Monday, 9 December 2019
We've got two rides coming up this month. I hope we'll see you on one or both of them.
December 20-Milers: Saturday 14th
Our main December run takes place this coming Saturday. The route is one that Jim pioneered last winter but which we had to curtail because of bad weather. We will be heading to the delightful Covenanters Wood in Dreghorn, where we will have another chance to see the giant sequoia trees: something more usually associated with the redwood forests of California than the south west of Edinburgh.
We will then head out along paths and quiet roads to our lunch stop, which will be at the Heriot-Watt campus at Riccarton. The cafeteria there serves a range of sandwiches and snacks, usually with at least one hot dish on offer. There is plenty of indoor seating there, so those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch won't have to huddle in the cold for once.
In deference to the short daylight hours, this won't be a long ride: about 19 miles in all. There will be a steep climb near the start and a couple of other moderate hills along the way, but the rest of the route should be reasonably flat. Most of the route will be on firm surfaces except for a few short sections that might be a little rough and possibly muddy.
The logistics are the same as always. We'll meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. It will be dark at about 4 pm on Saturday, and although we should be back in town before that, you will almost certainly need lights to see you home after the ride.
Christmas morning ride: Wednesday 25th
For the ninth year running, we will be having what has become a traditional event for our group: a half-day ride in and around the city centre on Christmas morning. This will be a leisurely ride with several interesting stops, starting at 10.30 and ending at 13:00 at the latest. I'll post more details nearer the time.
Needless to say, both the above runs are free and open to all, so feel free to tell your pals. And, of course, there is no advance booking for any of our runs.
Saturday, 9 November 2019
A frosty start gave way to chilly, but bright and sunny weather for today's ride to Dalkeith via a circuitous and unfamiliar route. The last few rides seem to have followed the pattern of a familiar destination being reached by a new and interesting route. Today's ride continued in that vein. The good weather linked with some lovely paths leading us through trees resplendent in their glorious autumn colours made for a great day to be out cycling. A great advert for keeping cycling despite the arrival of winter.
Thanks to Graham for making this, his first ride as leader so successful. Everyone enjoyed the ride and it was good to reach a familiar destination by a new, interesting and unfamiliar route. Most of us could say we had been somewhere new today. Thanks also to Rob for fixing the problem with the rider's chain and allowing him to continue the ride. As the backmarker said, "it is good when someone has the right tools, and even better when they know how to use them".
Photos: Graham and Glenn
Monday, 4 November 2019
For our ride this coming Saturday (9th), we will be heading to Dalkeith. This is a familiar destination for most of us, but our leader, Graham, has managed to devise an interesting and unusual way of getting there. The total distance will be about 22 miles (or a little shorter if the weather is bad), with no serious difficulties of any kind.
For lunch, we will make for our usual venue, the Blacksmith's Forge. This is a Wetherspoons pub, so expect basic food at reasonable prices rather than gourmet cuisine. Those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch will head to the nearby King's Park. There is also the option of picking up a snack from the supermarket opposite the park.
We'll gather as usual at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure. It should stay light until about 16:30. The ride will probably have ended by then, but it would be wise to bring lights in case of delay, especially if you have some distance to cycle to get home afterwards.
I know winter is on its way, but please don't let that stop you from cycling in the months ahead. After all, the best way to face the dark months is to keep fit and active, and what better way to do that than to get out on the bike whenever possible.
If you prefer shorter rides in the winter, EasyCycle have half-day runs on the last Sundays of the month. The next one is on Sunday 24th November. It starts at 10:30 from in front of the Söderberg café (formerly Peter's Yard) in Middle Meadow Walk. As with our own rides, it is free with no advance bookings.
We will also have our traditional half-day ride on Christmas morning. Look out for more details of that event nearer the time.
That's all for now. I hope to see you on Saturday, or whenver.
