Monday, 18 June 2018
This week sees the summer solstice: the longest day of the year. To mark the occasion, we are organising a ride for Friday evening. We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We'll set out at 19:00, aiming to finish about 21:30. Sunset is not until 22:03, so the entire ride should take place in daylight, but I advise you to bring lights anyway, in case of delay and to see you home.
This will be a leisurely ride, taken at our usual easy pace. We'll stay mainly near the city centre and on the North Edinburgh bike paths. There will be an optional ascent of Calton Hill towards the end, but no other serious hills or other difficulties. The total distance will be about 14 miles.
There won't be a meal or refreshment stop during the ride, but we'll finish near a pub in case anyone wants to go for a drink afterwards. By all means bring some nibbles on the ride if you want to keep the hunger pangs away.
Like all our rides, this one is free and open to all, with no need to book in advance. Feel free to tell your pals about it.
Other evening rides
Ours isn't the only evening run this week. Both CTC and our own Jim Cameron have their usual evening outings, on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. And Laid Back Bikes have a special ride on Tuesday evening for those interested in recliners, trikes, cargo bikes, tandems and the like; this includes a behind-the-scenes visit to their shop in Viewforth. Full details of these rides (and many others) can be found as usual at www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.
Our next daytime rides will be on 14th July (our usual monthly run) and 21st July (our third Extra of the season). I hope to see you at one or more of these events.
Saturday, 9 June 2018
A turnout of twenty-five riders was respectable; but given the lovely weather we might have expected
more. As ever, it was good to see some new faces in the mix. A few of our regulars were abscent; they were off on a challenge to ride 100 miles in a day. The days where we could muster numbers in the high thirties seem to be gone. At least it meant we only needed one group today. Followimg the leader's briefing; for the second time in a month, we set off on foot wheeling our bikes past the roadworks on Middle Meadow Walk. Once clear, we mounted up and rode off towards Bruntsfield Links. From there, the back streets of Morningside took us to Braidburn Valley Park. Through the park, we continued to follow the Braid Burn and made our way through back roads in the Redford area, emerging on Redford Road. A short spell on that road and we turned left into Redford Drive.
Road. The road was in a terrible state and we all had to be aware of the awful potholes that could so easily catch out the unwary; especially on a descent. We all made it safely down into Balerno. There was a long queue of traffic on the main road out of town due to temporary traffic lights. The group circumvented these, and soon we had left the busy road behind and were enjoying the Water of Leith path. Onwards through the Colinton Tunnel (which always reminds the writer of the "Italian Job") to the canal. Here, we would usually follow the canal back into town. But not this time. The leader took us away from the canal on an unfamiliar [to many] route through Redhall. We crossed Longstone Road and a [very easy to miss] cut-through beside the Longstone Inn took us onto a path that led to Stenhouse. From there we went through Saughton Park and on to Murrayfield where preparations were under way for the evening's Rolling Stones concert. Through Roseburn Park, and the familiar route via Russell Road, Dalry Road, the Telfer subway, Leamington Bridge and the King's Theatre saw us return to the Meadows.
Thanks to David for leading us on such a lovely route through the Pentlands on such a glorious day.
Interesting little twist near the end by taking us through Redhall and Longstone - somewhere very few of us had been before.
Map trace: David
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
We've got our June ride this coming Saturday (9th). David will be taking us along the classic Reservoir Route on the edge of the Pentlands. This is a very scenic route, away from busy roads and traffic, and with excellent views.
There will inevitably be a fair bit of climbing (this is the Pentland Hills, after all). But we'll take it at our usual steady pace and cheerfully wait for stragglers. Most of the uphill work will be in the morning, so we'll have some nice freewheeling in the afternoon. Apart from a mile or so on a rough track, we will be on good surfaces most of the time. The total distance will be 22 miles.
Our lunch stop will be at the Harlaw Reservoir. I suggest you bring a picnic. Although there is a snack bar at the reservoir, it serves only a limited range of food and there is usually a long queue. A toilet is available at the visitor centre.
