When are your rides? Where do you meet?
We have a ride on the second Saturday of the month, every month of the year, January to December. We meet at 10.30 am, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (by the junction with Lauriston Place - see map).
|Our meeting point at Middle Meadow Walk|
We also occasionally organise additional rides during the summer. These rides, which we refer to as Extras, are longer and faster than our usual runs, and sometimes start earlier. The meeting place for these longer rides varies; see here for more information.
We post a reminder of each of our rides here on this blog, and also on the Cycling Edinburgh site.
When do the rides finish?
It's not possible to say for sure what time a ride will finish, as this will depend on the weather, the number of riders taking part and other factors. But we generally aim to be back in the city centre between about 3 and 4 pm.
How much do they cost?
Nothing. All our rides are completely free.
How do I book a place?
You don't. We do not need to know in advance whether you plan to join us, nor do we have a mechanism for taking bookings. If you would like to come along, just turn up on the day.
Are there any safety issues?
We do our best to avoid cycling in heavy traffic or in other situations where safety might be an issue. However, as with any bike ride or similar activity, safety can never be guaranteed. So please read this next section carefully.
Everyone joining our rides is responsible for his or her own safety. This means that it is up to you to make your own decisions: don't just blindly follow the person in front of you, for example when pulling out to pass a parked car or preparing to turn right. Stop at red lights, and don't take chances at busy junctions. Don't worry if this causes you to get separated from the rest of the group; there will be someone behind you who knows the way, and we will regroup when it is safe to do so.
|A 20-Milers ride in Swanston Village|
One that is comfortable and road-worthy. We see all sorts of bikes on our rides: road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, e-bikes, folding bikes and others. These are all fine. The important thing is that you're comfortable on it and it's safe to ride. We generally find ourselves on a mix of roads, cycle paths and rough tracks, so bikes with wider tyres, such as hybrids or mountain bikes, are often preferable to those with skinny road tyres. But there is no "must have" bike type.
Be aware that we might occasionally need to lift our bikes up short flights of steps or over gates. This is something to keep in mind if you have a particularly heavy machine such as an e-bike.
What if something goes wrong with my bike?
With luck, there will be people on the ride who can help with minor running repairs. But this obviously cannot be guaranteed. Ultimately, you are responsible for the road-worthiness of your machine. Before you set out, check that the tyres are properly inflated and free of stones or other fragments that might cause punctures, and that the gears and brakes are working smoothly. As a last resort, if you suffer a serious mechanical problem, you may have to make your own way home (bringing money for a taxi is a good idea).
We ask everyone joining our rides to bring a spare inner tube of the correct type and size for the wheels. And if your bike does not have quick-release wheels, you should also bring whatever tools are needed to remove the wheel. These will make it much easier to get you back on the road if you have a puncture. If you don't know what size tube or what tools you need, your favourite bike shop will be pleased to advise.
Will I be fit enough? How fast do you go?
Our speed can best be described as "easy to moderate". We average about 8 to 9 mph over the day, which is a reasonable pace but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation. We try to keep the pace un-pressured, and we cheerfully wait for stragglers. If you feel comfortable pedalling 20 to 25 miles at that speed, you should have no problems.
That said, we do ask people not to join our rides if they haven't cycled for a while, or if they have any doubts as to their fitness. If that applies to you, we suggest that you go out for some shorter rides on your own first to make sure you will be fit enough. Better still, consider going out with EasyCycle; their rides are specifically aimed at inexperienced and less fit riders. Many people start with Easy Cycle and then move up to 20-Milers after a few outings.
What should I wear?
You won't need any special cycling clothes, but you should dress comfortably and with regard to the weather. Layers are always a good idea, and a lightweight waterproof and wind-proof jacket is pretty well essential. In winter, gloves and a scarf are advisable.
Most of our riders choose to wear a helmet, but this is by no means compulsory on our rides.
What else should I bring?
As well as the aforementioned inner tube and tools, you should bring a bottle of water (or other suitable drink) especially on a warm day, and also some extra snacks to keep the energy levels up. A bike lock will be useful at the lunch stop, but if you don't have one you will probably be able to double up with someone else. In mid winter our rides usually end around dusk, so good-quality front and rear lights are important (with plenty of juice).
|Picnic lunch at Bo'ness|
Is there a lunch break?
On most of our rides we aim to stop somewhere where we can have a picnic lunch, and where there is also a cafe, pub or snack bar for those who prefer to sit inside. If the weather is at all favourable, we encourage people to bring a picnic, as it can take a long time for a large group to be served in a cafe or pub. We occasionally ride to somewhere where there is no catering of any kind; in those cases we warn riders in advance that they should bring their own food and drink.
I see that the next ride goes near my home. Can I join you en route?
This is something we discourage, for several reasons. First, we can never be sure that we will follow the advertised route, as we sometimes have to change plans at short notice. And, even if we do stick to the planned route, we can't be sure that we will pass a given place at any particular time. It would be unfair to the group as a whole if we had to wait for people to meet us along the way. Also, the leader has a difficult enough job in keeping track of the riders that he or she knows about, without the added worry of picking more people up along the way. For all those reasons, we ask you to join the ride at the planned meeting point.
If the ride goes near my home on the way back, can I leave early?
Yes. But, if you do, please be sure to let the leader know, otherwise we might end up waiting for you along the way, or even sending out a search party.
What if the weather is bad?
A light drizzle or chilly wind won't put us off. In general, our rides go ahead whatever the weather, although we might opt for a shorter route (and perhaps some extra time in a café) if the weather is really bad.
The only time when we are likely to cancel a ride is if the conditions are so bad as to make cycling dangerous. This has only happened a handful of times in our 20-year history, usually because of snow and ice or particularly strong winds. If necessary, there will be somebody at the start point to advise people of the cancellation.
We hope that this FAQ has given you the information you need. If you have any problems or questions on the day, ask the ride leader or any of the regular riders, all of whom will be glad to help. Happy pedalling.
Page last updated 12 July 2023. Map reproduced from OpenStreetMap.