Saturday, 12 October 2019
Until we arrived at the start of today's ride, only the leader knew where we were heading. There were a few raised eybrows amongst the regulars when it was announced we would be heading to South Queensferry. We were last there in August; but on that ocassion we took a circuitous route with quite a few unfamiliar sections. All credit to today's leader for managing to do the same without any duplication of August's unfamiliar sections.
Through the estate which was looking beautiful in the sunshine, up a stiff little climb and down a lovely descent and we were back at Cramond Brig. A brief halt (as is the custom) on the bridge before heading back to town. There were no further delays and the route was the usual one back through Barnton to Craigleith, down the Roseburn Path to the Russell Road zig-zags. Here the leader declared the ride officially over.
Photos: Glenn Map trace: Jim
Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Our next ride will take place this coming Saturday (12th). I don't yet have any details of the route or destination; all will be revealed at the start. As always we'll meet at 10.30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride is free and open to all, with no advance booking.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
Saturday, 28 September 2019
The last 20 Milers Extra of the year signals the end of summer. Having a large turnout, lovely weather and a new route and destination enabled us to go out on a high. We headed out into a delightful, quiet and unexplored part of Midlothian with a lunch stop in Pathhead. Deserted country lanes, open countryside devoid of other people and the crossing of a shallow ford made for a great ride.
It's always good to hear people say how much they have enjoyed a ride, and plenty said that today. Somewhere new for most, lovely quiet roads, a real sense of being out in the sticks, wonderful scenery and great weather - a fitting finale to this year's series of Extra rides. They will start again in May next year. But of course, the usual 20 Milers rides will continue throughout the year - all welcome, free and no need to book.
Map trace: Jim
Tuesday, 24 September 2019
We've got time to squeeze one more Extra ride into our programme before autumn sets in. This Saturday (28th), Glenn will be leading us on what promises to be an attractive circuit of the eastern fringes of Midlothian. Most of the route will be on quiet roads, taking in some pleasant villages. The route will be similar to one that Glenn led two years ago but with the direction reversed.
For this ride, we will meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, in time for a 10:30 departure. As you know, our Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. This one will be about 30 miles from Fisherrow back to Fisherrow (and Fisherrow is about six further miles from central Edinburgh). I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but it's likely to be around 4 pm.
The route will involve a bit of climbing, but no particularly nasty hills. One interesting feature will be the need to ford a river - more about that when we get there.
For lunch, we will stop at a pub in Pathhead - or bring a packed lunch if you prefer. Most of the mileage will be in the morning, so lunch will be on the late side. You might want to bring an extra snack to keep the hunger pangs away.
Remember, all our rides are "just turn up". There is no advance booking, and no need to reply to this post.
Saturday, 14 September 2019
Thanks to Neil for leading us to a familiar location by an unfamiliar route. Sometimes a little fore thought and planning is all it takes to mix things up and make an old ride seem like a new one. We may do twelve rides a year and have been doing them for fifteen years, but we are far from running out of places to go or interesting ways of getting to them. Last but by no means least, thanks to Yaz for doing a great job of back marking on her first time in the role. Well done. Next step will see her leading a ride.
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Our September ride takes place this coming Saturday (14th). We'll be heading out to the south west of the city, taking in Colinton, Currie and Balerno. The total distance will be about 20 miles, with just a little moderate climbing - nothing too strenuous. Neil will be our leader.
We'll stop for lunch at the Heriot-Watt campus in Riccarton. This has a spacious cafeteria which offers a good selection of sandwiches and snacks, usually including at least one hot dish. There is also plenty of room there for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.
We'll set out at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride should finish around mid-afternoon.
Please keep in mind that, as with all our rides, the above information should be regarded as provisional. The meeting time and place are fixed, but we always reserve the right to vary the route and destination, depending on conditions on the day.
In addition to the above ride, Glenn will be leading our final Extra of the summer on the 28th of this month. I'll post more details of that event as they become available.
And finally ....