As always, we'll meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure. If the weather is really bad, we might opt for a shorter route with a cafe stop; we'll make that decision on the spot.
We are also planning an additional ride for later in the month. This will be an evening run on Friday 22nd June to celebrate the (approximate) summer solstice. I'll post details as they get firmed up. (Note that this will be in addition to Jim's weekly evening ride, which will be the day before.)
We've got two rides planned for July: our standard run on the 14th and our third Extra of the year on the 21st. Again, more details as and when.
Saturday, 2 June 2018
Maybe potential riders had taken more notice of the forecast for thunderstorms than appreciated how warm it was at the time leading up to departure; but a turn out of just twelve riders was a little disappointing. Those that stayed away ended up missing a great ride in lovely weather. Following a briefing from the leader, we headed off on the familiar route via Silverknowes and Barnton to Cramond Brig. To everyone's surprise, the leader swept across the bridge there without stopping - an almost unheard of occurence! We took the path beside the A90 and on into Dalmeny village. From there we made our way past the new houses and through the back streets of South Queensferry to the Forth Bridges Viewpoint, where we had a comfort stop. From there, we headed onto the Forth Road Bridge. It is so nice now it is almost free of traffic - so much quieter; although everything still vibrates as a bus goes past. It was warm and there was barely any wind, but the mist did somewhat spoil the views.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 28 May 2018
We've got the second of our Extra rides planned for this coming Saturday. Verity will be leading us on a sortie over the Forth Road Bridge and into Fife with a lunch stop in Dunfermline. The whole route will be on roads and well-surfaced paths, but that includes a couple of stretches on main roads that might be busy with traffic. Verity points out that Dunfermline was built on high ground, which means that there will be a long-ish climb just before lunch (but a nice freewheel just after). The total distance will be about 35 miles.
Please keep in mind that these Extras go at a somewhat faster pace than our normal rides, with fewer stops. They are suitable for those of our riders who find our usual runs well within their capabilities, less so for those who are less fit or who haven't cycled for a while.
By the way, if you haven't ridden over the Forth Road Bridge recently, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the change. Since the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing last autumn, most of the traffic has disappeared from the old bridge, so crossing it is a much more agreeable experience.
Our lunch stop on Saturday will be the delightful Pittencrieff Park in the centre of Dunfermline. This is an ideal spot for a picnic, so either bring some lunch with you or aim to pick up a sandwich at the nearby Tesco. There's also a cafe in the park that serves a good range of snacks and hot drinks.
Meeting time and place
For this ride, we'll meet at the Sustrans marker at the Craigleith path junction (see here if you need directions). Please aim to get there in time for a 10:15 departure.
Lots more rides
With summer now more-or-less under way, there are a lot more rides coming up. We've got our normal "second Saturday" runs on 9th June and 14th July, and another Extra on 21st July.
Jim is continuing his weekly Thursday evening rides; these start at 18:30 from the Victor Hugo café (corner of Melville Terrace and Livingstone Place). Other local cycling groups, such as Spokes, Mellow Velo and EasyCycle, also have rides that you are welcome to join. These vary from short easy rides to longer full-day runs and weekends away. And with the annual Edinburgh Festival of Cycling due to start soon, there will be the usual programme of cycling-related talks, workshops and entertainment.
You'll find details of all these events on the Cycling Edinburgh website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.
Saturday, 12 May 2018
Today's ride took us out to South Queensferry via the lovely Dalmeny Estate. Last year, today's leader led her first ever ride. On that occasion she set a precedent with there being two leaders. Today she was flying solo; thus proving to the group [and herself] that leading a ride is not as daunting as some would have you believe. Maybe that is why she received [an unheard of] round of applause following the pre-ride briefing.
