Saturday, 11 November 2017
A rookie leader, and a large turnout
It's always good when someone that hasn't led a ride before steps up and volunteers. It often results in
a new approach, new ideas and a new route. It also bodes well for the future of the 20 Milers. Most of
today's route wasn't new, but we have usually done it in the opposite direction - so, different in that
way. The ride took us out to Musselburgh, then on to Dobbies Garden Centre via Dalkeith. We returned to town via Gilmerton and Craigmillar.
We had a fine, dry, sunny, if slightly chilly day. It was beginning to look as if a small turnout was on the cards. But, as the departure time grew closer, more and more riders arrived. Some cut it so fine that they arrived midway through the briefing. By the time we rolled away, there were thirty of us. Very impressive for a November ride. Two stalwarts of the group (who have only missed a handful of rides between them over a number of years) noted how often there has been the situation where a rookie leader has had to contend with a rather large group. Today was no exception. For a number of reasons, we also ended up riding as one group. From the Meadows we headed to the Innocent railway. Through the tunnel and on familiar paths as far as Musselburgh station. We had a stop there in the sunshine for sweets and cake. All replenished, we headed off again. We crossed the main road into Musselburgh. It was easier than usual as the traffic was snarled up and going nowhere due to what looked like a nasty accident. From there the delightful path beside the River Esk took us to Whitecraig and on to Dalkeith. Some twiddling through back streets, through parkland and we found ourselves at a kissing gate that brought us out into a new housing estate. Not sure who thought it would be a good idea to put a kissing gate on a recognised cycle path. It certainly made getting thirty cyclists through quite a chore. After that we negotiated the horrible Eskbank roundabout, crossed the busy A7 and arrived at Dobbies for lunch. The leader told everyone we would be leaving at 1345. Despite how busy the resturant was, we all got served quite quickly. Thirty-five minutes earlier than expected, the leader told us all that we were ready to leave. Alas, one rider had just gone to get a second coffee and a cake. As their bike was locked to two others, that meant at least three of us would not be leaving early. What with that and others wandering round the garden centre, we eventually left at 1345.
Leader: Julia L
Map trace: Jim
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My first time out with the 20 Milers and a very enjoyable ride. Good company, lovely weather and an excellent leader (Julia) who dealt with all the tribulations of poor infrastructure etc with authority and made me feel very confident in her leadership. Also stirling work from Mike, our backstop.
I've led informal rides in the past and have to compliment you all on keeping together and keeping up - especially in such a large group.
See you again soon.
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