May I remind you to bring a spare inner tube on all our rides if at all possible. We can't guarantee that you won't get a puncture, but by carrying a spare tube you make it a lot easier to get back on the road if the unavoidable happens. Check with your favourite bike shop if you don't know what size or type of tube is right for your bike. And don't worry if you don't know how to change the tube; if a puncture strikes, there are usually willing hands available to help.
That's all for now. As I write this, the forecast for Saturday is for a warm and dry day, so we can look forward to another excellent day's cycling.
Saturday, 7 September 2019
Unfortunately, neither of the group's scribes were able to make today's ride to Humbie. Mike wasn't well and Glenn was recovering from a heavy crash on a recce ride the previous week. Apologies for no report. But by way of compensation, here are a few more photos than usual courtesy of Verity.
Apparently it was a great ride and everyone to enjoyed it.
Normal service should hopefully resume in time for next week's 20 Milers ride.
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 2 September 2019
We've got three rides planned for the coming month. Here are some details:
Saturday 7th September
This coming Saturday, Peter (Bennett) will be leading our fourth Extra of the summer. We'll be heading to a spot we have never visited before as a group: the delightful village of Humbie in East Lothian.
As you know, these Extra rides are longer than our standard runs and go at a slightly faster pace. Please keep that in mind if you haven't cycled for a while or are concerned about your fitness level. But for those of you who find out normal pace well within your capabilities, this ride should present no difficulties.
The ride will start earlier than usual, at 10:00. And we'll start from Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, not Middle Meadow Walk. The total distance from Fisherrow back to Fisherrow will be about 34 miles. If you are coming from central Edinburgh, you will need to add about six miles each way to that figure.
Most of the route will be on country roads with very little traffic. There will be some moderate climbing in the morning, followed by some nice downhill cruising on the return leg.
Our lunch stop will be at the Humbie Hub. This is a pleasant little café, serving soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and the like. It also has a small garden for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.
Saturday 14th September
Our standard "second Saturday" run this month will be a gentle ride in and around Colinton and Currie and on the Water of Leith path, with a lunch stop at the Heriot-Watt campus in Riccarton. Neil will be in charge. I'll post full details here next week.
Saturday 28th September
For our final Extra of the summer. Glenn will be conducting us into Midlothian, with a lunch stop at Pathhead. There will be some moderate hills as well as a short stretch on a busy main road, but most of the route will be on quiet lanes threading through some delightful (and less familiar) countryside. Again, expect more details nearer the time.
As always, these rides are all free and open to everyone, with no advance booking needed.
Saturday, 24 August 2019
Four weeks ago the recce for this ride was postponed due to heavy rain. What a difference a month makes! Today we were blessed with one of the best days of the year - bright sun shining down from a cloudless sky, lovely and warm with only the most gentle of breezes. A grand day to head out into East Lothian.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. Great weather, the lovely East Lothian countryside, not many hills and good company - cycling at its best. Thanks to Logan for leaving us this ride - a fitting legacy to our friend. As an additional link to Logan, the leader led today's ride on his road bike (first time on a group ride) which runs on a set of Logan's wheels.
Monday, 19 August 2019
We've got the third of our Extra rides this coming Saturday (24th). Glenn will once again be leading us into the East Lothian countryside. The total distance will be 45 - 50 miles, mainly on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, but with a couple of short stretches on main roads that might be busy with traffic. There will be a few hills, but no killers.
Remember, these Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. We maintain a slightly higher average speed, but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation. Most of our riders find the pace comfortable, but if you haven't cycled for a while or are concerned about your fitness level, you may prefer to give this ride a miss.
Our lunch stop will at the Merryhatton Garden Centre, where there is an above-average café serving a good range of light lunches (soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes, etc.) as well as more substantial meals. As always, you have the option of bringing food for a picnic lunch if you prefer.
Time and place
The ride will start from Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, which is about six miles from central Edinburgh. Please aim to get there in time for a 10:30 departure. There are toilets available at the start point. I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but it is likely to be after 4 pm.