It was great to be blessed with lovely weather. Warm, sunny, blue skies and little wind was the order of the day. A turnout of twenty four riders was good and meant we only needed one group. As ever, it was good to see some new faces. There is so much to be said for a group which has the philosophy of "no need to book, just turn up and enjoy the ride". The group walked away from the start point. Yes, walked! Half the width of Middle Meadow Walk had been dug up at that point, forcing us to walk along pushing our bikes for the first 100 yards of the ride. We remounted and rode to the Leamington Bridge via Bruntsfield Links. A short stretch on the canal towpath, down past Fountain Park, through the Telfer subway, Russell Road and we were riding up the zig-zags to join the Roseburn Path. The Roseburn and Telford Paths took us onwards to Granton, past the gasometer which was gleaming in the sunshine. From there it was down to the waterfront and along Silverknowes Esplanade to Cramond for a comfort and sweetie stop. A sharp little climb up School Brae followed to join Whitehouse Road. A right turn down the delightful little Peggy's Mill Road and we were on the River Almond Walkway. We had the mandatory stop at Cramond Brig. What should have been a quick stop ended up being more lengthy due to a mechanical problem requiring attention. We followed route N76 through the delightful Dalmeny Estate, which was lovely at this time of year in the sunshine. We followed the path that skirts the coast to emerge beside the Forth Rail Bridge. We thought the paths through the estate were busy; but that was nothing compared to how busy South Queensferry was. Even on nice days there is often a cool breeze blowing off the Forth. For once, this was not the case. Perfect picnic weather.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. The weather certainly helped. Thanks to Dawn on her first time as sole leader; and I'm sure she will have appreciated David's assistance as backmarker-cum-wingman.
Map trace: Jim
Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Just a quick reminder of this Saturday's ride, in which Dawn will be leading us out to South Queensferry. There will be a few moderate hills and a couple of short stretches on paths that might be a little rough or muddy. But apart from that, it promises to be a pleasant route with no particular difficulties.
South Queensferry offers a choice of cafés for lunch. If you prefer to bring your own food, you can enjoy a picnic on the benches overlooking the Forth.
As always, we'll gather at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure.
Looking further ahead, our next Extra of the summer will be on 2nd June, when we'll be crossing into Fife - more details of that one nearer the time.
Saturday, 5 May 2018
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 30 April 2018
This coming Saturday (5th May) sees the first of our summer season of Extra rides. These rides are a little longer than our usual "second Saturday" outings, and go at a somewhat faster pace - but always with the same sociable and friendly atmosphere. If you find our normal rides well within your capabilities, you should enjoy this Extra. But anyone who hasn't done much cycling during the winter, or has doubts about their fitness level, might prefer to give this one a miss.
Meeting place and route
For Saturday's run, we will meet at the Sustrans marker at the Craigleith path junction. See here if you are not sure where that is. We will aim to leave promptly at 10.15.
We will head out along NCN1 to South Queensferry, then follow the John Muir Way through the Hopetoun Estate and along the coastal path to Blackness. This part of the route is particularly pleasant, with reasonably good path surfaces, excellent views and no bad hills.
But that will change after our lunch stop, with a killer hill to start the afternoon, followed by a short stretch on a busy road. But things will soon improve, with quiet roads and only few gentle hills as we head inland. We'll take the canal towpath from Philpstoun to Niddry Castle, then return to our start point via Kirkliston and the Carlowrie Road.
The total distance will be about 32 miles. I expect the ride will finish around 4 pm, depending on various factors.
Our lunch stop will be a picnic in the grounds of Blackness Castle. There is no café or pub at the castle, so please bring your own lunch. There is, however, a gift shop where you can buy hot drinks (from a vending machine) and a limited range of confectionery and ice cream. There are toilets there as well.
Since our last visit to Blackness, a small shop has opened in the village (about half a mile from the castle). They sell filled rolls, but the choice might be limited, so it might be wise not to rely on it.
What if the weather is bad?
A slight drizzle or chilly breeze won't put us off. But if the weather is really atrocious, we might do a shorter ride, possibly with a café stop either for coffee or lunch. We will make that decision at the start point.
