put on an extra layer. We left the towpath and made our way to Edinburgh Park. From there we took the cycle path beside the tram line through Sighthill and Broomhouse. We crossed the tram tracks and made our way past the imposing Jenners Depository. We had to contend with more diversions and roadworks to get past Murrayfield and make our way into Roseburn. From there, the familar route via Dalry Road, the Telfer subway and Leamington Bridge took us back to the Meadows. Thanks to David for leading an interesting ride. We had succeeded in showing Our friend from Chicago some less familiar parts of Edinburgh, well away from the usual tourist haunts. So if you're reading this, intending to visit Edinburgh and fancy seeing some less familar parts by bike; sort out hiring a bike and the 20 Milers will make you most welcome.

Leader: David
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn and Mike
Map trace: Jim

Monday, 3 October 2016

October ride this coming Saturday

Our next ride will be this coming Saturday (8th October). David will be our leader for the day. I don't know the exact route, but I can tell you that it will be about 24 miles, mainly on paths and quiet roads, but with one busy road crossing to negotiate. There will also be a flight of fairly steep steps which we will have to haul our bikes up (and, later, down).

Our lunch stop will be the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) - the largest indoor climbing wall in the world. There is lots of seating here, both on the spacious terrace and in the centre itself, with dramatic views over the 25-metre high wall. The snack bar serves a reasonable selection of food, but we have often found the service quite slow, so if you want to avoid a long wait in the queue, consider bringing your own food for a picnic lunch.

As always, we'll set out from the north end of Middle Meadow walk at 10.30. There's no need to let us know whether or not you can make it. Just turn up on the day.

A reminder

While I have your attention, could I remind you of the importance of bringing a spare inner tube on our rides. Doing so won't prevent you getting a puncture, but it will make it very much easier to get you back on the road if a puncture does strike. If you don't know what size or type of tube to bring, ask at your favourite bike shop. If you don't know how to replace a tube, don't worry: there are usually willing hands available to help.

If your wheels don't have quick-release levers, please also bring a suitable tool for removing the wheel. Again, your local bike shop will advise on this if necessary.

Looking ahead

One or two of our members have already asked me if we will be having our usual Christmas morning ride this year. Yes, we will. And because Christmas falls on the last Sunday of the month, this year's event will be a joint venture with EasyCycle. I don't have any further information at this point, but you can be assured that the ride will go ahead.