Our second 20 Milers Extra ride of the year saw us head across the water to Fife. Following a week which saw the record for the warmest day in Scotland broken, we were expecting good weather. We had a bit of drizzle at the lunch stop and it was pleasantly warm; but it was nothing compared to the stifling heat seen earlier in the week. Good summer cycling weather.
A reasonable turnout of 18 riders listened to the leader's customary route and safety briefing before we headed off from Craigleith towards Silverknowes. The familiar route took us through Barnton and on to our obligatory pause at Cramond Brig. From there NCN 1 took us up the path beside the A90 to the Dalmeny estate's Chapel Gate, where we crossed the B924 and headed to Dalmeny village. Through the new housing development and more of South Queensferry's quiet back streets saw us emerge at the Forth Bridges viewing area for a comfort stop. The foot and cycle path on the east side of the Forth Road Bridge is currently closed. As a result, we had to go down and up the service road to get onto the west side. Crossing the bridge, there was little wind, it was pleasantly warm and far below, there was barely a ripple on the water. Not surprisingly, several rides commented on how there remains a magical quality to crossing the bridge - no matter how many times you've done it before.
One rider was delayed when their chain came off on the bridge. The group waited, and we were soon back together and on the good cycle path leading towards Rosyth. Unfortunately, it finishes abruptly forcing riders onto the B981. It's a narrow, twisting road with blind brows. Add to that several psychopathic drivers, and this was the least enjoyable part of the whole route. Leaving that nasty stretch of road behind, Hilton Road took us past the MOD Caledonia military base. There followed a mile on the busy A985 Admiralty Road. The leader had warned us about this road at the briefing. But with it being a wide, flat, straight road and having considerate drivers on it, there were no problems. A left at the roundabout, along Bankholm Brae and Grange Road, left at the traffic lights and we arrived at the entrance to Dunfermline's Pittencrief Park. Up the hill through the park to the Glen Pavillion, and we were at our lunch stop. Some riders headed for the cafe, others sat on the grass to eat their picnics, whilst a few bagged a picnic table under the trees.
There was some light drizzle as we finished our lunch and began our return leg; but it soon petered out. With one exception, our return saw us retrace our outward route. The exception being when Dawn led us on a path off the busy A985 across a field, and through an housing estate. This took us into Rosyth avoiding a section of the busy main road. Unfortunately, we still had to endure the unpleasant B981 and an even more psychopathic driver. Pleased to have survived that stretch of road unscathed, the remainder of the homeward route passed without incident until we were almost back at Craigleith. On the final stretch of the cycle path, a wobble or lapse of concentration led to two of the group colliding and ending up on the deck. Others helped them untangle themselves. Fortunately, there was no damage or injury, so we continued back to the start where the leader declared the ride officially over.
Thanks to Alan for leading us on an interesting ride which was enjoyed by all, and thanks to Dawn for leading us on the detour on the way back. If only we could find an alternative to the B891 - there's a challenge before our next excursion to Dunfermline.
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