Today saw us head out to that old favourite, the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre at Ratho. Despite being a familiar location, today's rookie leader managed to weave in sections that were anything but familiar. The weather forecast suggested we were in for strong winds and frequent showers. Whilst it was windy, it was nothing like last month's ride which was severely curtailed as a result; and the showers came to nothing. The wind meant it was quite cool, but by way of compensation, the sun was shining for most of the ride. The Scotland v Wales rugby match at Murrayfield meant it was busy around there on the outward leg. But on the return leg, coming through just after kick off meant it was very quiet and we were able to enjoy the luxury of threading through roads closed to other traffic. Oh the joy of being on a bike when such things come together.
Despite the weather forecast, a very impressive 28 riders [including a smattering of new faces] mustered in the windy, but bright and sunny conditions for the rookie leader's comprehensive briefing. All pre-ride briefings have become more detailed of late; most of them containing the line, "just because the rider in front of you does something stupid, does not mean you have to". Let's hope that message is getting through. We left the meadows in one group and made our way to the canal at Leamington Bridge via Bruntsfield Links. After a very short stretch on the canal, we headed to Dalry Road via the bumps and the Telfer subway. From there we took Russell Road and headed towards Murrayfield. Around there we encountered heavier traffic than usual, both vehicles and pedestrians. There were also noticeably more Welsh accents to be heard than usual. Leaving the bustle of Murrayfield behind, we made our way to Gogar Station Road via the Water of Leith, Stenhouse, Saughton, Bankhead and Edinburgh Park to re-join the canal. Whilst a familiar route many of us are used to, we usually find ourselves on it heading back into, rather than away from town. The combination of a stiff head wind and several busy roads to cross resulted in the group becoming very spread out over this stretch. A regroup at Ratho Marina saw the whole group back together. Shortly after leaving the marina, the group was already stretching out again. A few of the group's wise old hands riding at the back, decided it would make sense to press on via the canal rather than follow the official route which was considerably longer. As a result, the small group at the back made it to lunch first, despite having to push/carry their bikes up the steps to get from the canal.
With everyone fed and watered we set off on our return leg. We were led through the car park and onto an unsurfaced path. This was new to most of us. The path took us alongside the M8. We re-joined the road on the edge of Ratho to make our way through Freelands, Ratho Byres and on towards Roddinglaw. Just as we thought we knew where we were, a left turn took us once again into uncharted territory before emerging onto Gogar Station Road. From there we went onto the site of the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ, took the bridge over the A8, whizzed down the other side and were soon riding along the cycle path beside Glasgow Road. Past the Gogar roundabout and Edinburgh Gateway station and we were mixing it with the Saturday afternoon traffic in the Gyle car park. Leaving the traffic behind, the cycle path led us to South Gyle station and onwards through Broomhouse to Murrayfield. Skirting the stadium was easy as we were there a few minutes after kick off and most of the fans were inside; we could hear them singing. We enjoyed the luxury of riding on closed roads just before the police reopened them to traffic. At the Russell Road zig-zags, the leader declared the ride over and the group dispersed. Some headed home, whilst others headed off for the customary post-ride coffee.
Thanks to Bill for leading us somewhere we are used to, but by a less familiar route on his first outing as leader. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride and the weather was kinder to us than expected. Another good day. Now that we have the March ride behind us, would it be too much to ask for the weather to turn a little more spring-like
Map trace: David
Post a Comment