Remember, all our rides are free and open to all. There is no booking system, and no need to let anyone know in advance whether or not you will be coming..
And whether or not you can make it on Saturday, we have our normal monthly ride the following weekend. I'll post a reminder of that one here nearer the time.
Saturday, 14 April 2018
The route for today's ride started as an attempt to circumnavigate Edinburgh Airport by the shortest route. Whilst recceing the route, we made a few changes and tweaks such that it should perhaps best be described as a ride to Kirkliston.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. We visited places that were new to many; and of course, how nice it was to have some warm and dry weather. Please let this be the start of some decent weather. It really did feel as if winter would never come to an end.
Monday, 9 April 2018
We've got our April ride this Saturday (14th). I hope you'll be able to make it.
Glenn will be leading us on an interesting circuit to the west of the city. We'll start out on the canal towpath as far as Hermiston House, then take back roads and bike paths to Ratho Station and Kirkliston. After lunch, we'll head back to town by the Carlowrie Road and NCN 1.
The total distance will be about 23 miles. There will be one steep hill and a few gentle ones. Most of the route will be on firm surfaces except for about a mile on a narrow path which might be muddy.
Our lunch stop will be at a venue which we haven't visited before as a group: the Conifox Garden Centre near Kirkliston. They have a restaurant with an extensive menu, as well as a large picnic area for those who prefer to bring their own food.
The meeting time and place are the same as ever: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk.
This year's Pedal on Parliament takes place on the 28th of this month (see www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk for details). I don't yet know if we will be organising a 20-Milers contingent to take part. If we do, I'll post details here.
And on 5th May, we've got our first Extra of the season. These are longer rides which go a little faster than our normal runs. For this first one, we'll be heading to Blackness Castle. I'll post more details here nearer the time.
Finally, Jim will be starting his season of summer evening rides quite soon. Again, I'll post more details as they become available.
Saturday, 10 March 2018
The key word for today's ride was "falls". Firstly, the rain never stopped falling. We had two riders
fall in the slippery conditions and lunch was taken at the appropriately named, "Cramond Falls Cafe".
All too soon it was time to venture back out into the rain. There were the inevitable moans that come
when wet clothes and gloves have to be put back on. At least it wouldn't take long to get back to town; most of the mileage had been covered before lunch. As so often seems to be the case straight after lunch (even on nice days), we had a stiff little climb up School Brae to contend with. The climb over, we had a stretch on the flat followed by a downhill. We were then on familiar territory. Through Barnton, paths took us back to Craighleith and onto the Roseburn Path, down the zig-zags, through the Telfer subway and along the canal to Leamington Bridge. Here the leader declared the ride over. Thanks to Jenny for leading an interesting ride and managing to keep our spirits up on such a miserable day. Next time she leads, let's hope the weather is kinder to us.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 5 March 2018
This month's ride will take place on Saturday (10th March). Jenny Tizard will be leading us on a tour of Edinburgh's waterfront, from east to west. I understand the route will include a few wiggles that might be unfamiliar to most of us, which should make for an interesting ride.
For our lunch stop, we will aim for Cramond. Those of us who are foolish enough to bring a picnic will find a nice bench by the river. The rest of you can head for the comfort of the Cramond Falls cafe with its open fire.
After lunch, we'll head back to town via NCN 1, arriving back at the Meadows around mid-afternoon.
The total distance will be about 20 miles. There will be two steep-ish climbs, but there will be no other difficulties. The route will be almost entirely on well-surfaced roads and paths.
Time and place
We'll meet as usual at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, leaving at 10.30.
Please keep in mind that the above details are provisional. We always reserve the right to alter the route or the lunch arrangements at the last minute - especially if the weather is bad or if there is a risk of ice or snow on the paths. But the meeting time and place won't change.
Saturday, 10 February 2018
Today's ride saw us explore some of the bike paths and quiet roads in the south of the city. We also
found a lunch venue we had never used before. As the 20 Milers enters its fourteenth year, it is
inevitable that we often find ourselves visiting places we have been many times before. So credit to
today's leader for devising a route that included some unfamiliar places weaved in amongst the sections we know so well.