As with all our rides, this one is free and open to all, with no advance bookings.
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Earlier in the week the forecast was promising a day of thundery showers. By this morning it sounded somewhat better - a mixture of showers and light rain with thundery showers arriving after five o'clock. In the end, our ride to South Queensferry was blessed with warm sunshine, not a drop of rain and everyone was safely home by the time the thundery downpour did eventually arrive. We have a ride to South Queensferry every year, so there is always the risk of it becoming rather familiar and lacking in interest. Not this time; the leader did us proud by picking a route that none of us had taken before. We even got tangled up with a parade.
Thanks to Alan for leading an enjoyable ride. It just goes to show that with a little thought and imagination, what looks set to be a somewhat predictable and familiar ride can easily become something more interesting. Thanks also to the weather for being on our side. None of us expected to stay dry all day and be concerned about forgetting to apply sun cream.
Map trace: None available
Monday, 5 August 2019
We've got our August ride this coming Saturday (10th). I don't have any details yet of the route, but I do know that we will be heading to South Queensferry. Alan will be in charge. There are several cafes in South Queensferry, as well as a good picnic spot overlooking the harbour and bridges.
As always, we'll set out at 10:30 from our usual meeting point in Middle Meadow Walk.
We've now fixed the dates for the remaining Extra rides of the summer. They are as follows:
24th August: Merryhatton Garden Centre in East Lothian. Glenn leading.
7th September: Peter leading. The date is fixed but the destination is not yet decided.
28th September: Glenn will be leading us into Midlothian.
7th September: Peter leading. The date is fixed but the destination is not yet decided.
28th September: Glenn will be leading us into Midlothian.
I'll let you have more details of the above nearer the time.
Saturday, 13 July 2019
Who can explain Scottish weather? All week, the forecasters had been promising us a fine, dry day for our July ride. And the day did indeed start dry and sunny. But within a minute of my setting out for our meeting point, the temperature dropped and the rain came down, sending me scurrying back indoors to pick up my helmet cover and a warm jacket.
Despite the change in the weather, 28 cyclists turned out for our ride to the Harlaw Reservoir at the edge of the Pentland Hills. Such a high number often sees us splitting into two groups in order to keep things manageable, but, after some discussion, we decided to keep together this time.
From Colinton, there are basically two routes up to Harlaw. The first climbs up to the Torduff and Clubbiedean reservoirs and then along a rough track to Easter Kinleith. The other follows Woodhall Road to Blinkbonny, then up the killer Currie Kirkgate. This time, we opted for the latter, partly to avoid the difficult paths by the reservoirs, and partly to get the climbing over in one go. Inevitably, we were very spread out on the Kirkgate ascent, but we all made it to the top without too much suffering.
By now, the rain, which had been hovering all morning, was clearly not going to return. By the time most of us were battling up the hill, the sky had brightened and the sun had come out. A few minutes after that, it was hot enough to encourage us to strip off our outer layers. It stayed warm and dry for the rest of the day.
After a long breather at the top of the hill, we set off for the last mile or so to our lunch spot. The Harlaw Reservoir was at its best in the sunshine. Unusually, we had the place almost to ourselves, the earlier rain having presumably discouraged other visitors. Most of us squeezed around the picnic tables behind the visitor centre, while others installed themselves on seats near the reservoir wall. Everyone had brought a packed lunch, which was fortunate given that the mobile snack bar that used to be parked here is no longer in business.
After a leisurely lunch break, we set off for the run back to town. This started with a somewhat rough ride alongside the Threipmuir Reservoir and through Redford Wood, followed by an exhilarating freewheel down the well-surfaced road to Balerno. After negotiating some unexpected road closures (which weren't there on the recce), we managed to get on to the Water of Leith path, and then on to the canal towpath to the Leamington Bridge.
On Bruntsfield Links the ride was officially terminated. At just over 20 miles, it wasn't as long as some of our recent outings, but it was not exactly a doddle either. Well done to everyone for making it up the big hill.
