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Monday, 6 February 2023

February ride this coming Saturday

We've got our February ride coming up on Saturday (11th). Yaz will be leading us on what looks like a very pleasant route through the west of the city, with a total distance of 21 miles. I hope you'll be able to join us.

The route

For this ride, we'll be heading out through Roseburn and along the Water of Leith as far as Currie, and then on to our lunch stop at Riccarton. Most of this part of the route will be on paths with good surfaces, although there
might be one or two rough or muddy sections. There will also be one short stretch on a main ride that might be busy with traffic.

The return leg will follow paths and quiet roads by way of Edinburgh Park, Pinkhill and Murrayfield. There will be a few gentle hills along the way, but nothing particularly difficult.

Lunch arrangements

We'll stop for lunch at the Heriot Watt campus. Please note that there is no catering of any kind at the campus. The large cafeteria there is no longer open on Saturdays, nor are there any cafes or food outlets nearby. For this reason, you are strongly advised to bring your own food.

But don't worry: you won't have to picnic in the cold or wet (unless you want to), as there is plenty of seating inside the main university building.

Time and place

We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, aiming for a 10:30 departure. This won't be a very long ride: I expect we'll be back at the Meadows early to mid afternoon.

As always, there is no need for you to contact us in advance. If you are planning to attend, just turn up on the day.

Other points

As with all our rides, the details given here should be regarded as provisional. The meeting time and place are fixed, but we reserve the right to change the route according to conditions on the day. This doesn't happen very often, but it is always a possibility.

And finally, please remember that, if you unlucky enough to get a puncture, it will be very much easier to get you back on the road if you bring a spare inner tube suitable for your wheel size. And if you don't have quick-release hubs on both your wheels, please also bring whatever tools are needed to remove the wheels. If you don't know what tools or size of tube you need, your local bike shop will advise.

I think that covers everything. I hope to see you on Saturday or whenever.

Saturday, 14 January 2023

A chilly start to the year

Eight hardy riders braved the elements for our first ride of 2023. Not a bad turnout considering the conditions: very cold, windy, heavy showers, albeit with some occasional spells of sunshine. Alan led the group on a familiar route in the west of the city, stopping for a late lunch at Craigie's Farm.

Unfortunately your two official blog reporters were both absent from the ride, laid low by various bugs, aches and pains. Hence this abbreviated write-up. Sorry about that. We should be back to normal in time for our February outing.

Leader: Alan

Report (such as it is): Mike

Photo: Alison


Monday, 9 January 2023

20-Milers ride this coming Saturday

 This is just a quick reminder of our ride this coming Saturday (14th). I don't yet have any firm details of the route, but we will likely be heading to the west of the city, with a lunch stop at Craigie's Farm. Based on previous rides in that direction, I would expect the total distance to be around the 20-mile mark, with some short stretches on rough paths and one fairly steep hill just before lunch. Most of the mileage is likely to be in the morning, which means that lunch will be on the late side.

The cafe at Craigie's offers a good choice of sandwiches, salads and a soup of the day. There is also a separate picnic area which is suitable for those of us who are prepared to brave the weather with a packed lunch.

The meeting time and place are the same as ever: 10:30 from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. All are welcome.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

A balmy Christmas ride

 Fourteen riders turned up for this, our eleventh Christmas morning ride. Unlike last year's run, when the bitterly cold wind forced people to scurry off early in search of warmth, today's conditions were decidedly pleasant: a balmy 8C with only a moderate breeze. We did see a bit of light rain towards the end of the morning, but not enough to dampen the spirits.

For today's event, we were joined by our friends from EasyCycle, this being the last Sunday of the month, which is the day fixed for their usual monthly run.

Leaving Middle Meadow Walk a little after 10.30, we headed up the Royal Mile for our first stop of the day, at the castle esplanade. We then swooped down Johnston Terrace and across Lothian Road. The Filmhouse was looking very sad, being all boarded up since it closed down in October. We continued through Festival Square, and then into Rutland Square and across Shandwick Place towards the West End.