Thanks to Verity for leading an enjoyable ride. Good to visit less familiar places, and all credit for
finding a new lunch venue - one I'm sure we will be happy to use again.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 5 February 2018
We've got our next ride on this coming Saturday (10th February). I hope you'll be able to join us.
Verity will be leading us on a tour of bike paths and quiet roads in the south of the city. Our route will include Danderhall, the Drum, Gilmerton, Burdiehouse Valley Park, Mortonhall and Braidburn Valley Park, finishing with a loop to Colinton and back along the Water of Leith. As far as gradients are concerned, I'm told that we can expect undulations rather than killer hills. The total distance will be about 23 miles, mainly on good surfaces but with a few rough tracks and a couple of short sections on main roads.
For our lunch stop, Verity has managed to find a venue that we have not visited before as a group. This is the café at the Braid Hills Golf Centre in Liberton. Their menu includes a range of sandwiches, baked potatoes, burgers and the like. As always, you have the option of bringing your own lunch if you prefer.
We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure. We should get back to the Meadows around 15:00 or so, which will be well before dark (sunset is at 17:08), but it might be wise to bring lights in case we get delayed, especially if you live some distance from the end point.
Remember, our rides are free and open to all, with no advanced booking.
Monday, 15 January 2018
With Alan Orr leading, we set off towards the Union Canal. Usually when we take the canal towpath, we head straight down Leamington Terrace to join the path near the lift bridge. Today, just for a change, Alan took us through Morningside, along Balcarres Street and through the woods on the northern flank of Craiglockhart Hill, eventually reaching the canal at Allan Park. We stayed on the towpath for three miles of easy pedalling, keeping up a brisk average of around 14 mph.
Leaving the canal at Gogar Station Road, we headed north for a couple of miles before crossing the Glasgow Road by the RBS footbridge. After passing the tram depot and the new Edinburgh Exchange station, we turned up Turnhouse Road, aiming for Cammo Park.
Up to now, the route had been familiar to most of us. But then came an unexpected new section. Thanks to a slight navigation error, we missed the planned right turn, and didn't realise our mistake for at least another mile. Rather than turning back, we took the next turning on the right, which was Turnhouse Farm Road. This proved fortuitous. The road in question, which was very quiet, meandered through pleasant woodland before joining the Cammo Road to the north of the country park. We thus avoided the unpleasant path that runs parallel to Maybury Road (where we often have to face fast oncoming traffic), but at the expense of only very little extra pedalling.
For the next section, we had to negotiate the temporary bike lane along the hard shoulder of the busy Queensferry Road. This arrangement is the result of the closure of the Burnshot Bridge, which normally carries cyclists (and other traffic) across the dual carriageway to the Kirkliston Road. The bridge closed last May, hence the need to use the temporary path. But changes have taken place since our previous visit. The bridge has now been completely demolished, and what looks like a narrow footbridge has been erected in its place. However, this is currently fenced off. Meanwhile, it appears that the temporary route on the hard shoulder is being widened and turned into a proper bike (and pedestrian) path. Whether this arrangement is permanent, or whether the above-mentioned footbridge will be available for us to use, remains to be seen.
Fortunately, we were soon clear of this problematical stretch. The only remaining obstacle between us and lunch was the hill leading to Craigie's Farm, which we tackled if not with enthusiasm then at least with hunger. Craigie's is one of our more popular lunch venues, with plenty of room for us to spread out in the spacious café and a good range of snacks on the menu.
For the return leg, Alan took us down the far side of Craigie Hill, then across the Queensferry Road to join NCN 1. The last half-dozen miles proceeded without incident as we followed the familiar route across Cramond Brig, through Barnton and onto the Roseburn Path. A few of the group peeled off along the way, with most of the riders returning to the Meadows at just before 3 pm – plenty of time for a coffee before dark.