Leader, report and photos: Mike
Monday, 8 July 2019
We've got our July ride on Saturday (13th). For this month's run, we'll be heading to the edge of the Pentlands for a picnic at the Harlaw Reservoir - a particularly nice spot for an al fresco lunch. I hope you can join us.
As usual, we'll leave from Middle Meadow Walk at 10:30. It won't be a particularly long ride, but there will be a reasonable amount of climbing, especially near the start and again just before lunch (these are the Pentland Hills after all). We'll be rewarded with some excellent views and some lovely freewheeling in the afternoon. Most of the route will be on quiet roads and paths with good surfaces, but there will be about half a mile on a fairly rough track.
Keep in mind that we will be having a picnic lunch. There is no catering of any kind at the reservoir, so be sure to bring a packed lunch and something to drink. (The mobile snack bar that used to be parked at the reservoir has gone out of business. As far as I know, it has not been replaced.)
There is a single toilet at the reservoir. We will also stop for a comfort break in Colinton, about 40 minutes before lunch.
The ride will go ahead whatever the weather, but if the day is really bad, we might opt for a shorter low-level route, with a stop at a cafe or pub.
As you know, all our rides are free and open to all. There is no advance booking.
Saturday, 29 June 2019
For this, the second 20 Milers Extra ride of the year, we were expecting a straight forward run through the delightful East Lothian countryside. What we got was one of the most dramatic rides for quite a while. No disrespect to the good folk of the town, but the words "Haddington" and "drama" seldom appear in the same sentence. On the outward leg we had a rider fall and cut his head. Fortunately, we had a first aider on the group who was able to deal with the situation. On the return leg, the backmarker had to relinquish the role when a serious mechanical issue stopped them in their tracks.
Map trace: David
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Our second Extra of the summer will take place this coming Saturday (29th). Verity will be leading us into East Lothian, with a lunch stop in the delightful town of Haddington where there is a good choice of cafés and picnic spots.
Much of the route will be on bike paths, in particular the Longniddry and Pencaitland paths, both of which are fairly flat and have reasonably firm surfaces (albeit not tarmac). Other parts of the route will involve a few hills, especially in the afternoon, but nothing too challenging. There will be one short stretch on a busy main road where we will split into small groups for safety.
For this ride, we will meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, in time for a 10:30 start. The total distance (Fisherrow to Fisherrow) will be 33 miles. For those coming from central Edinburgh, add about eight miles each way.
The lunch stop will be relatively early, with most of the mileage in the afternoon. You may want to bring a biscuit or some fruit to sustain you on the return leg
Longer and faster
Please keep in mind that our Extra rides are longer than our usual "second Saturday" runs and go at a somewhat faster pace. Most of our regular riders find these rides are within their comfort zone, but it's something to take into account if you haven't cycled for a while or are unsure of your fitness level.
As I write, the forecast for Saturday is good, so this promises to be another enjoyable day.
Friday, 21 June 2019
In choosing a route for this year's summer solstice ride, I claim no points for originality. After looking for inspiration in various maps, I decided we could do no better than repeat the very pleasant run that we had this time last year. And why not? It was an attractive route, with a good mix of water, greenery and views – too good not to do again.
Eleven of us gathered at our usual spot in Middle Meadow Walk. It was a lovely bright evening. We set off at 7 pm, heading west down Lauriston Place, past the Usher Hall and across Lothian Road to Festival Square. A bit more weaving took us through the West End. We crossed the Water of Leith by way of the Belford Road bridge, pedalled past the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art to Ravelston Dykes, then down Garscube Terrace to join the Roseburn Path at Coltbridge.