What came next was something of a new experience for many of us: a chance to cycle on a small part of the east-west bike route which is currently being built through the city centre. This will eventually link Leith Walk with the Roseburn Path. Today we contented ourselves with riding just a fragment of the route, using a segregated bike path along Melville Street and the south side of St. Mary's Cathedral. From Palmerton Place, the official route will proceed westward along Landsdowne Crescent, but we headed north instead for a short distance, and then turned right into Chester Street.

We next weaved through Randolph Place and Charlotte Square (work on this part of the bike route is due to start next month). We then turned into George Street, the entrance to which is currently dominated by a temporary building housing the seasonal ice rink: an enormous structure and, in your scribe's humble opinion, not a particularly beautiful one - though no doubt the patineurs appreciate it.

 For the next leg, we pedalled almost the entire length of Princes Street, this being something of a tradition for our Christmas rides. And then came the only real work of the day: the ascent of Calton Hill. We all reached the summit without too much difficulty, and lingered there a while, taking in the superb views.

At this point – and for reasons too boring to go into – we had a change of leadership, with Jim Cameron taking over from the undersigned. Jim led the remainder of the ride, which included a quick visit to the Stones of Scotland (excellent views of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat), a circuit of Lochend Park and a final leg through Holyrood Park. Those who hadn't peeled off earlier regained the Meadows just after 12:30. It was by no means a long ride, but still an enjoyable one – and a good way to start Christmas Day. 

Leaders: Mike and Jim

Report and photos: Mike

Monday, 19 December 2022

Christmas morning ride next Sunday

This is a reminder of our Christmas ride coming up on Sunday (25th). I realise that many of you will have other plans for the day, but those of you who have the morning free will be welcome to join us. We'll leave at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, and aim to finish the ride near the Meadows by 13:00 at the very latest.

Christmas is one day when there is very little traffic on the roads. We'll take advantage of that by visiting parts of the city centre where we might not otherwise choose to cycle. It won't be a long ride - probably less than ten miles. But there will be a couple of steep-ish hills and some short stretches on cobbles. We'll take it at a gentle pace with plenty of stops.

There will be no café stop of any kind on this ride (and no toilet stop either - take note). Feel free to bring a snack if you wish.

You don't need to book in advance for the ride. If you can join us, just turn up. And if you can't, keep in mind that our "second Saturday" rides continue throughout the winter. The next one will be on 14 January.

Saturday, 10 December 2022

December whiteout

For only the fourth time in our 18-year history, today's ride did not go ahead. Conditions were looking good at 7 am. Yesterday's snow had vanished, there were no longer any icy patches on the roads,  and there was only a slight breeze. But within an hour, all that had changed. In a word, it was a whiteout: heavy snow with visibility close to zero. Nevertheless, two hardy cyclists, plus yours truly, turned up at the meeting point. But after a very brief discussion we decided to call it a day. In the interests of safety and warmth, we turned round and headed for home. Let's hope for better conditions next time.

Monday, 5 December 2022

December ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our December ride coming up on Saturday (10th). This will be different from most of our runs in that it will only be a half-day ride. We'll start at the usual time, but finish at about 13:00. This is partly in deference to the mid-winter temperatures and short daylight hours, but mainly because of the difficulty of finding a lunch venue in the run-up to the festive season.

Our route will take in bike paths and quiet roads in the north of the city. The total distance will be about 16 miles. I don't expect any particular difficulties: no really steep hills or rough surfaces to worry about.

We'll meet as usual at 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. There will be no official lunch break or coffee break, but we'll aim to have a comfort stop at about the half-way point.

Christmas morning

Looking ahead, we will be having our traditional Christmas morning ride on 25 December. This year we are joining our friends at EasyCycle for this event. We'll all meet at 10:30 at our usual start point, and aim to finish by 13:00 at the latest - possibly a little earlier. We'll not stray far from the city centre, so if you need to peel off early, that should be no problem.

I'll post more details of the Christmas ride nearer the time. And looking further ahead, our first ride of 2023 (14 January) will be our usual full-day run.

If you fancy joining us for any of our rides, just turn up on the day. There's no need to contact us in advance.