After an hiatus of 16 months, it was fantastic to have the 20 Milers rolling again. To see familiar faces and be out riding in a group again was priceless. We headed to Dalkeith Country Park by a less familiar route, overcame a locked gate, and except for the briefest of showers, enjoyed reasonable weather. It felt like a 20 Milers ride should - a much-needed touch of normality after the last year-and-a-half.
Following a briefing from the leader, which covered Covid-19 and road safety; for the first time in 16 months, we rolled away from our starting point as a group. The Innocent Railway is currently closed due to danger of rock falls. Yes, a large number of people are using it; but in the interests of everyone's safety we were not going to risk it. This resulted in us taking an interesting and unfamiliar detour via the Grange, Mayfield, Prestonfield and the Peffermill Industrial Estate to re-join the path at Duddingston Road West. As we were leaving the Meadows, we were hit with a brief shower of light rain. The leader stopped so riders could don waterproofs. A few minutes later, the rain was gone and there was no more for the rest of the ride. Back on the familiar route, we made our way to Musselburgh and onwards to Whitecraig. From there we made our way to Dalkeith via NCN 1. Heavy traffic on Dalkeith High Street briefly delayed our entry into Dalkeith Country Park. But once through the gates, we sped downhill to our lunch stop. On the recce a couple of weeks earlier, we had our picnic lunch on the grass beside the orangery. This area was now closed. A quick scout round and we found a grassy area across the road.
That was it, the first 20 Milers ride of 2021 was over. An enjoyable ride, bit of less familiar territory, reasonable weather, good lunch stop and a hint of excitement - what more could anyone ask for? And of course, the joy of being back riding socially in good company. Thanks to Mike for leading and Yaz for back marking. Already looking forward to September's ride. Perhaps we'll get a larger turnout.