We stayed on the path only as far as the Craigleith path junction (familiar to most of us as the starting point for some of our Extra rides). We then freewheeled down Craigleith Hill Avenue into Inverleith Park. After pausing to admire the particularly nice view of the Edinburgh skyline in the evening light, we continued round the sides of the Royal Botanic Garden to rejoin the bike path at Goldenacre. A few moments later we were at Five Ways, and then on the Hawthornvale Path to Lindsay Road. We had a long-ish stop by the cruise liner terminal, where we could just about glimpse the Royal Yacht Britannia in the middle distance. It's a pity that the public can't get a closer view of this magnificent vessel other than by buying a ticket. (We might have got closer, but unfortunately the Ocean Terminal was in the way.)
Waterfront and Shore
The next leg took us along a stretch of the Leith waterfront and the Shore (sorry about the cobbles). We soon reached the Water of Leith path, with the river looking particularly peaceful in the evening light. We left the path at St Mark's Park, passing the site of the recently-demolished Powderhall refuse depot. And what an improvement there is to the landscape now that that unlovely building has gone (happily, the Grade B listed office building and former stables have survived and are being refurbished).
We continued along McDonald Road, across Leith Walk and on to London Road. We then followed Royal Terrace (more cobbles) and Regent Road to one of our traditional stopping points: the Stones of Scotland Monument. In the late evening sunshine, the view from here over Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat was particularly striking. We took advantage of the stop to share some nibbles. We then moved on to tackle the only noticeable climb of the evening: Calton Hill.
If you haven't been to the summit of Calton Hill recently, you may be agreeably surprised by the changes. The area around the Playfair observatory has been landscaped and remodelled, and although it is has been somewhat commercialised with the arrival of an up-market restaurant, it now provides better access to the south west side of the summit, with much more room to enjoy the views over the city.
And so to the final leg of our ride: down the hill to Waterloo Places, then left at the Bridges, right into Chambers Street, arriving back at the Meadows shortly before 9.30 pm. The weather had stayed kind to us all evening, and nobody had complained about the repetition of the route. Maybe next year we will do somewhere different. Or maybe not.
Leader, report, photos: Mike
Monday, 17 June 2019
This coming Friday (21st June) is the summer solstice: the longest day of the year. We will be celebrating the event with our traditional mid-summer evening bike ride. Like all our rides, this one is free and open to all. I hope you will be able to join us.
This will be a leisurely ride, taken at an easy pace and with a few interesting stops along the way. Our route will mainly follow bike paths, quiet roads and parks around the city, and will take in the Leith waterfront, the Royal Yacht, the Stones of Scotland monument and the summit of Calton Hill. That last bit will be the only noticeable hill of the evening, with the rest of the route being reasonably flat.
We will meet at 7 pm, at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride will last about 2½ hours. There will be no café or pub stop during the ride, but if anyone wants to go for a drink afterwards, that can easily be arranged.
Although the ride should end before dark (sunset on Friday is at 10 pm), it would be advisable to bring lights in case we get delayed and also to see you home.
Remember, there is no advance booking for any of our rides. If you fancy joining us, just turn up at the appointed time and place.
Saturday, 8 June 2019
Today's ride could be summed up as, a low turnout; better weather than the forecast suggested; a relatively quick and trouble-free ride except for a puncture and arriving at our lunch stop very early. For the last few days the forecast had been telling us to expect a day of continual heavy rain. Perhaps that had frightened off a number of riders. Either that, or the lure of the Edinburgh World Naked Bike Ride had been too great! As it happened, the weather was nothing like as bad as expected. There was some rain at lunchtime and immediately after, but it could have been much worse. Even so, it was far from what we would expect in June.