Photos: Mike and Verity
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
We've got our monthly run this coming Saturday (13th). I hope you'll be able to join us.
Alan (Orr) will be leading us on a circuit of bike paths and quiet roads to the west of the city, with a lunch stop at Craigie's Farm. The total distance will be just about 20 miles, most of which will be on firm surfaces, although there will be an occasional section that might be rough or muddy. The only serious hill of the day will be the climb up to Craigie's from the Kirkliston Road (just before lunch).
Craigie's Farm has a spacious café serving a good range of soups, salads and sandwiches. There is also a terrace for those who prefer an al fresco lunch. Note that the lunch break will be fairly late - we'll do most of the mileage in the morning - so adjust your appetites accordingly.
Our meeting point is the same as always: the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. Plan to get there in time for a 10:30 departure. The ride should end before dark, but I would advise you to bring lights in case we get delayed.
As always, the meeting point and start time are fixed, but the route and lunch stop are subject to change, depending on conditions on the day.
A reminder ...
I'll take this opportunity to remind you to bring a spare inner tube on all our rides if at all possible. Changing an inner tube is a lot faster than repairing a puncture. Don't worry if you don't know how to change a tube; there are usually people willing to help if the need arises. If you don't know what size of inner tube you need, just ask at your favourite bike shop.
That's all for now. Remember, there is no advance booking for our rides. If you are planning to join us, just turn up on the day.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Today, we opened the 20 Milers 2018 account with a Back-to-Basics ride to Craigmillar Castle. We ran one of these rides early last year to address concerns that some of our rides were becoming faster, longer and more demanding than expected. A year on, these concerns remain; hence the need for today's ride. We don't want to frighten off potential riders that are capable of managing one of the group's rides.
Following a couple of wet days and rain during the night, the forecast suggested we would be in for a bright, sunny, but very cold day. There was more cloud cover than expected, but fortunately no sign of ice as we began to assemble at the start. Credit where credit is due, the forecast was spot on. The sun did come out, it remained dry, but it was bitterly cold as the day wore on. A turn out of sixteen was respectable under the circumstances. It was great to see some new faces amongst the regulars - just what we wanted. Following a briefing from the leader [where he explained the reason for this ride], we rolled away in one group and made our way to the Innocent Railway. Through the tunnel, onwards past the Range and onto the Brunstane path to emerge at the Booker cash and carry on the edge of Musselburgh. We then took the road towards Portobello, turning onto the prom at Joppa where we paused to regroup. A strong wind was blowing off the sea - that sort that cuts right through one, regardless of how many layers one has on. It really felt as if the wind had come non-stop from the Arctic! Needless to say, we didn't hang around for long. It was a relief to leave the prom and head inland. Out of the wind, we had a quick sweetie stop before taking the bridge over the Craigentinny railway sidings.
Thanks to Jim for leading us on an interesting ride. There is a plan to run another Back-to-Basics in the spring; when hopefully, the weather will be warmer and result in a larger turn out. We have our usual (second Saturday of the month) ride this coming Saturday. As ever, no need to book - just turn up.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 1 January 2018
We've got an additional ride this coming Saturday (6th January), which Jim will be leading. This will be a Back-to-Basics ride, similar to the one we did this time last year. It will be a half-day run, taken at an easy pace. If you haven't done much cycling this winter, or if you are feeling below your normal fitness level, this ride is for you.
We'll start from our usual spot on Middle Meadow Walk at 10:30. I don't know the route yet, but the aim is for it to be mostly flat and avoiding busy roads. We'll plan to finish by 13:00. There won't be an official café or pub stop en route, but if anyone wants to find somewhere for lunch after the ride, they will be welcome to do so.
The ride is free and open to all, with no advance booking. Even if you have been cycling all winter, and you are above your normal fitness level, you will still be welcome to join us - provided you are happy with the slower pace.
And don't forget that we've got our normal monthly ride the following Saturday. I'll post a reminder of that next week.