A total of just eleven riders mustered at the start. It may well have been a record low for a June ride; more the sort of numbers we would associate with a winter's ride in bad weather. Once again, there was no need to consider splitting into two groups. After the obligatory leader's briefing, we left the Meadows and set off in the direction of Dalkeith. Taking the familiar route of the Innocent Railway, we soon left the Meadows behind. The pace was a little faster than some 20 Milers rides, but it presented no problem for those present and we made very good time. A smaller group meant we were all able to get across at traffic lights, so having to wait and regroup wasn't necessary. We were even able to cross the busy road through Newcraighall without delay, something that is almost unheard of. We then sped along the cycle path to Musselburgh station where we stopped as cakes and sweets were passed round. Perhaps we didn't really need them, but it's a long-held tradition of our rides. We pressed on and joined the River Esk path (known as the Grove to the locals) to Whitecraig. There followed a short stretch on the busy A6094 towards Dalkeith. Leaving that far-from-pleasant road behind, we were soon heading along a quiet road into Dalkeith Country Park. Past the impressive "big house" - Dalkeith Palace, and we left the country park to emerge on Dalkeith High Street. A short ride through the town and we arrived at our lunch stop at 1155. It has been a long time since we arrived so early to lunch. Three riders headed off for a picnic lunch, some went into the pub and the remainder decided to risk al fresco dining despite the sky looking rather grey. Lunch was eaten outside; but as the rain got heavier, everyone retreated inside.
Map trace: Jim
Wednesday, 5 June 2019
We've got our June ride this Saturday (8th). Jim will be leading us to Dalkeith. It should be a straightforward run of about 20 - 24 miles, with a few hills but no killers. For lunch, there is a choice between a picnic in the King's Park (bring a packed lunch or pick up a sandwich in the nearby Morrisons) or a pub lunch in the Blacksmiths Forge (Wetherspoons).
The details are the same as always. We'll meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure.
We have two more rides planned for this month. On Friday 21st, we will have our traditional summer solstice ride. This will be an evening ride, starting from Middle Meadow Walk at 19:00. And on Saturday 29th, Verity will be leading us to Haddington for our second Extra of the season.
I'll post a reminder and more details of each of these events her nearer the time.
Monday, 3 June 2019
The first leg of the route was a familiar one: NCN1 to Cramond Brig, the underpass and the new cycle track to the Carlowrie Road, and the railway path to Kirkliston. We stopped for a comfort break at the Kirkliston Leisure Centre, then continued west on the quiet back road past Niddry Castle. After four miles on the canal towpath, we reached Philpstoun, where we took another break (with some delicious home-made chocolate brownies on offer).
The next stage of the ride involved a notorious killer hill – one that we have often struggled up on our rides to Blackness Castle. This time, we had the pleasure of going down, which was most exhilarating. In no time at all, we were in Blackness village, from where we set off on the last leg of the morning. This took us on a new stretch of path along the shore of the Forth. This path replaces a rough footpath which was always difficult for cyclists. Now, apart from one unpaved section, it is a well-surfaced track offering delightful views across the firth. The path led us into Bo'ness, where we made our way to the terminus of the preserved Bo'ness and Kinneil railway.
The railway turned out to be an ideal lunch stop: lots of picnic tables, a spacious café, and plenty of interesting things to see. About half-way through the break, the whistle of an approaching train could be heard. Several members of the group rushed to the platform, where they caught a glimpse of a steam–hauled train arriving in the station. Most of us, it must be said, preferred to stay put and catch a glimpse of our lunch.
The day had stayed dry and reasonably warm, and there were no problems of any kind. Nobody had any difficulty in keeping up, and the ride was free of punctures and other mechanical difficulties. In short, a good start to the Extra season.
Leader, report and photos: Mike
Sorry, no map this time.
Monday, 27 May 2019
We've got our first Extra ride of the year this coming Saturday (1st June). These Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs, but we try to maintain the same friendly and unpressured atmosphere. If you are comfortable with our usual pace, you should enjoy these longer outings. But if you sometimes struggle to keep up, or haven't cycled for a while, you might prefer to give them a miss.
This week's ride
For our ride on Saturday, we will be heading to somewhere that we have never visited before as a group: the historic Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. Apart from its historical interest, the station there promises to be a good place for our lunch stop. It has picnic tables for those who like to bring a packed lunch (or you can pick up a sandwich in the Tesco next door). There is also a large café that serves soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and home-made cakes and scones.
The ride itself will be about 38 miles. We'll head out via Kirkliston, Niddry Castle and a short stretch on the canal, then drop down to Blackness and a new coastal path that will take us into Bo'ness. For the return, we'll keep to the coast, via the Hopetoun Estate and South Queensferry. Most of the route will be on well-surfaced tracks and roads, with just a few stretches that might be a bit rough. There will be a few hills, but no killers.
Note that most of the mileage will be in the morning, with a late lunch stop, so adjust your appetites accordingly.
Meeting time and place
For this ride, we'll meet at our alternative meeting point at the Craigleigh path junction (see here if you need directions). We'll set out at the earlier time of 10:15. As this is quite a long ride, we'll aim to leave punctually. It's difficult to know exactly when the ride will finish, but I think we should be back at the start point some time between 4 and 5 pm.
What if the weather is bad?
An occasional shower or a light drizzle won't put us off. But if the weather is particularly bad, we might opt for a shorter ride (but the meeting time and place will remain the same).
As with all our rides, this one is free and open to all. Just turn up if you would like to join us.
Friday, 17 May 2019
Here is an overview of the rides planned for June 2019. I'll post more information about each of these nearer the time.
Saturday 1st June. Our first Extra of the summer. These rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. We start a little earlier, finish a little later, and go at a slightly faster pace - but always with the same sociable atmosphere. For this first ride, we'll be heading west, starting at 10:15 from the Craigleith path junction.
Saturday 8th June. Our normal "second Saturday" run, starting as usual at 10:30 from Middle Meadow Walk. We'll be heading to Dalkeith.
Friday 21st June. An evening ride to celebrate the summer solstice. Meet at 19:00 at Middle Meadow Walk.
Saturday 29th June. Our second Extra of the season, heading east. We'll let you know the meeting time and place nearer the time.
In addition, the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling takes place in June. This consists of around 40 cycling-related events, including talks, workshops, cultural events, film shows and several rides. I've posted details of a few of these on www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk. You can pick up a copy of the full printed programme from local bike shops, leisure centres and public libraries.
Saturday, 11 May 2019
The question, "where is everyone?" summed up today's ride. It's late enough in the year for riders and bikes to have come out of winter hibernation; the sun was shining - we even got to eat lunch sitting outside in the pub beer garden and an interestingly different route was on the cards. But we still had a low turnout for a ride in May. Perhaps the fact that a couple of climbs and a reasonable amount of off-road riding lie ahead had kept some riders away. One rider was unfortunate to have a chain snap and one fell after hitting an hidden grate cover. The chain was repaired and the faller was shaken up, but uninjured.
Map trace: Sorry, none this time
Monday, 6 May 2019
Glenn will be leading our ride this coming Saturday (11th). We'll be heading east, taking in Musselburgh, Prestonpans, Tranent and Falside.
Please note that this ride will be a little longer and more difficult than our usual "second Saturday" outings. It will be about 26 miles, including a couple of steep hills and a few stretches on rough tracks. It should be perfectly do-able for most of us, but please keep this warning in mind.
Our lunch stop will be the Craig House hotel in Whitecraig. This is a Brewers Fayre pub, offering a basic menu of hot and cold dishes. The pub has a large garden, and there are also one or two places nearby suitable for those of us who prefer to bring our own food. Note that most of our mileage will be in the morning, with the lunch stop on the late side.
The meeting time and place are the same as always: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but, given its length, it is likely to be a little later than usual.
We've now fixed the dates of our first two Extras of the summer. These will take place on 1st June and 29th June. I'll send you details of each of these events nearer the time.
The evening rides season has now started. CTC have a ride every Tuesday evening, while our own Jim Cameron has one every Thursday evening. See www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk for details. We have also pencilled in a ride for the evening of 21st June to coincide with the summer solstice.
Finally, please note that Lepra's annual Edinburgh to St Andrews ride will not take place this year. I don't have an further information about this. Lepra says that the event will return in 2020.